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 Elaine MacDonald from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:


Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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  Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!


The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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What's a Career in Engineering all about?

Engineering offers a chance to make a difference to people's lives, while enjoying a varied and exciting career. Engineers take ideas and turn them into reality, using science, technology and ingenuity. They are masters of problem-solving and creative design. Engineers are in demand worldwide because they are essential to the economic and civic development of every country.

Making a difference

An engineering qualification offers almost unlimited career diversity, but one thing every engineer has in common is their potential to impact on the real world.

Whether you end up developing software for the games industry, solving environmental challenges or designing medical devices for healthcare patients, it's very clear how your work affects other people. "Engineering gives you the ability to make a difference. That sounds really corny but you can actually put something in place that will really help people," says Katie O'Neill, a senior design engineer who works in the environmental sector.

That feeling is echoed by Claire Lillis, a biomedical engineer who designs medical devices used by patients with respiratory problems. "I know that when I go into work in the morning that I am helping someone's life. People are using our products all over the world." It's not just the essential, life-changing industries where engineers can make an impact.

The entertainment, games and online media sectors are thriving areas in need of engineering graduates. "We write software that gets deployed in games and played by millions of people around the world every day. I love that we get to build things that are used," says Morgan Brickley, a software engineer who works for an Irish-based videogames company.

Engineers in demand

Engineers are in demand in many sectors right now, especially the software and IT industry, the medical devices sector and the pharmaceutical industry, and the energy and environmental sectors. Let's look at some numbers:

• There are some 5,400 technology companies in Ireland right now; the top 10 global tech firms have a presence here.
• The gaming sector employs 2,500 people in Ireland. That number is set to double by 2014.
• There are 250 medical technology companies in Ireland, employing 25,000 people. Some 80 percent of the global production of stents (medical devices for heart patients) takes place in Ireland.
• Ireland exported EUR49 billion worth of organic chemicals and pharmaceutical products in 2010.
• By 2020 Ireland plans to be one of the largest producers of wind energy in Europe.

Is engineering for me?

You'll find engineers in almost all industries, from aviation, agriculture and space to healthcare, manufacturing and software – and everywhere in between.

While everyone is different, engineers generally share some traits in common: - They love solving problems creatively. - They are naturally curious about how things work. - They enjoy making or designing things.

Competence in mathematics is also important for engineers, but students don't necessarily need Honours maths to study engineering.

"Maths matters, but don't be turned off if you haven't done Honours," says Tara McGowan, a bioengineering student. "It's not as difficult as people say; you'll have tutors and lecturers to help you."

Article by: STEPS Engineers Ireland