Featured Advice
What are your interests?

Naturalist?

Naturalist

Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.

Smart Futures

Explore career opportunities focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths


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Interviews

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

Shane McDonagh is a Phd Researcher working in the area of renewable energy engineering. Shane uses computer programmes to analyse data and look for patterns that will tell us how energy systems will work on a big scale.

Ask me your
first question!

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

My interests! I’m a problem solver, love technology, politics, and I’m a big environmentalist. I get to incorporate all these into working on solutions to climate change and pollution that can make the world a better place.

Describe a typical day?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

Most of my work is done on a computer. I’ll read about the subject I’m working on, find out the questions that need to be answered, and figure out how I can contribute. The process works a bit like this: find a gap in the knowledge, try and fill that gap as best you can, discuss your findings with your peers, go back and improve, then share with the world.  

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

I use computer programmes to analyse data and look for patterns that will tell us how the energy system will work on a big scale. This involves understanding the best ideas out there at the minute and how your work will add to them. You need to be creative, logical, and sometimes patient but the work comes easy if you’re interested in what you do.

What are the main challenges?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

You can get stuck on certain problems which becomes frustrating quite quickly because you don’t have a big team to help you. And if you’re like me solving the problem is the fun part, writing up your results not so much although it is probably the most important bit. It can take some time and requires a lot of focus.

What are the main challenges?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

You can get stuck on certain problems which becomes frustrating quite quickly because you don’t have a big team to help you. And if you’re like me solving the problem is the fun part, writing up your results not so much although it is probably the most important bit. It can take some time and requires a lot of focus.

What's cool?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

Getting to travel and present to new people with whom you discuss new ideas, and debate different aspects of your work. Plus, this travel often brings you to cool places around the world.

What is your education to date?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

  1. Degree in Mechanical Engineering in NUIG
  2. Masters in Energy Systems Engineering in NUIG

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

Once you reach a certain level everyone in the room is pretty smart, and so the part of my education that has proven most useful is communications. Being able to present and discuss complex topics amongst your peers is essential and even though it doesn’t seem like it at the time school and college set you up well for this.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

Finding what you’d like to do day to day, working in a big team, at a desk, on a site, is as important as the area you want to work in. Just because you like maths in school that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy accounting, and likewise just because you don’t like physics that doesn’t mean you won’t make a great engineer.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

Several PhD students at any IT/university would be willing to let someone come in a check out what they do. Research scientists in industry would have similar roles too and so that could be useful to check out.

What is your current job title?

Shane McDonagh, Renewable Energy Engineering

PhD candidate with MaREI, the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland in University College Cork. 

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