• Question: hi guys! how did you get your job and was it easy? was science hard in school?

    Asked by buzz389tea to James, Hannah, Claire, Chris, Binuraj, Alice on 10 Mar 2020.
    • Photo: Chris Carlton

      Chris Carlton answered on 10 Mar 2020:


      Well believe it or not, I didn’t study much science at school, I dropped it straight after GCSE (it was compulsory in those days). I studied all humanity subjects at A Level and went on to do History and Politics at University.

      This led to me getting a job in that field and I worked for the UK’s largest funder of social science research for 7 years. I worked on things like employment and the Scottish Independence Referendum.

      After 7 years and developing lots of skills in working with university professors, I fancied a change and got a job managing a panel of experts considering funding for physics research.

      This was a completely different area for me but drew upon the skills I gained in the areas I studied and was more familiar with. My point is, there are lots of different ways into science careers and the opportunity to use lots of different skills!

    • Photo: Alice Rhind-Tutt

      Alice Rhind-Tutt answered on 11 Mar 2020:


      I got my job after I finished my degree. It wasn’t easy, but it was also a really good experience going to lots of different universities to see what science they do there and to meet different teams of people. I applied for 4 PhD jobs and 2 industry (outside of university) jobs and ended up getting this one in Sheffield! The interviews were all very different, some had practical tests or presentations, some lasted all day and some were just friendly chats in a pub. I always found biology hard at school, I just didn’t “get it” (and still don’t sometimes!) but I really enjoyed physics and chemistry even though they were hard.

    • Photo: Hannah Blyth

      Hannah Blyth answered on 11 Mar 2020:


      Hello Buzz389Tea 🙂 I applied for a place on my PhD program whilst I was in my final year at University. I got very lucky after being told that I was “on the waitlist” (meaning I didn’t get accepted initially!) that there was a space at Rothamsted Research that I was happy to fill! If I hadn’t got the place then I think I would have waited to apply to things after I had handed in my last coursework because the application process took a lot of time and was difficult for me.

    • Photo: Claire Hobday

      Claire Hobday answered on 11 Mar 2020:


      I got my job after 9 years of studying at university. It sounds like a lot but I loved it!
      I started with a MChem degree which was 5 years. I did year 3 in a French university and year 4 at a pharmaceutical company, so I wasn’t always in the same place and got to travel around and experience how other universities teach chemistry and how the work place might be for me.
      After my MChem, I decided that a PhD would be the best option for me, as I really enjoyed my research project in year 5 of my MChem, and wanted to take some time to explore the research area of chemistry. It took me 3 and 1/2 years to finish my PhD. After my PhD I did 2 years post-doctoral research with a lovely group. Here I expanded into a different area from my PhD, moving from chemistry to chemical engineering, so I gained new skills. Last year I got the job I am in at the moment, which is a research fellow. This means I essentially work for myself, I am the team leader of my group and direct the research which I do.

      Science for me in school was just as hard as any other subject. I think for me, I found the concepts of science easier to understand than english, but I still had to work hard to really achieve good marks in science, and found that no matter how hard I tried with english, I could never get good marks!

    • Photo: Binuraj Menon

      Binuraj Menon answered on 11 Mar 2020:


      Hi Buzz389tea,

      As you could imagine it wont be always easy to get your dream job ( like mine, I want to be a Professor at University which really a difficult job to attain at this point). I work hard towards fulfilling the missing bits in my CV. Various studies and the statistics shows that Black and ethnic minorities and especially women are less welcomed in science and technology subjects. Just mentioning this as there are many social issues too that stand in front as a barrier for many people with no privilege (these issues are rarely addressed in our society). Science was always an interesting subject for me to learn at school. It wasn’t hard and the teachers helped a lot in school to make it interesting. I believe they are the one who can make you fall in love with any subject.

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