What is the highest degree in astronomy/physics you have received? PhD
What is/was your most recent academic position in astronomy/physics? PhD
What has been your career path since you completed your degree? Data Scientist
What were the most important factors that led you to leave astronomy and/or academia? 1) Lifestyle: was looking for a more 9 to 5 type of job, less invasive.
2) Location: didn’t want to move abroad for a postdoc, and more likely move again afterwards.
3) Pace: wanted a more dynamic environment by working on shorter projects with a faster outcome
4) Work environment: wanted to work within a team and do collaborative work on a daily basis
What is the job title for your current position? Data Scientist
What is the name of your company/organization/institution? Deakin Innovation Software Technology Lab
What city and country do you live in and/or work in? Melbourne, Australia
What is your social background? Are there any identifiers that you think are particularly relevant? European, LGBTQ
What do you do for fun (e.g., hobbies, pastimes, etc.)? Basketball, Drawing, Movies, Travels
List your favorites. Band (or singer/composer/etc.), recent film, current TV series, food, color, pet. Nightwish, Epica, Linkin Park
What’s something you greatly miss about grad school? What about something you definitely don’t miss? I like being part of a student community. I don’t miss anything else.
If you have made a career change, what was your age at the time? 28
What have been particularly valuable skills for your current job that you gained through completing your degree? – Writing skills: writing reports
– Presentation/Teaching skills: preparing meeting and presenting something to clients
– Programming: Scripting, C-Shell, Fortran
– General: data analysis, problem solving, linux
What advice do you think advisors should be giving students regarding their career path? They should encourage the students to:
– explore all different type of opportunities,
– explore different fields of work,
– encourage the students to do short-term internships in different environments
What, if any, additional training did you complete in order to meet the qualifications of your current position? I took several online courses to learn R, Python and (basic) SQL.
What job hunting or networking resources or other advice/resources did you use to land your current position? Former PhD student who already made the transition
Describe a typical day at work. – 1h meeting with teammates/clients
– 1-2h working with teammates
– 5h of programming/debugging
– 1h reading through scientific paper/ looking for online ressources
How many hours do you work in a week? 45
What is your salary? As a Master graduate, it was 62k/year. As a PhD graduate, it will be 80k/year.
What is your level of satisfaction with your current job? Satisfied
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job? Least enjoyable? Most enjoyable:
– learning new things and using new technology every day !
– working on modern problems
– fun, youthful team
– not always have the choice on what you work on
What do you like most about your working environment? Dislike most? nan
What opportunities does your job provide to be creative and/or to take initiative? Creativity is the main drive to my current job. Clients come to you with a problem, and it is up to you to design a system to solve their problem.
How satisfied are you with your work-life balance in your current job? More satisfied than when I was doing my PhD
How family-friendly is your current position? nan
What advice do you have for achieving work-life balance (including having a family)? Learn to say no. Learn that it is ok to leave on time. Learn that it is ok to take sick leave when required.
Do you still interact with people who work (directly) in astronomy and/or are you still involved in astronomy in some way? Do media interview for astronomy outreach
Catch up with my former colleagues
Were there any emotional difficulties or social consequences to your career choices? Do you have any advice for those who are thinking of switching careers, but are wary of the side effects? Although most of my astro coworkers were supportive with my career transition, I did feel a bit like an outsider at the time. This is no clear road to follow when switching careers, you have to be very pro-active to make it happen: contact people who did the transition before you, go to meet-ups to meet other professionals, attend internship/career fairs.It is clear that it will be difficult to go back to a classic researcher position after doing the transition to data science (not having followed recent publications etc..), however future ‘hybrid’ positions with astronomy+data science would perfectly suit my profile.