Working with monsters and the macabre

Spookily good post from my colleague Jane, our Information Manager!

The Careers Service Blog

Halloween’s great for dressing up and partying and the excitement it generates is good for the retail industry too. Spending on novelty goods, costumes and themed foods all contribute to making this the third biggest retail event in the UK (after Christmas and Easter), worth well over £300 million, as this brief piece from the market intelligence agency Mintel shows:  Halloween spending in UK set to reach 320 million 

Apart from the retail side, there’s money in monster experiences. If you’re someone who just can’t get enough of spooky scenarios and gruesome gigs you may be casting an envious eye on the people who are creating a career out of them.

The scare entertainment industry has expanded over the last few years. Some scare attractions, scream parks, fear farms and haunted houses operate all year round, others feature as seasonal specials hosted by less niche theme parks, or open for…

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Interested in Teaching in UK Schools?

Nick Hood from Moray House is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Secondary Education (Physics Specialist) and will be here to answer your questions around teaching as a career, postgraduate study options (at Edinburgh and the rest of the UK) and getting experience.   Nick is a chartered physicist and an interesting guy!

Mon 30 Oct 2017, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Weir Building (Careers Service), King’s Buildings

Book a place via MyCareerHub

Problem-solvers united! 24-hour Social Storm: cities & climate change

social storm

Do YOU want to be part of a challenging, but enjoyable, 24 hour experience? If so, join teams of students from across the world for Social Storm 2017!

Develop your social enterprise skills by tackling one of two social issues which stem from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Cities – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Climate Change and Resilience – Combat climate change and its impacts

This event is run in conjunction with the Careers Service and LAUNCH.ed on Fri 17 Nov 1:00 PM to Sat 18 Nov, 1:00 PM.       More details and booking on MyCareerHub

Nanotechnology: research & possibilities

Lewis Lappin from the Edinburgh University Physics and Astronomy Society invites you to this student-led event.

Join PhysSoc, ChemSoc and ChemEngSoc with the University of Cambridge’s Nanotechnology department for a talk on Nanotechnology and its applications! 

This event will feature a talk from Tommaso Busolo and Taylor Uekert, both PhD students at the University of Cambridge, who will discuss their research experience in nanotechnology and what the future could hold for someone working in this multidisciplinary field.

They will describe the properties and cutting-edge applications of materials specific to the nanoscale, their PhD projects, and what it’s like studying at the Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Doctoral Training Centre at Cambridge.

The breadth and depth of science that may be explored in the field of nanotechnology is limitless, so this is a chance for you to get a feel for the state of the art and see where your interests fit in, as well as to find out more about opportunities for PhD study in this area

When: 16:00-1700, Friday 27th October

Where: Lecture Theatre B, JCMB

More info:

How to write effective CVs, cover letters and applications: online prep sessions just for you

I’ll be running some online sessions for you on Wed 25th October

  • CVs & covering letters – for Physics & Astronomy students only (online via Collaborate)-  1pm

Whether it’s applying for jobs or further study, this online session will help you understand some key elements to include in your CVs & covering letters.

  • Online applications – for Physics & Astronomy students only (online via Collaborate) –  2pm

This online session will help you understand key approaches to completing online applications.

You can sign up for these on MyCareerHub events, just search for physics

Focus on nuclear: growth & diversity

The Nuclear Institute is the professional body and learned society for the nuclear industry, covering both the civil and defence nuclear sectors. The website has a good introduction to the industry.  This is a growth areas especially in quality and safety roles.


They host the Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network, an ever-expanding group of young nuclear professionals with a platform for networking, education and career development. They also promote Women in Nuclear UK, set up to:

  • Attract more women to choose a career in the nuclear sector
  • Support retention and career progression of women in the industry

This is part of Women in Nuclear Global (WiN Global),  a world-wide non-profit making association of women working professionally in various fields of nuclear energy and radiation applications. Membership includes women and men working professionally in medicine and health care, in regulatory authorities, in industry and as independent researchers.

The F- word and future success

Thought-provoking article on learning from failure from the Director of the Careers Service, Shelagh Green. Picks up on similar comments written by Margaret Harris, editor of Physics World, about physicists failing.

“In physics, failure and success are pretty clear-cut. On physics exams, especially, an answer is usually either right or wrong. Most people who choose to study physics are okay with this (indeed, some find the clarity appealing), but that is partly because they are usually “high fliers”, accustomed to getting top marks. The clear-cut nature of success in physics exams has, basically, reinforced their sense of themselves as successful people.

At some point, though, no matter how much of a high flier you are, you will fail. And as a professional physicist, you will fail pretty much all the time. Your experiments won’t work. Your ideas will go nowhere. Sooner or later, your theories will be disproved by observations. To be a successful physicist, then, you need to do failure well. The playwright Samuel Beckett put it nicely: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.””

The Careers Service Blog

Shelagh Green, our Director, on the f-word that’s not as bad as it sounds.

No, not that one.  I mean fail….I was prompted to think about what it feels like to fail and how we respond to failure, since reading this article .  A leading US entrepreneur credits her success to her dad’s regular question, What did you fail at this week?   It made me realise just how often we do fail: or fail to succeed in the way we imagined.  At times that sense of not achieving or getting the desired outcome, can be hard to take – we focus on the loss from the situation. It takes intentional effort (and possibly time) to spot the gains – What was the learning?  What would I do differently next time? What hadn’t I anticipated? What back-up plans could I have put in place? What have I learned about myself? …

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Opportunities at CERN

Great to see so many of you at the CERN event last week.

They have sent on their short video which gives a  flavour of life at CERN and also highlights their opportunities for undergraduates, graduates and PhD students

CERN video

They have more information here on their different programmes

Summer programme Student Blog  Summer Students programme

Summer Student webpage

Technical Programme Student Blog:  Technical Student programme

Technical Student webpage (with video):

General link to student programmes   student programmes


Physics to financial software

 Physics graduate Owen McBrearty shares what he does in a professional data analytics organisation, how he got there and what it’s like at AquaQ Analytics.

Owen AquaQ cropped AquaQ Analytics will be at day 2 of the Careers Fair on Wed 11th October. Owen will be also joining me at my Physics drop-in on Thursday 12 October, 12 – 1.30pm outside the Magnet Cafe, JCMB.         Drop by for an informal chat!

I work for AquaQ Analytics as a Graduate Financial Software Developer. AquaQ is a new company which offers support and software development for various clients, like hedge funds and investment banks, by providing them with tailor-made programs and code which suit their needs. This is where I, and the other developers like me come in.

The client tells us that they need to do a certain task – perform analysis on data, gather and store information, etc – and it’s up to us to write the code that fits their brief. 9 times out of 10, the best code for the job is written in kdb+, which the employees of AquaQ excel in. And it’s not just the financial sector where kdb+ excels. With the recent announcement that NASA have begun using kdb+ for their projects, you can be certain that the need for kdb+ developers is on the rise.

How did I get here?

I came from an applied physics background – in fact, I’ve just completed a 4-year BSc in National University of Ireland Galway. Through this course I gained many skills that I knew would be useful in a professional setting, but the decision remained as to what to do once I graduated. So, as I came to the end of my degree, I took a step back and asked myself, “What aspects of this course did I like, and what aspects do I want to keep using?” To me, the answer was clearly the analytics aspect of the course – taking a set of data and performing analysis on it to get useful information. I began looking for work in a field that would allow me to develop new skills, while making use of the skills I already had.

Application and interview – preparation and process

After a few days searching, I decided to look for work in Northern Ireland, and quickly found a listing on “STEM Graduates Required for Jobs in Financial IT sector”. After leaving my CV and cover letter on the website I was contacted by a recruiter, and after a few telephone interviews they arranged an interview for me with AquaQ. To prepare for this interview, I began reading up on the basics of financial trading. I taught myself about bonds and other fixed income types, and a bit about foreign exchange and how currencies vary with respect to one another. On the programming side of things, I revised the coding I had done in my time in university – while I wasn’t expected to know kdb+ I could still keep myself fresh on the concepts I had learned.

At the interview, I was quizzed on my final year project,my grades and my knowledge of coding and fixed income trading. The interviews were conducted in a professional, but relaxed environment, and after a two-stage interview process and a kdb+ challenge I was contacted with a job offer.

(AquaQ are currently recruiting on MyCareerHub)

Company culture and progression

A few weeks later I started as a developer, and was blown away by how welcoming and open the staff in AquaQ were. This isn’t one of those businesses where management are on some abstract floor upstairs – instead management are working in the same area as the rest of the employees and everyone is ready to help & bring you up to speed on what it means to be a member of the AquaQ team.

The training you receive is second-to-none, and any skills you’ve developed, either in an academic or extra-curricular setting, are allowed to grow so that your skillset grows while the company expands. After 5 weeks you are ready to be sent out to clients. In fact, I’ve just begun work for an investment bank in the US and hope to be sent to London in a few weeks’ time.

So, if you want a career in a professional data analytics environment, with friendly co-workers, state-of-the-art training and enviable travel options, AquaQ Analytics may just be the perfect environment for you!

Careers in data science event

P & G

Procter & Gamble will hold a presentation & information session on careers in data science at Kings Buildings.

Representatives will talk about how Analytics & Insights drives P & G’s business decisions. The session also gives you the opportunity for questions and valuable insights into career options in this area

Monday 9th October, 1 – 2pm Details and signup on MyCareerHub