Physical and Mathematical Sciences is a broad sector, with many potential career paths for those with qualifications and suitable skillsets, including medical work, engineering, teaching, finance and technology.
The engineering sector itself is made up of a wide range of companies providing a diverse range of products and services.
The most usual route is through taking a degree at a third level college, often following this with a post graduate qualification.
Students can study mechanical engineering at Level 6, 7 or 8 in colleges across Ireland or they can study a general engineering degree then specialise in mechanical engineering in the final year.
Physicists want to understand how the world works, in every detail and at the deepest level. This includes everything from elementary particles, to nuclei, atoms, living cells, solids, liquids, gases, living organisms, the brain, supercomputers, the atmosphere, galaxies and the universe itself.
There is a whole host of career opportunities for mechanical engineering graduates.
A wide range of opportunities exist in both electrical and electronic engineering.
Smart Futures is a government-industry programme providing science, technology, engineering andmaths (STEM) careers information to second-level students, parents, teachers and careers guidance counsellors in Ireland.
Lydia O'Leary is a computer systems engineer. Her job involves providing infrastructure support, configuration management and troubleshooting.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
Describe a typical day?
My day starts at 8:30am. I am part of the System Admin team. We are responsible for providing robust cloud infrastructure to engineering teams, automating processes, configuring hardware and troubleshooting infrastructure related issues. During my day, I assign myself tasks from our backlog. The highest priority tasks are issues and I would troubleshoot these issues first. In the afternoon, my team meets for our scrum call and we provide an update on our tasks and discuss any open items. My day ends at 5:30pm.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
My main tasks are to provide infrastructure support, configuration management and troubleshooting. These tasks involve development work, such as code changes, problem-solving of open issues and managing/supporting infrastructure requests. The main skills needed are communication, problem-solving, and collaboration
What's not so cool?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Yes, there is a great work/life balance. I can work flexible hours and also work from home. This is very important as you can come in late if you have an appointment or work remotely if you cannot make it into the office. There is also a sports and social club that organize events onsite, such as BBQs, gym classes, running events and walking outings.
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
If you are interested in learning about day to day tasks, then organize work experience in an IT company. If you want to learn coding, you can join coding groups or take free courses online. If you want to develop your coding skills and work on projects, then you can work on open source projects. If you want to learn more about the projects companies work on, then follow the company on Twitter or LinkedIn.