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 Elva Bannon from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Elva Bannon

Mechatronic Engineer

Smart Futures

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  Elva Bannon

I found having education in a number of different areas of engineering to be beneficial to the work I am doing.

There is a whole world of possibilities out there for engineers, and it is difficult to know what subjects are necessary for the industry you will end up in. I was always interested in robotics and environmental issues, but it was not until my Masters that I really knew what I wanted to do.

General entry courses are quite useful, as you get a taste for a few different areas before you have to specialise, a lot of companies offer on the job training, and there is also the possibility of further study.

An engineering qualification teaches you so much more than just the technical subjects, but a way of looking at the world and solving problems in a logical and systematic way.

Engineers are sought after for these skills as much as the technical ones, and it opens up incredible opportunities. Engineering is not an easy route through college, but it is incredibly rewarding.

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Realist?
Realist 
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.
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What is a Career Anyway?

A Career is a central part of an individuals journey through life. As adults we may look back and see how we moved between studying and employment, and between raising a family and various job promotions or job losses. This journey from back in your early school days to where you are today is your career so far. And the years ahead will see your career move on, often in unpredictable ways.

Gone are the days of considering a career as being the occupation you aimed for on leaving school or college, and that you could loose your career if you lost your job. Your career, and that of your children, is now viewed as a journey, and the emphasis now is on ensuring your child is prepared for the journey, not just the first stop.

Jobs, Occupations, Careers - I'm Confused?

Nobody entirely agrees on what these commonly used words mean, but here are some of the more accepted definitions:

Job Work that is paid for in return for performing specific tasks: e.g. an electrical engineer with ESB 
Occupation This refers to a range of correlated jobs that are associated or have similar characteristics – e.g: educator, engineer, scientist
Career The paid and unpaid variety of occupations, skills, experiences and knowledge that one experiences and accrues across a lifetime journey. It refers to the totality of all our relationships with family, friends and associates, our education, leisure activities, voluntary activities and our life roles.

There are lots of career theories and frameworks to help us make sense of this aspect of our lives, one of the most popular is that of John Holland or Donald Super’s Life Span Life Space Theory. Super states that people play nine major roles as they mature – Child, Student, Leisurite, Worker, Citizen, Spouse, Home-maker, Parent, Pensioner. Each of these roles comes with expectations and responsibilities. Super defines career as: ‘the combination and sequence of roles played by a person during the course of a lifetime.’

Without getting too technical, and regardless of which theory you favour, there are some fundemental principles that need to be understood by parents and young adults alike: The High Five Principles for Career Planning

 


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