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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 Caitriona Jackman from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:
|If you are considering full-time scientific research, try to get a work placement in a university department so you can see first hand what it’s like. It’s a relatively relaxed, flexible environment, but there is a certain degree of self-motivation needed.
So I would say you need to be able to push yourself and be proactive in terms of setting up collaborations with other scientists etc.
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My Leaving Cert subjects were as follows: English, Irish, Maths, French (obligatory subjects). My choice subjects were: Accounting, Physics & Chemistry. I did all honours subjects and I think doing honours Maths and English especially really help.
English is not immediately obvious when one thinks of a career in Engineering, but from the point of view of report writing and corresponding with team members and even customers via email etc, it is a very important skill to master.
I was not 100% sure of my career path at the time of choosing the above mentioned "choice-subjects". My way of thinking was, one business subject, one science and another one that I thought I might like or be good at. Physics, Chemistry and Accounting all have a common theme of maths and problem solving, this was my link into Electronic Engineering... In hindsight, had some form of technology or electronics courses been available in my school, I think these might have been helpful. I'm not sure which subject I would have replaced though!
I attended Scoil Carmel secondary school in Limerick.
I then went on to do a 4-year Bachelor of Electronic Engineering degree in the University of Limerick. Here, Computer Engineering and Electronic Engineering courses were common for the first 2 years and then we parted ways in terms of specialized subjects. Part of the degree also included an 8-month work experience period, during which I worked in the Design Evaluation Department of Analog Devices. This 8-month period was during the Summer after 2nd year of college and throughout the first semester of the third year of college. This work experience was invaluable.
I spent the Summer after fourth year working for Analog Devices in California and have been working here in Limerick since.
Having honours Maths, Physics and even Accounting have helped a lot in both my problem-solving skills (the solution is most definitely not always immediately obvious in Honours maths questions!) and also in my organisation skills.
Taking neat logical notes in all of the above subjects, led to logical thinking and also helped me realise the importance of being organised.
Given the opportunity again, in both school and college, I would have practiced my presentation & public speaking skills more. This is another key aspect of my work - both in terms of "corridor-explanations/conversations" relating to describing a project or issue I am having with my current project and also in terms of official powerpoint presentations to a Group of colleagues.
I do not have any immediate plans to do any sort of formal courses in terms of a part-time Masters or anything. A lot of my job upskilling happens on a daily basis or if not daily, periodically through in-house company training courses, on new equipment/measurement procedures or new styles/upgrades in programming software we use.
Training is a big part of what Analog Devices stands for and as a company, it definitely encourages it's employees to continue to strive to upskill and take part in further training and education.