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 Michaela Musilova from ESERO Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:
For those of you interested in becoming astrobiologists, then I would advise you to study multidisciplinary subjects relevant to astrobiology (everything from astrophysics, geology to biochemistry). Get as much experience doing research in this field as possible, for instance by doing internships during your studies, doing extracurricular projects, attending international conferences and reading a lot about what in particular interests you the most in astrobiology.
Finally, don't hesitate to approach people experienced in the field, like myself, to ask for advice. In terms of becoming a senior research advisor/consultant or even a chair/vice-chair of an organisation, this will take a lot of determination and hard work. On top of being very skilled researchers, you will need to acquire managerial, teamwork and leadership skills (described in more detail above). For this, you will need to take part in interdisciplinary and ideally international projects, work with people from varied backgrounds and learn how to become a good and fair leader through these experiences.
What are your interests?
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.