Physical and Mathematical Sciences is a broad sector, with many potential career paths for those with qualifications and suitable skillsets, including medical work, engineering, teaching, finance and technology.
The engineering sector itself is made up of a wide range of companies providing a diverse range of products and services.
The most usual route is through taking a degree at a third level college, often following this with a post graduate qualification.
Students can study mechanical engineering at Level 6, 7 or 8 in colleges across Ireland or they can study a general engineering degree then specialise in mechanical engineering in the final year.
Physicists want to understand how the world works, in every detail and at the deepest level. This includes everything from elementary particles, to nuclei, atoms, living cells, solids, liquids, gases, living organisms, the brain, supercomputers, the atmosphere, galaxies and the universe itself.
There is a whole host of career opportunities for mechanical engineering graduates.
A wide range of opportunities exist in both electrical and electronic engineering.
Smart Futures is a government-industry programme providing science, technology, engineering andmaths (STEM) careers information to second-level students, parents, teachers and careers guidance counsellors in Ireland.
Patricia Cleary is a Senior Systems Verification & Validation Scientist. Her job focuses on testing new instruments that will be used by hospital labs to help diagnose blood based malignancies such as cancer and HIV.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
My love of cell biology has been the main driver in my career. I realised early on that no other area of work would give me the same satisfaction as science and I find it particularly inspiring at to be working on products that help in the diagnoses of patients. At the end of everything we do at BD is a patient, in the hospital, receiving a diagnosis.
Describe a typical day?
As we work with teams in Germany and in San Jose California, my morning begins by checking any emails or messages I may have received during the night time hours here. Our team will have a quick morning meeting where we discuss the ongoing work and identify any ‘blockers’ – concerns/problems that prevent us from getting our job done that day. After the morning meeting, I spend the rest of my day in the lab testing whether the system or assay is meeting the user requirements. This means my testing is focused on making sure that the instrument works as it is supposed to do and as it is designed. Any problems I discover, which we refer to as defects or bugs, will be reported back into the product development cycle where they will be fixed. My team channels the voice of the customer, who typically works in a hospital lab, to ensure we meet the high standards expected by them.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
Our job focuses on testing new instruments/assays (experimental tests) that will be used by hospital labs to help diagnose blood based malignancies such as cancer and HIV. My team channels the voice of the customer, who typically works in a hospital lab, to ensure we meet the high standards expected by them.
What are the main challenges?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
My personal life is very important to me. I am recently engaged and am an avid camogie player so creating a work-life balance is key to my personal happiness. BD is very flexible and supportive of my life outside of work and even though we work with colleagues in the US I never need to miss a training session in the evening!
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?