Your School needs YOU!

I highlighted recently at UG inductions the success that School of Physics & Astronomy students have had in the IBM Universities Business Challenge over the last three years.  Our team Maxwell’s Angels came 4th last year out of more than 300 UK university teams, most of whom were from university business schools. It would be great to repeat that success.

  • It’s the world’s longest established simulation-based competition designed to develop undergraduate employability and enterprise skills.
  • It’s an analytical, problem-solving series of challenges where teams from across UK compete to get to the final in London (the School paid travel and accommodation expenses).
  • I match you up with an industry mentor (I have three lined up already including one from DataLab)
  • it’s a great experience for your CV and a chance to develop personally and professionally. More details here
  • It’s open to undergraduate students from years 2 – 5.  You can have a mixed-year group if you want
  • I need 5 in each team, ideally all from physics and astronomy, but if there is a friend or flatmate you want to have in your team, we can have one non-SoPA student in the team.
  • Please submit details of your team members (name, matric number, year of study) and a nominated team leader (purely for administrative purposes) and email to me
  • If you don’t have a full team, just submit your details (name, matric number, year of study) and I will put a composite group together

I would like to have teams finalised ASAP so I can submit before the deadline on Mon 14 Oct. I will be in touch to let you know if you have been successful this year.


Roles in the NHS in Scotland

At a recent “Working in the NHS” event, two speakers gave a flavour of their roles. The Medical Physicist role demands a background in physics and a physics degree is a very relevant background for the Information Analyst role .

Michelle Rooney, Trainee Clinical Scientist (Medical Physics), NHS Lothian

A degree in Physics is normal starting point followed by a 3.5 year traineeship with NHS. There are several areas of specialism, the most common being Radiology as this is cancer treatment and receives most focus. At end of training, you get allocated to one of several cities, (you must move where you are allocated and relocate there).

She advises patients and staff of risks surrounding Ionising Radiation (MRIs, Ultrasounds, Brachytherapy radiation implants) and plans layout of labs and equipment to minimise these risks. The job is enjoyable as it is practical and patient facing as opposed to her physics degree which was theoretical. Many applicants can expect to apply twice or more. There are only 5-6 places and 200 applicants each year. The training is accredited by the Academy for Healthcare Science.

Ciara Gribben, Senior Information Analyst – Services Access, NHS

She did a statistics Degree which had a student placement, then went into employment followed by sideways move then promotion with supervisory responsibility. New role as Scrum Master. Her job involves providing stats to Scottish Government, often at very short notice and under pressure to verify accuracy. Main adaption was that real world is a lot more messy than the type within stats degree in an academic setting. There is huge variety to work and plenty of chances to move to different departments within this field. She finds it more enjoyable than degree as it is practical and not theoretical. Software used includes “R”.

Prosper – a student-run socially responsible finance fund – and how physics helps

Thanks to Duncan Harris, 4th year Physics & Music student for sharing his experience with Prosper

“Going into the third year of my Physics and Music degree I began to look for ways to use the skills I had been learning on my course for something beyond the realm of quantum mechanics. A friend pointed me in the direction of Prosper Social Finance, I applied to join and have been involved ever since.

Prosper is the UK’s first student run social finance fund, started by some students here at Edinburgh a couple of years ago. We take on student analysts and train them in the fundamentals of financial analysis, stock markets and sustainability assessment methods whilst they research companies who might be suitable for our fund. This culminates in a stock pitch to our panel of industry experts who select the best stocks to invest in with money from the University. We invest with a longer term view, holding our investments for 5 years after which we sell and take any of the profits and distribute them to social enterprises and charities in Edinburgh.

I joined with no investment experience, and one of the great strengths of Prosper is that it brings voices from all degree backgrounds to the table. I found the maths from my degree put me in a good position to understand all of the financial analysis, and the complex systems, analytical thinking helped me pull apart the messiness behind the sustainability issues facing companies today. I of course learned a lot as well, not least that there is far more complexity to sustainability than just net zero carbon targets and tote bags. What’s best is the programme and collaborative nature of the research allowed me to actually develop all of those skills that look great on a CV in a way that I feel I will definitely be able to apply in the future.

It has given me some great experience in an industry I would not have otherwise considered, and though I don’t think I will pursue a career in asset management specifically my time at Prosper has given me such a good foundation in finance, sustainable business practice and a broader approach to social issues that I feel well placed to pursue my interests in any of those areas.

We run the course each semester so if you’re looking to get involved in a project outside your degree within which you can build and apply your skillset, meet likeminded people and be involved in something that makes a difference I can’t recommend Prosper enough. I hope to see you there.”

To get involved with Prosper Social Finance follow the link to the website and apply there, or find us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Alumni Insight – Working in the human side of technology

Like tech? Like people? Great introduction to life in user research

The Careers Service Blog

We’re delighted to share a #TechTuesday guest blog post from University of Edinburgh, Business and Law alumnus, Nicola Hancock. Nicola is a User Researcher within the User Centred Design team, Digital Transformation Division of the Scottish Government… read on for a great insight into the interesting role of User Researcher.

nicola h pic 1 While interviewing some people in their home, after an hour our session was ‘rudely’ interrupted by these two demanding attention.

I have been working in my current role for about 7 months and I’m really enjoying it. However, I wasn’t aware of a User Researcher role, when I left university and it took me a few years after graduating to find out this type of job existed.

I started out working in marketing and social media for a digital magazine, did some web-related work for a digital agency and moved on to office management at Nile, a service design consultancy…

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Graduating this summer? Opportunities and support

We know the transition from being a student to life beyond university has its challenges and we’re here to support you with that.

Did you know the Careers Service will support you for up to two years after graduation? If you haven’t used the service before, after your exams are done – come and see us.

We are running our graduate campaign ” Get on Board 2019″ over the summer. More details here.

There are also some interesting graduate internships (up to 12 months) on MyCareerHub including:

  • Probe Physicist with Novosound
  • Widening Participation Intern and Undergraduate Recruitment Intern, both within the Student Recruitment and Admissions team (SRA) at the University of Edinburgh
  • Web Developers with SuperBath in Germany
  • Good Food Nation Campaign Intern with the Scottish Food Coalition
  • Software engineer (digital healthtech) with Hearing Diagnostics
  • and graduate internships through Skills Development Scotland

Come to our Graduate Jobs Fair on 27th May from 2.30pm at McEwan Hall. More information here.

Insight on Starting a Journalism Career

Great post on getting into journalism

The Careers Service Blog

#ThursdayThrowback to our recent #CCCF19 webinar on starting a journalism career. Hilary Mitchell, editor of the online digital publication, “Edinburgh Live”, shared some great advice on how to get into this competitive industry… read on for a summary of Hilary’s top tips:

pixabay image to use for cccf journalism blog 2019Start building momentum for a freelance journalism career

  • Simply do it!
  • Put your work out there on the internet by creating a blog or a website – there are lots of free places to publish your work such as WordPress or Medium.
  • Recruiters are unlikely to hire someone fresh out of university that doesn’t have a blog or a website. They look for a passion about writing that leads you to do it as a hobby initially.
  • I’m not encouraging you to work for free but it’s for your own enjoyment more than anything; a way that you can build a base to then leapfrog…

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Your (apparently unrelated) degree can land you a job in tech

Good post from my colleague Alison Parkinson on how very different degrees relate well to careers in tech. There are even more connections with physics & astronomy degrees so it’s a popular choice with students

The Careers Service Blog

Alison Parkinson,  Employer Engagement Adviser, picked up some very positive messages from a recent event.

We had four fantastic speakers on campus recently – debunking the myth that you have to have studied a particular degree discipline to work in a tech role or for a tech company. Not so!

  • Emma Langmean is Digital Adoption Experience Manager with RBS, joining them after her History of Art degree
  • Laura Wilson studied International Business with French here and is now working as a Data Scientist at Skyscanner
  • Katie Barker-Ward, studied History and is now a Senior Transformation Consultant with Waterstons
  • Andy is UX Team Lead at FreeAgent and studied Music Performance and Technology

Their Top 10 tips:

  1. There is a massive range of roles in tech- not all about programming, at our recent Careers in Tech fair around half of the 50 + organisations who attended were recruiting students from any discipline.

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Employ.ed in an SME summer internships

We are now advertising the Employ.ed in an SME summer internships on MyCareerHub until 7th April!

26 internships are currently live with a couple still to come. All are paid at the actual living wage or more (£9 p/h or £10.55 for London).

You can see the full details, including a list of internships and the eligibility criteria here:

The programme is open to all years of UG study and there are also a couple of part time roles PG students can apply to.