PDA

View Full Version : Episode 67: Building a Career in Astronomy



Fraser
2007-Dec-17, 04:00 PM
With all the enthusiasm that’s being generated with astronomy, it’s had a bit of a strange side-effect. We’ve been causing some of our listeners to have midlife crises about their careers. We’ve had other people who just want advice – they’re moving into college for the first time and they want to direct the courses they’re going to be taking into astronomy. Some other people already have skills that are very useful and have wondered how they can help up or even change their career to be working in the field. We thought we’d try and answer everyone’s questions all at once and just run through the major career paths you can take that relate to astronomy and space, and the kinds of things you’ll need to do to actually make yourself a good candidate for that field.

<strong><a href="http://media.libsyn.com/media/astronomycast/AstroCast-071217.mp3">Episode 67: Building a Career in Astronomy (16.9MB)</a></strong><br />&nbsp;<br />

Read the full blog entry (http://www.astronomycast.com/uncategorized/episode-67-building-a-career-in-astronomy/)

page13
2007-Dec-17, 11:20 PM
"causing some of our listeners to have midlife crises about their careers" ... no kidding - a testament to the high quality of your podcast!

Freiddie
2007-Dec-19, 02:51 PM
Just what I needed. Now hopefully I won't regret majoring physics.

iceman
2008-Jan-08, 11:21 PM
I really liked this episode, thanks.

As someone who would love to have a midlife career change into astronomy, I listened with interest.

Like Fraser, my background is in software development - but astronomy is my passion/obsession, and through IceInSpace and now as contributing editor to Australian Sky&Telescope, i'm getting more involved in astronomy and would love to do it as my "day job".

However there's a long way to go before I could earn enough money in it to replace my day job :(

bethkatz17582
2008-Jan-09, 03:05 PM
Remind the kids that they should pick up as much math and science as they can in school. Career paths aren't straight, but having math, science, and good communication skills will help you in a lot of careers. Some of the most interesting jobs are those that are at the edges between the major areas.

Keep on learning!

PhilM
2008-Jan-16, 08:35 PM
Boy if there was ever an episode that seemed like it was written for me, this was it. I've been away for a while so I'm catching up with all of the podcasts and when I came to this one I was very interested.

I too have an bachelor's in computer science and I've been working as a software engineer for the last 10+ years. However, I've always been a huge fan of physics and astronomy.

One of the main questions that I have from this episode is that Pamela mentioned how some software engineers get in touch with astrophysicists to basically assist in crunching numbers and such. How exactly would one go about this? Where would someone start to look?

And if anyone is out there looking for a software engineer to provide support for their projects, let me know (shameless plug I admit). :lol:


Thanks in advance,

squid
2008-Jan-21, 12:34 PM
As a high school junior, I've wanted to go into astronomy for a few years now, but the thought of only being halfway done with school makes me cringe. I don't know if I could handle another year and a half of high school and then TEN years of college/grad school on top of that. That means I'm looking at another 11.5 years of school, and I've only done 10.5 so far...so I'm not even halfway there.
Just curious, in all reality, what percent of students who want to become astrophysicists actually end up getting a job in astronomy? How many job opportunities are really out there? Is it better to go to college and major in physics and have more options, or to major in astronomy and not have as many?

Fraser
2008-Jan-21, 07:25 PM
There aren't a lot of jobs, and there are many people chasing them. You have to do it because you love astronomy, not because you're hoping to get rich.

fotobits
2008-Feb-02, 03:06 AM
There may not be many jobs, but that is no reason not to pursue astronomy as a career, just keep your options open and be prepared to work in the real world.

I have to add my voice as one who listened to this podcast, thought about how I've always regretted not studying astronomy in college and decided to go back and do it right even at my advanced age (50-something).

I bought some used math books last weekend and am catching up on the algebra and trigonometry I studied 25 years ago before a pregnant wife made me quit college and get a job. My career goal is rather modest. I plan to get a BA in astronomy then try to land a job at the McDonald Observatory Visitor Center. I am in the fortunate position of not needing a large income after graduating (the wife mentioned above is now working on her second master's degree and has an excellent job). Working at the visitor's center will be retirement income with health insurance benefits.

Thanks for providing the spark, Fraser and Pamela. The candle is lit.

clint
2008-Feb-02, 09:20 AM
There may not be many jobs, but that is no reason not to pursue astronomy as a career, just keep your options open and be prepared to work in the real world.

I have to add my voice as one who listened to this podcast, thought about how I've always regretted not studying astronomy in college and decided to go back and do it right even at my advanced age (50-something).

I bought some used math books last weekend and am catching up on the algebra and trigonometry I studied 25 years ago before a pregnant wife made me quit college and get a job. My career goal is rather modest. I plan to get a BA in astronomy then try to land a job at the McDonald Observatory Visitor Center. I am in the fortunate position of not needing a large income after graduating (the wife mentioned above is now working on her second master's degree and has an excellent job). Working at the visitor's center will be retirement income with health insurance benefits.

Thanks for providing the spark, Fraser and Pamela. The candle is lit.

Good luck, fotobits!!!

laurele
2008-Feb-02, 07:25 PM
These days, 50-something is not really an "advanced age." I'm noticing a pattern of more and more people of so-called middle age and older going back to school, getting additional degrees, and starting new careers. It's probably related to people living longer and staying healthy and vital a lot longer too. Personally, I think it's wonderful that we have second and third chances to pursue careers and passions we may have given up too soon in earlier years.

fotobits
2008-Feb-02, 10:10 PM
Laurele, I should have put a smiley after my "advanced age" comment. My father is 80 years old and still going strong. He retired at 76. Most of my great aunts and uncles on both sides of the family lived well into their 80 and into their 90s in a few cases. I expect to have a good 12-15 years to work after I graduate, maybe more.

Now back to my remedial math studies. ;-)