Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Aoife Mc Dermott from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:


Aoife Mc Dermott


Department of Education and Skills

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  Aoife Mc Dermott
The most important thing is that you like your subject area! It?s also important to do as well as you can throughout your degree. For example, I applied for PhD scholarship during my final year, so they were looking at my first, second and third year results. Finally, I find that liking people helps a lot.

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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A day in the life of a Community Engagement Manager

"The skills I learned from physics have been invaluable and allow me to make a real positive impact in our’s hard to ask anything more from a degree!"

I work as a Community Engagement Manager with the Inspire Ireland Foundation, which uses technology to help young people lead happier lives. A far cry from the lab I hear you say, and you would be right! My work revolves around promoting our new online service ReachOut and getting young people involved in improving the service.

My job is pretty varied, but my day usually starts with me coming to the office and checking my emails to see if anyone from our youth advisory network has been in touch. I then go out to meet people on college campuses or youth centres across Ireland. I am usually trying to plan events or workshops with people which we then deliver in partnership with Students’ Unions or youth centres. Our events help to promote our work and our workshops focus on storytelling to help young people create interesting personal stories for the site.

My day ends when I come back to the office and I send some more emails, maybe write a blog for or catch up with other staff members and plan the next few days.

I was recently invited to join RTÉ’s show Two Tube as their Science and Technology contributor. I have a regular slot where I talk about the latest news in the world of science and technology.

It is great to weave science into TV programmes and inspire people to see science as something useful in everyday life, like in helping people understand the best way to tackle problems or finding out about science events in which they can become involved.

While both of these roles mainly involve marketing and communications, physics has been a great help to me and provided some valuable skills that I regularly use.

My physics background helps me to critically and objectively assess what’s working best and also helps me to plan ahead in a structured manner.

While doing my degree I learned to communicate complex and interesting topics to various audiences, which means that I can communicate our ideas to people easily and effectively. Having a physics degree in my line of work also makes for an interesting talking point at meetings, which is always a good thing!

I never would have guessed my physics degree would have taken me to college campuses where I speak in front of large groups of people about the importance of taking care of their mental health and wellbeing, or working with young people in youth centres on interesting storylines and short films. The skills I learned from physics have been invaluable and allow me to make a real positive impact in our’s hard to ask anything more from a degree!.

Article by: Vincent McCarthy ~ via Institute of Physics