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 Tracey Roche from Analog Devices to give some advice for people considering this job:

Tracey Roche

Design Engineer

Analog Devices

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Tracey Roche

3 main things:

1. Be organised.

2. Try to keep a positive attitude.

3. Persevere. Working in a Design Evaluation role or indeed any electronic engineering role, requires problem-solving skills and half the battle with this is having a positive attitude. If you have a negative/pessimistic attitude, the battle to find a solution is lost before you even start. In debugging an issue, start with the basics and work from there. Like peeling an onion, gradually peel off the outter layers to reveal the inner core of the you work, you get more clues and develop a better understanding of the product/issue you are working on.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Motor Neurone Disease
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Motor Neurone Disease

What is Motor Neurone Disease?

Motor neurone disease  is a rare condition where parts of the nervous system become damaged. This causes progressive weakness, usually with muscle wasting. The condition occurs when specialist nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord called 'motor neurones' stop working properly.

Motor neurones control important muscle activity, such as gripping, walking, speaking, swallowing, and breathing. As the condition progresses, people with motor neurone disease will find these activities increasingly difficult, and eventually impossible, to do.

There are different forms of motor neuron disease

  • ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is the most common form and accounts for approximately 60% to 70% of all cases
  • PBP (progressive bulbar palsy) accounts for about 20% of all cases
  • PMA (progressive muscular atrophy) accounts for the remaining 10% of cases.

In all three MND forms symptoms are very similar. However, they progress at different speeds. Exactly what causes motor neurones to stop working properly is unclear, but there is not currently thought to be a link with factors such as race, diet and lifestyle.


Motor Neurone disease typically only develops after the age of 40 (specifically between the ages of 50 and 70 years). Out of every 10 people with AMD 6 are men and 4 are women.

Supports At Third Level Education:

Motor Nuerone Disease is one of the Neurological Conditions covered under the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) system.

Full details of the DARE screening criteria are available here.

You don’t have to be eligible for DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) to get support in college. All students with a verified disability, regardless of whether they come through DARE or not, can avail of a variety of academic, personal and social supports while studying at third level. Further information on the support available in college can be found at

In the Workplace

Many organisations now make public claims to be an "equal opportunities employer". This suggests the existence of an equal opportunities policy (EOP), which is a policy statement adopted by the organisation declaring an intent not to discriminate and, further, to promote equality by taking steps to aid disadvantaged groups.  Such employers are in effect promising to avoid discrimination on grounds of sex or marital status, and may also make such a commitment in relation to people with a disability and racial and ethnic minorities.

Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant (WEAG)

If you are a person with a disability who has been offered employment or are in employment, and require a more accessible workplace or adapted equipment to do your job, you or your employer may be able to get a grant towards the costs of adapting premises or equipment. Details of WEAG grants available and how to apply are available here.

Impact on Career Choice

Skills for workplace success fall into two main categories: hard skills and and soft skills. Hard skills are job-specific and they vary, depending upon the industry or field in which you want to work. For example, a graphic artist must have the computer skills that go with that job.

Soft skills are the personal characteristics that go with a variety of jobs - they include social skills, problem solving, communication, time management, and organisation. For example, a person who prefers to work alone might find a research job particularly appealing. Explore Career Skills in more detail here.

Motor Neurone Disease does not affect intellectual capability, and with the availability of computer technology, many people with MND have developed successful careers. 

The type and progression of individual's symptoms is an important factor in deciding whether to continue working and for how long. Being able to stay at work also depends on other factors, including the nature of the work itself, the physical suitability of the workplace, how supportive employers were prepared to be, availability of aids and equipment, and the practicalities of travelling to and from work. 

Famous People with Motor Neurone Disease

The renowned English physicist, Stephen Hawking, and guitar virtuoso Jason Becker are living with motor neuron disease.

Useful Links
HSE Ireland - Motor Neurone Disease 
HSE Ireland health information portal - detailed information on motor neurone disease.
Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association 
Irish organisation dedicated to working on behalf of people living with MND and their families and carers.
Disability Access Route to Education
Higher Education Access Route
Student Finance