Search

Smart Futures

Explore career opportunities focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths


Videos

Ronan Doherty - Web Developer
Ronan Doherty - Web Developer
Play
Dr Arlene O'Neill - Physicist
Dr Arlene O'Neill - Physicist
Play
Gillian Cagney - Mechanical Engineer
Gillian Cagney - Mechanical Engineer
Play
SMART FUTURES - Discover STEM
SMART FUTURES - Discover STEM
Play

Interviews

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

Shane McDonagh is a Phd Researcher working in the area of renewable energy engineering. Shane uses computer programmes to analyse data and look for patterns that will tell us how energy systems will work on a big scale.

Ask me your
first question!

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

My interests! I’m a problem solver, love technology, politics, and I’m a big environmentalist. I get to incorporate all these into working on solutions to climate change and pollution that can make the world a better place.

Describe a typical day?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

Most of my work is done on a computer. I’ll read about the subject I’m working on, find out the questions that need to be answered, and figure out how I can contribute. The process works a bit like this: find a gap in the knowledge, try and fill that gap as best you can, discuss your findings with your peers, go back and improve, then share with the world.  

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

I use computer programmes to analyse data and look for patterns that will tell us how the energy system will work on a big scale. This involves understanding the best ideas out there at the minute and how your work will add to them. You need to be creative, logical, and sometimes patient but the work comes easy if you’re interested in what you do.

What are the main challenges?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

You can get stuck on certain problems which becomes frustrating quite quickly because you don’t have a big team to help you. And if you’re like me solving the problem is the fun part, writing up your results not so much although it is probably the most important bit. It can take some time and requires a lot of focus.

What are the main challenges?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

You can get stuck on certain problems which becomes frustrating quite quickly because you don’t have a big team to help you. And if you’re like me solving the problem is the fun part, writing up your results not so much although it is probably the most important bit. It can take some time and requires a lot of focus.

What's cool?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

Getting to travel and present to new people with whom you discuss new ideas, and debate different aspects of your work. Plus, this travel often brings you to cool places around the world.

What is your education to date?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

  1. Degree in Mechanical Engineering in NUIG
  2. Masters in Energy Systems Engineering in NUIG

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

Once you reach a certain level everyone in the room is pretty smart, and so the part of my education that has proven most useful is communications. Being able to present and discuss complex topics amongst your peers is essential and even though it doesn’t seem like it at the time school and college set you up well for this.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

Finding what you’d like to do day to day, working in a big team, at a desk, on a site, is as important as the area you want to work in. Just because you like maths in school that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy accounting, and likewise just because you don’t like physics that doesn’t mean you won’t make a great engineer.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

Several PhD students at any IT/university would be willing to let someone come in a check out what they do. Research scientists in industry would have similar roles too and so that could be useful to check out.

What is your current job title?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineer

PhD candidate with MaREI, the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland in University College Cork. 

Ask a question about...
  • Career Development?
  • Current Job?
  • Education and Training?
  • Personal Qualities?
  • Advice for Others?
Lynsey Gargan - Manufacturing Engineer
Lynsey Gargan - Manufacturing Engineer
Read More
David McKeown - Space Scientist
David McKeown - Space Scientist
Read More
Catherine Ahearn - Data Scientist
Catherine Ahearn - Data Scientist
Read More
Shane McDonagh - Renewable Energy Engineer
Shane McDonagh - Renewable Energy Engineer
Read More
Close