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 Jason Ruane from Intel to give some advice for people considering this job:

Jason Ruane

Computer Programmer

Intel

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Jason Ruane

Possibly useful qualities/interests:

A predisposition towards technical problems, such as puzzles or machinery. An interest in the nature of how things work, such as the desire to disassemble machinery/gadgetry to unlock its inner workings.

An inventive side; one who uses the parts of other gadgets, to make a new personalised gadget. Interested in high tech gear: gadgetry of all forms.

A capacity to learn processes for oneself e.g. seeing a puzzle solved and then repeating it.

Skills: Technical subjects such as Maths or electronics. Programming is very accessible to anyone with a basic home PC and some internet connection so try it out and see if you like it.

Values: If you value the solving of an intricate, convoluted problem, for it's own sake and find that rewarding, then any engineering job will come easily.

Education: Firm basis in Maths and the sciences. People are hired into engineering positions here from backgrounds such as science and computing primarily.

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The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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Geography

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2017:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 19294 students who sat the Higher Level Geography exam in 2017.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 4658 students who sat the Ordinary Level Geography exam in 2017.

In brief... header image

Geography is the study of people, their environment, and the interaction between the two. The course follows from Junior Cert Geography, and covers very similar topics (such as rocks, soils, oceans, population movements, map-reading, and economic activities) in a lot more detail. There are a large number of optional sections on the course, allowing students to focus on the sections of the course which they like.


Why Study this?header image

What kind of student might Geography suit?

  • Students considering further study in areas such as geography, economics, environmental science, or politics.
  • Students who achieved solid results for Junior Cert Geography.

Recommendations/Tips

  • Students must think abstractly and in 3-D (Be careful about studying Geography if you have any problems with this).


Videos & Interviews header image


Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Manufacturing Engineer - Lynsey Gargan
Lynsey Gargan, STEPSIn school I was limited by the amount of subjects offered. I went to an all girl's convent school and they had pretty much the stereotypical girl's school subjects then.

For my optional subjects I did Geography, H&E Social and Scientific and Biology. I had all the regular subjects too. English, Irish, Maths and French. I think it's fairly obvious from the above list that my subjects didn't have much of a influence over my third level education choices.

If subjects like physics, engineering etc., had been on offer, I think I would have taken them instead but they were not available to me. I don't believe choices made in school about subjects always have to dictate what you do in college. In my case it just meant I had to work a little harder in the first year of college to catch up.

My school subjects never stopped me. If you know what you like and what you want do, you will always find a way. To be honest it's the knowing what you like that's harder, there are lots of paths to achieve what you want in education today. 
  go to interview...
 
Care Assistant - Lydia Peppard
Lydia Peppard, Health Service ExecutiveEnglish, Maths, Irish, French, History, Geography, Home Economics, Commerce (now called Business Studies) - these were subjects that I did for my Inter Cert, (now the Junior Cert), I left school after this. The courses that I took that had career implications were English, Maths, Commerce and Home Economics.

The implications of these were that English is needed for communication, Home Economics prepares one for life experiences and Commerce gives one an understanding of budgets and financial constraints. The subjects are practical ones and have helped me in my career. In hindsight I would have gone on to do my Leaving Cert and would have done Biology as this would have given me a basis to go further with my career, such as studying for nursing. 
  go to interview...
 
Insurance Administrator - Kevin Moran
Kevin Moran, InsuranceAs well as the mandatory Irish, English and Mathematics my leaving certificate subjects included French, Biology, Geography and Accounting.

This is a broad range of subjects covering everything from business to languages to science, this provided a broad base for me as it left a number of doors open for various university courses. 
  go to interview...
 
Garda Trainee - Steven Kilgannon
Steven Kilgannon, An Garda Sí­ochánaMaths / Geography / English / Irish / Irish / Construction / Biology

They didn't influence my career path. I spent my time working my way up in a hotel to gain experience in complaint handling and communication skills. 
  go to interview...
 
Occupational Therapist - Tomas Flanagan
Tomas Flanagan, St. Michael's House

In school we had to choose our Leaving Cert subjects just before the Junior Cert. At this stage I had no idea what I wanted to do as a profession but I knew I wanted to go to College.

In order to keep my options open I chose a mix of subjects to include one language, one science subject and one business subject. In addition to the obligatory English, Irish & Maths I therefore studied French, Biology, Geography & Accounting. I chose these particular subjects as I had an interest in them at Junior Cert level.

I suppose Biology was the most relevant of my subjects when I started college as there was some overlap with Anatomy and Physiology. We also studied research and statistics in college which were Maths related.

 
  go to interview...
 
Skipper - Liz O'Toole
Liz O'Toole, Bord Iascaigh MharaMy choice of subjects didn’t directly affect my career path but Geography helped. You only needed a junior cert when I chose my career, although I did the Leaving Cert. I did the Deckhand Course to start which included safety training and an introduction to most of the skills required. Most training is done on the job. I then did the 2nd hand full certificate of competency (Skipper) which you needed to start as a Skipper on a boat. I don’t think I would have changed my education choices. 
  go to interview...
 
Fisherman - Alan O'Neill
Alan O'Neill, Bord Iascaigh MharaFor my Leaving Cert, I took English, Irish, Maths, Physics, Engineering, Construction and Geography. Engineering proved useful as it introduced me to the different mechanisms needed to run basic engines.

This basic information helped me in my Skippers tickets. Geography was also useful for correct geographical terms and maths was essential for the Skippers ticket as it is very mathematically orientated - I would advise people to do Honours Maths, if possible. 
  go to interview...
 
Probationer Garda - Peter Clifford
Peter Clifford, An Garda Sí­ochánaI did Geography, Business studies and German in school. To be honest these subjects didn’t have an influence as I had always wanted to be a Garda. At least now I can speak a few words of German if needed. 
  go to interview...
 
Planetary Scientist - Caitriona Jackman
Caitriona Jackman, Smart Futures

For Leaving Certificate I did the usual English, Irish, Maths, then Physics which I loved, Chemistry which I wasn’t great at (kept breaking stuff in the practicals), French, Geography and Music as an extra. I really enjoyed English actually, and even though a lot of my job involves computer programming and some hard maths and physics, I still rely heavily on my writing skills.

As important as it is to have technical ability in my job, it is still crucial to be able to communicate any results I find. One of the main tasks for me is to write papers for scientific journals, and occasionally to write articles for a more general audience.

My French is also useful because I collaborate with several people from a lab in Paris and they like if I make an effort to speak a bit of French, even though my accent is very embarrassing!

 
  go to interview...
 
Resource Teacher - Paul Galvan
Paul Galvan, Department of Education and SkillsFor my Leaving Certificate I studied English, Irish, Maths, Physics, French, Geography and History. My favourite subjects were Geography, Physics, French and English. I knew that I would like to study a combination of these subjects in further education. I think as regards a career path it’s a good idea to study subjects you like and are good at. 
  go to interview...
 
 

Course Overview header image

Geography is a very popular subject choice. Up to 20% of the final grade is achieved before sitting the actual examination by completing a report on a geographical investigation - this is a great advantage for students.


Course Contentheader image

The syllabus is divided into 4 main units. All students study the Core Units 1-3 and Elective Unit 4:

Core Unit 1 -  Patterns and processes in the physical environment
This unit examines the relationship between the tectonic cycle, the rock cycle and the processes of landform development.

Core Unit 2 -  Regional geography
This unit examines how economic, human and physical processes interact in regional settings.

Core Unit 3  - Geographical investigation and skills
This unit encourages the development of skills in handling spatial information leading to the completion of an individual geographical investigation.

Elective Unit 4 - Patterns and processes in the economic environment
This unit examines patterns in economic development and the growth of a single interdependent global economy.

Higher Level
Students taking the Higher Level also study Optional Unit 6 Global Interdependence. This unit examines the interdependent nature of global economic, social and political processes and challenges the differing views of development

Geographical skills
The teaching and application of skills is integrated into each of the units where appropriate
- Map and aerial photograph interpretation
- Satellite imagery
- Figure interpretation
- Census of population data
- Weather maps and data.


Exam Structure header image

 Exam Structure

Leaving Certificate Geography is assessed at Ordinary and Higher level in ascending order of difficulty. There are two assessment components:

  1. Written Examination (80%)
  2. Geographical Investigation Report (20%)

Students complete two questions on the core units, one question on an elective unit, and one question on an optional unit.

Subject content:

1.   Patterns and processes in the physical environment
2.   Regional geography
3.   Geographical investigation

Two Elective Units (pick one)

4.  Patterns and processes in economic activities
5.  Patterns and processes in the human environment

Four Optional Units (pick one; higher level only):

6.  Global interdependence
7.  Geoecology
8.  Culture and identity
9.  The Atmosphere-Ocean environment

The teaching of geographical skills is an important element of the course; students are encouraged to improve their ability to gather information (from map-reading, statistics, charts), present information (using diagrams, maps, and writing), and evaluate information (separate fact from opinion, make informed judgements, propose sensible solutions to problems). These skills are assessed in the Geographical Investigation.


Career Possibilities header image

Geography can be studied at third level as a science subject, or as an arts subject.

It is useful in a wide variety of careers such as cartography, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), town planning, environmental science, engineering, travel/tourism, meteorology/weather forecasting and in global/development work.

Visit Geographical Society of Ireland  - Careers in Geography



Career Guidance