In with the new…

Happy New Year! Start it well with some great advice from the Careers Service #Do1Thing

The Careers Service Blog

It’s the beginning of January and time, as they say, for “out with the old and in with the new”.

Introducing some new good habits can certainly be beneficial. There’s no need to overhaul every aspect of your life – although if you want to, you can get some ideas by reading these fifty (yes 50!) suggestions.   But taking just one small step can be the start of something significant. (That’s why we want you to watch out for the #Do1Thing posts on Facebook and Twitter next week. Get some ideas. Not much commitment required! )

So how will you identify your New Year’s Resolution for 2018? Why not look beyond the usual “eat less chocolate” and “do more sport”. Can’t decide whether you’re assertive enough? Need a nudge towards more consistent decision-making? These short online quizzes will help you to pinpoint areas you may want to develop, while…

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Focus on: Cambridge Consultants


Cambridge Consultants are a leading supplier of innovative product development engineering and technology consulting.

  • Facilities: over 100,000 sq ft of fully equipped laboratories and prototyping facilities on their own premises in Cambridge and Boston
  • Scale: more than 500 staff, including scientists, mathematicians, engineers and designers, able to bring multidisciplinary technology insight to client problems
  • Breadth of operation across medical technology and pharmaceuticals, wireless communications, consumer and industrial, energy and transport, and defence and security, enables insights and solution approaches to be transferred efficiently between sectors


Are you keen to apply your mathematical and scientific knowledge to solving creative and technically challenging problems? Join their team of talented mathematicians, physicists and engineers to develop future leading edge information systems.

They are currently recruiting for a graduate physicist or mathematician to work on client assignments and provide key ideas for projects involving the design, implementation and test of a wide range of products and systems. This will involve working with data from sensors or unstructured data and developing algorithms to extract valuable information. Clear presentation of results both internally and to clients is also important.  Full vacancy details here

They also offer summer internships and have some good videos on their site giving a  flavour of their projects

Looking at the Scottish job market, on St Andrew’s Day

Keen to work in Scotland? Some good advice here

The Careers Service Blog

We know lots of our graduates love Edinburgh so much (and who can blame them!) they want to stay within easy reach and look for jobs in Scotland.  On St Andrew’s Day* let’s take a quick look at a few sites you can use to keep up to date with what’s happening in Scotland’s world of work.

Want to see some stats? Download Scottish Enterprise’s latest summary of Scottish Economic Facts which includes summaries of the state of play in twelve key Scottish sectors. A good way to get an overview of growth areas, and to contextualise your more focused research.

For breaking news and special reports from Scotland’s business scene, go to Scottish Business Insider. Find out who’s likely to be hiring – or firing. It’s good for news of SMEs as well as the big players.  See, for example, this recent article: Five rising stars of Scotland’s tech…

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Internships in energy

Wood Mackenzie are currently recruiting for summer internships,  including Edinburgh based ones. Closing date 31st January

The Wood Mackenzie UK Internship Programme is open to third and final year students  in a numerate or analytical discipline. Based in their Edinburgh, London and Guildford offices, the programme will provide invaluable experience for anyone considering a career within a research or consulting environment and who wants to find out more about the Natural Resources industry
Find out more here


From Physics grad to EY consultant

Huge thanks to Gemma King, physics graduate, for this insightful post on how she uses the skills gained from her degree and extra-curricular activity in her current role.

Despite loving studying Physics at University I determined fairly early on I wasn’t destined for a career in academia.  During my degree I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study Technology and Innovation Management, and it was this class that attracted me to business and the opportunities to transfer my scientific skills to this setting.  Engaging with my University’s Careers Service, I attended presentations run by professional services organisations and industry focussed companies to gain an understanding of the potential roles I would be suited to.

Consulting really stood out to me as a career route due to the need for a diverse skill-set and the emphasis on continuous learning, whilst enthusiastic presentations from EY attracted me to the company, coupled with its focus on people and development.  I was therefore delighted to join EY as a Performance Improvement Consultant in March 2017.

Whilst in my day-to-day role I’m not applying my technical Physics knowledge, I do rely on a number of the skills that I developed in my degree: a methodical approach to data, being able to systematically analyse that data and draw key conclusions, as well as the ability to succinctly convey these results to the wider team.

Positively, I’ve also been able to draw on the skills I developed through extra-curricular activities.  Serving as a Class Representative and President of the Grad Ball Committee gave me a great opportunity to work as part of diverse teams allowing me to develop my communication skills as well reinforcing managing tasks whilst working toward a common goal.

Gaining professional experience was also a valuable learning opportunity.  Between my penultimate and final year of University I undertook an internship in banking which allowed me to consider where I would like to focus my professional career.

Studying Physics has allowed me develop numerous transferable skills that have strongly supported me so far in my professional career.  Reflecting back on my own final years at University, I believe the most valuable advice I received that I would pass on is to engage with individuals working in the field you’re interested in, seek out opportunities to learn more and broaden your skill-set, and definitely do not see your Physics degree as a limitation to success in business.

Earning and learning to be a teacher

PGCE with Supported Induction Route (SIR) –  a new course at the University of Dundee designed:

  • to help you become a teacher in a 52-week course
  • to meet Scotland’s demand for secondary teachers of STEM subjects
  • to combine Master-level training with school-based experience

Unlike other routes into teaching currently available in Scotland, with this programme you can study while receiving the equivalent of a probationer teacher’s salary (£22416 p.a. as at 1st April 2016).

Running from January to January, it brings together the first two steps in your career as a teacher, the initial teacher education programme and the Teacher Induction Scheme, and you will be fully registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), allowing you to teach pupils of secondary age in your subject specialism (Physics, Chemistry, Computing, Mathematic,) in Scottish schools.

Rather than the three 6-week placements you experience in a traditional teacher training course, the PGCE with SIR features a 37-week school placement, enabling the development of stronger, continuous working relationships with the school, its staff, pupils and the community.

Find out more here

Graduate physicists needed!

Are you keen to apply your scientific and mathematical knowledge to solving creative and technically challenging problems?

Cambridge Consultants are looking for a graduate physicist (or mathematician) to work on client assignments and provide key ideas for projects involving the design, implementation and test of a wide range of products and systems. The job involves:

  • working with data from sensors or unstructured data
  • developing algorithms to extract valuable information
  • clear presentation of results both internally and to clients

They recruit for summer internships too.

Find out more here

Joining a learned society – what’s in it for me?

Good post from my colleague Rachel Taylor on the benefits of joining a learned society. The Institute of Physics is a particularly helpful one when it comes to career advice.

The Careers Service Blog

Rachel Taylor, Careers Consultant, highlights one way of developing networks which you may not have considered. And it has other benefits too….

I recently attended a conference entitled ‘Enhancing the Employability of Biosciences Students’.  The event was hosted by three learned societies and a key theme emerging from the day was that being a member of a learned society holds a wide range of benefits.  This is particularly the case for students from STEM disciplines or those who are keen to pursue a career in research.  At the conference we heard from a PhD student who had been offered his PhD off the back of a presentation he delivered at a conference run by the Physiological Society.  There were also a number of students speaking who had completed internships run by learned societies.   Many of the speakers were affiliated with a society in some way and all spoke about the…

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From Astrophysics to Data Science at First Derivatives – Edinburgh grad profile

Henry Noonan

Thanks to Henry Noonan, an Edinburgh astrophysics graduate, for this great profile

I recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh in July with a degree in Astrophysics. Following the completion of my time at university I began my professional career at First Derivatives. First Derivatives (FD) is a consulting firm based in Northern Ireland specializing in their high speed database technology, kdb+. This technology is used in a number of different fields including finance, pharma, F1 racing and even the space industry.

However in my opinion, the most appealing part of working for FD is the ability to travel around the world and work on these interesting projects. Almost all of the Data Scientists I entered the company with back in August have been deployed around the U.K. and the world (including New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong).

After joining in August, I was sent to New York in September to start on a surveillance project with a hedge fund. I am in a technical role, which for the moment involves testing a wide variety of the back-end code the team has developed. This project has not only helped develop my technical skills but has introduced me to the financial world, specifically to that of U.S. equities and options markets. Working at FD is a great opportunity to get into and experience the financial world, even if you did not study any finance at university.

How physics helps

Studying physics prepared me well with what I have faced in the professional world so far. Specifically, the coding modules (like computer modelling) and statistical analysis courses I took at the UoE helped me with the coding that I am doing on the job. Completing my senior honours dissertation (amongst other projects) helped show me how to balance time in a long-term project as well as deliver a professional result, all while effectively communicating with my supervisor. Communication is a big part of working with FD; you are expected to be able to interact in a professional setting with clients (it is not just sitting at an isolated desk coding!). This balance of a technical environment mixed in with face-to-face interaction is something I was looking for when I was searching for a job after university. FD has certainly delivered with regards to this.

Application process

In terms of applying to First Derivatives, the application process was quite easy, easier than other jobs I applied to. I found FD through the UoE’s career services website and applied online. I had three interviews: a phone call, a skype call and finally a technical “shared screen” interview on skype where I had to demonstrate some basic coding abilities in a windows command prompt terminal. Following these three interviews I received an offer.

Advice to UoE students

Start early. I started my job search back in October of my final year and I am so happy that I did it then. Many of my friends waited until the summer of graduation and regret waiting so long. Additionally, a lot of the grad-scheme applications close by January so starting on the job applications early is highly beneficial. I know there is a lot of work in the final year of the degree; finding a good balance between university work and the applications is important. My last piece of advice is to understand what role you are applying to. What I mean by this is know what the job entails before you apply for it, especially if you get invited for an interview. All in all I would say that it may seem daunting applying for jobs but know that there are plenty of opportunities out there for you to flourish in.”

First Derivatives are currently recruiting for graduate data science roles & other roles .  Closing date 30 November

Why #ExperienceWorks – a student perspective – part 2

#ExperienceWorks – great post from Robbie. You can find more on our Inform.ed blog

The Careers Service Blog

This afternoon we have another current student sharing some insight into their experience of undertaking an internship this summer, and how the internship allowed him to build up some great skills that he hadn’t even been aware of previously.  Robbie is a 5th year MPhys student.

This summer, I had a great internship experience working at the digital office for Kingfisher Plc, the parent company of B&Q, Screwfix and a few other international home improvement organisations. Here, we were working on a big project, creating a new digital platform for customers to use. While this sounds like a bit of a bore, it wasn’t just updating the website and refining the app; we were coming up with innovative digital solutions for home improvement problems using ‘design thinking’. This is a term that is becoming a big buzz word, and doesn’t mean ‘making things pretty’, but refers to a methodology and mind-set that…

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