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 Louise Mc Donald from Defence Forces to give some advice for people considering this job:


Louise Mc Donald

Private (Line)

Defence Forces

Read more

  Louise Mc Donald
I would advise them to get themselves physically fit and to maintain it. I would also say that a sense of humour is very important and the ability to laugh at themselves. They should have self discipline and be prepared to accept imposed discipline. Punctuality is very important as is respect for others. If they had sporting interests that would be a help.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Study Skills
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation

Subject Choice influences on Career Path

What do todays workers say about the subjects they chose when they did their Leaving Cert (or equivalent exam)?

By clicking on the job titles from the list of interviews below (approx 150), you will be able to read what each person answered to the question "What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?" You can sort the list by clicking on the column titles (Sort by Title / Sort by Employer).

To view descriptions of each Leaving Cert subject, click here.

Justine McCosh Accountant  ESB 
Madeleine Tylicki Accounts Team Leader  Lidl 
Martin Dunn Activities Manager  Failte Ireland 
Edel Butler Administrative Officer  Irish Tax Institute 
Julie Hegarty Advertising Manager  Lidl 
Deirdre Kelleghan Amateur Astronomer  Smart Futures 
Keith Hayes Ambulance/Paramedic  Health Service Executive 
Dr Jan Steiner Anaesthetist  Health Service Executive 
Brian O'Connor Analytical Chemist  Smart Futures 
Ray Harli Architect  Civil and Public Service Jobs 
Jamie McCarthy-Fisher Art Studio Manager  Design & Crafts Council of Ireland 
Louis Harkin Assistant Commissioner  An Garda Síochána 
Joseph Conboy Associate Director  Irish Tax Institute 
Caroline Austin Associate Tax Lawyer  Irish Tax Institute 
Dave McDonald Astronomer  Smart Futures 
Claire Hanrahan  Auditor  CRH plc 
Donal Og Cusack Automation/Energy Engineer  Sustainable Energy Authority 
Stephen Stapleton Business Advisor  Bank of Ireland 
Eduardo Macias Business Development  Hewlett-Packard 
Lydia Peppard Care Assistant  Health Service Executive 
Deirdre Lavelle Care Assistant   St. Michael's House 
Lisa Curry Catering Sales Executive   Failte Ireland 
David Kehoe Chef  Failte Ireland 
Colm Hofler Chemical Engineer  CRH plc 
Maria O'Neill Civil Engineer  STEPS 
Damien Dollard Clerical Officer  Civil and Public Service Jobs 
Ejiro O'Hare Stratton Clinical Nurse Manager 2  Health Service Executive 
Liam Dowling Clinical Nurse Manager 2  St. Michael's House 
Sarah Jane Higgins Compliance Manager  Lidl 
Louise Keane Compliance Manager  PharmaChemical Ireland 
Jason Ruane Computer Programmer  Intel 
John McDonagh Construction Manager  Lidl 
Peter LaComber Consulting Engineer  CRH plc 
Anne Nutley Contact Centre Agent  Bank of Ireland 
Gail Sterio Corporate Accountant  McDonald's 
Michelle Ryan Corporate Sales Manager  Failte Ireland 
Mariya Levchuk Crew Trainer  McDonald's 
Breda Wright Customer Care Manager  McDonald's 
Sinead Kenny Design Engineer  Smart Futures 
Tracey Roche Design Engineer   Analog Devices 
Frank Keenaghan Detective  An Garda Síochána 
John Traynor  Development Analyst  CRH plc 
Deborah Caffrey Electronic Engineer   Intel 
Denis Canty Electronic Engineer  STEPS 
Shane Callanan Electronic Engineer  Smart Futures 
Barry Duggan Electronic Engineer  Analog Devices 
Jonathan Pugsley Energy Manager  Sustainable Energy Authority 
Chloe Kinsella Engineer - Carbon  ESB 
John Oliver Engineer - Development  Hewlett-Packard 
Kerrie Horan Engineer - Process  Intel 
John Smith Engineer - Process  Intel 
Marie O'Donovan Environmental Officer  CRH plc 
Luke Drea Event Rider  Teagasc 
Ann-Marie Holmes Factory Manager  Intel 
Kieran Magee Farm Manager - Dry Stock  Teagasc 
Bryan Daniels Farmer - Dairy  Teagasc 
Denis Reidy Farmer - Dairy  Teagasc 
Darren O'Reilly Financial Advisor  Accounting Technicans Ireland 
Declan Rice Firefighter  Local Government Management Services Board 
Hugh Heraghty  Fish Farm Manager  Bord Iascaigh Mhara 
Brendan White Fish Filleter  Bord Iascaigh Mhara 
Alan O'Neill Fisherman  Bord Iascaigh Mhara 
Nicola O'Higgins Fishmonger  Bord Iascaigh Mhara 
Elaine Steiro Franchisee  McDonald's 
Brenda O Loughlin Franchisee  McDonald's 
Trevor Laffan Garda  An Garda Síochána 
Ronan Quinn Garda  An Garda Síochána 
Gail Smith Garda - Traffic Corps  An Garda Síochána 
Brian Howard Guidance Counsellor  Department of Education and Skills 
Mary McCaughey Head of Communications  EU Careers 
Sinead O'Hara Higher Executive Officer  Civil and Public Service Jobs 
Paul Dowling Horticulturist  Teagasc 
Liam Doyle Hotel Manager  Failte Ireland 
Sarah Lynch HR Business Partner   Bank of Ireland 
Julie Taggart HR Coordinator   Lidl 
Yvonne Brady HR Manager  Failte Ireland 
Paul Shortt Industrial Relations Officer  Civil and Public Service Jobs 
Fiona Coyle Ink Chemist  Hewlett-Packard 
Breda Ni Mhaoláin Interpreter  EU Careers 
Darryl Day IQ Engineer  Intel 
Lorraine O'Leary IT Support  Lidl 
Vivienne Breathnach Lawyer Linguist-Barrister  EU Careers 
Aoife Mc Dermott Lecturer  Department of Education and Skills 
Jonathan Smyth Library Assistant  Local Government Management Services Board 
Tom Tooher Lieutenant - Army  Defence Forces 
Oisin McGrath Lieutenant - Pilot - Air Corp  Defence Forces 
Gareth Burke Management Associate  Bank of Ireland 
Lynsey Gargan Manufacturing Engineer  STEPS 
Angie O'Keeffe Materials Engineer  Hewlett-Packard 
Elaine McGarrigle Mechanical Engineer  CRH plc 
Damien Mason Mechanical Engineer  CRH plc 
John Harding Mechanical Engineer  ESB 
Afra Ronayne Mechanical Engineer  ESB 
Natasha Ibanez  Mechanical Engineer  CRH plc 
Elva Bannon Mechatronic Engineer   Smart Futures 
Barry Kelly Merchandising Manager  Lidl 
Siobhan Canny Midwife  Health Service Executive 
Rose Griffin Network Technician  ESB 
Aoife Lyons Occupational Psychologist   Civil and Public Service Jobs 
Tomas Flanagan Occupational Therapist  St. Michael's House 
Marie Kinsella-White Operations Consultant  McDonald's 
Chris Bell Operations Manager  Lidl 
Kevin Keary Parliamentary Assistant  EU Careers 
Linda Byrnes Pensions Administrator  Bank of Ireland 
Rachel Berry Pharmacist  Health Service Executive 
Caitriona Jackman Planetary Scientist  Smart Futures 
Ray Power Potter  Design & Crafts Council of Ireland 
Pat O'Connor Press Officer  Defence Forces 
Deirdre Sayers Primary School Teacher  Department of Education and Skills 
Brian Cadigan Primary School Teacher  Department of Education and Skills 
Margaret Donaghue Prison Officer  Civil and Public Service Jobs 
Paul Harding Prison Officer  Civil and Public Service Jobs 
Keith Lynch Private (Line)  Defence Forces 
Louise Mc Donald Private (Line)  Defence Forces 
Rebecca Tighe Process Engineer  Intel 
Val Gabriel Product Manager  Hewlett-Packard 
Aoife Clarke Project Manager  Lidl 
Matt Tighe Project Manager  Lidl 
Ivan Magee Property Manager  Lidl 
Elaine MacDonald Psychologist - Clinical  St. Michael's House 
Liam Casey Purchasing Manager  Lidl 
Michael Bohane QA Manager  PharmaChemical Ireland 
Fergus O'Connell Quality Officer  PharmaChemical Ireland 
Liam McCaul R&D Engineer  Sustainable Energy Authority 
Frank Morrison Recruitment Manager  Health Service Executive 
Paul Galvan Resource Teacher  Department of Education and Skills 
James Sheridan Restaurant Manager  Failte Ireland 
Lisa Berry Restaurant Manager  McDonald's 
Cosmin Tudor Restaurant Manager  McDonald's 
Darren Devine Sales Operations Executive  Lidl 
Lorraine Brophy Sales Operations Manager  Lidl 
Paul Meany School Principal  Department of Education and Skills 
Brian Macken Science Communicator  Smart Futures 
James Stewart Science Communicator  Smart Futures 
Brian Kelly Science Entrepreneur  PharmaChemical Ireland 
Cian O'Mahony Science Teacher  Smart Futures 
Conall O Máirtin Secondary School Teacher  Department of Education and Skills 
Mary Joyce Secondary School Teacher  Department of Education and Skills 
Catherine Day Secretary General  EU Careers 
Andrew Dunne Senior Tax Manager   Irish Tax Institute 
Richard Storey Shift Manager  McDonald's 
Fortune Musasiwa Shift Running Manager  McDonald's 
Brendan Cavanagh Ships Engineer  Bord Iascaigh Mhara 
Liz O'Toole Skipper  Bord Iascaigh Mhara 
Noel O'Sullivan Skipper  Bord Iascaigh Mhara 
Naoise Pye Social Care Worker  St. Michael's House 
Mary Ita Heffernan Social Worker  Health Service Executive 
Karl Stanley Software Engineer  Smart Futures 
Orla Gallagher Spa Manager  Failte Ireland 
Lisa Kelly Speech and Language  Health Service Executive 


What they said...

Orla Gallagher, Failte Ireland

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

At school I studied psychology and communications studies which I feel has stood by me and helped me with interacting with guests and staff.

I have also completed private courses in complementary health which I have enjoyed and have helped me greatly when I now have to devise unique treatments and explain the active ingredients in products to customers. I believe I choose well for my current career but believe that working part time to fund my study also helped me build my confidence for the world of work beyond college.