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 Paul Dowling from Teagasc to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Paul Dowling

Horticulturist

Teagasc

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  Paul Dowling
Ideally, try and get a job in the industry for a summer, or get a bit of experience before you go into it. You have to be happy with working outside, and doing physical work. If you are not prepared to work hard or are looking for a soft job, don't go into Landscaping. Design is very sexy at the moment, everyone wants to be a designer, a Landscape Designer. It's different on the ground, you have to be out there on sites in all weather and you have to make sure projects are managed well and you're able to muck in with everyone else. Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture or Landscaping as it covers propagation and helps with the identification of plant names, species and families through the universal use of Latin. Chemistry is also helpful as the use of various chemicals is a constant in horticulture. The chemical content and dangers of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides in use in Amenity Horticulture needs to be understood anyone going into this business. Geography would be a relevant subject as well. Also, the simple things like having a full, clean driving licence, which can make you a lot more employable if you are trying for a job with a Landscape Conractor. This indicates that you are more mobile and can also drive a company van if needed. Be sure you're happy with the outdoor life. Having taken a Horticulture course will give you an advantage. However, it's possible to take a job first and study later, e.g. in IT Blanchardstown it is possible to study at night. I think you cannot beat doing the Diploma Course in the National Botanic Gardens because it is a good practical course which also covers all the theory and is invaluable for gaining plant knowledge.
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Amy Giannetti - Support Engineer

Amy Giannetti talks to Smart Futures about working at Irish tech company Havok.

What’s your role as a developer support engineer?

My job is to provide support to our customers and help them with any problems.

What does Havok do?

Havok makes software for games companies and movie special effects. Its software has been used in over 500 games titles and to drive special effects in movies.

What’s challenging about your role?

I have to work with large amounts of code that I didn’t write and understand what it is trying to do. Just managing your time can be tricky because we are assigned a number of customers to look after.

What do you love about your job?

Through perseverance, I help solve customers’ problems: knowing that goes into the game, making it better to play, gives me a huge sense of achievement. I also see lots of games in development at the same time, rather than one single game.

How did you choose third-level courses?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I was always good at maths and science subjects, so I did mathematics in Trinity, which allows you touch on a couple of areas. I really enjoyed computer science. Towards the end of my degree, I decided I wanted to get into the games industry, so I did an MSc in Computer Science (Interactive Entertainment Technology).

What Leaving Cert subjects did you enjoy or prove useful?

I enjoyed maths, physics and chemistry. We were also offered a very short course in programming. I didn’t really realise how helpful it was but, when I went into college, I found it really helped me.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in doing a similar job?

I would recommend having personal programming projects. Employers love to see that you were interested to the point that you went beyond school and college work.

How did you become interested in the games industry?

That was what I enjoyed doing in my free time. A friend of mine introduced me to the Final Fantasy series and I just fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to be a part of an industry that brought me that much joy.

What’s it like to work at Havok?

We are encouraged to enjoy ourselves and we have a discount scheme for consoles, to make sure we are keeping up with what’s happening in our industry. We all get along really well here as a lot of us come from a maths or computer science background. It is great fun and I wouldn’t change a thing.

What do you do to relax and rewind?

Friday evenings we usually end up in the pub two doors down from the office, but most weekday nights I end up playing more games.

Article by: Smart Futures