What is the highest degree in astronomy/physics you have received? *
What is/was your most recent academic position in astronomy/physics? *
What has been your career path since you completed your degree? *
What were the most important factors that led you to leave astronomy and/or academia? *
Work-life balance; income; career prospects; constant need for relocation.
What is the job title for your current position?
Senior Data Analyst
What is the name of your company/organization/institution?
What city and country do you live in and/or work in?
Sydney, NSW, Australia
What is your social background? Are there any identifiers that you think are particularly relevant?
Middle class Greek country bumpkin
What do you do for fun (e.g., hobbies, pastimes, etc.)?
Karate, lute and guitar playing, board games, movies
What’s something you greatly miss about grad school? What about something you definitely don’t miss?
I miss observing runs. I miss nothing else, really.
If you have made a career change, what was your age at the time?
What have been particularly valuable skills for your current job that you gained through completing your degree?
Data wrangling; search for truth; data exploration; data visualisation
What advice do you think advisors should be giving students regarding their career path?
That, by numbers, it is a professorship is an ‘alternative career path’, not industry.
What, if any, additional training did you complete in order to meet the qualifications of your current position?
Free Data Science courses online.
What job hunting or networking resources or other advice/resources did you use to land your current position?
LinkedIn, connection from astronomy.
Describe a typical day at work.
Lots of data, lots of plots, lots of coding, lots of time spent finding what questions need to be posed.
How many hours do you work in a week?
37.6 as per my contract
What is your salary?
About twice my Postdoc salary when tallying all bonuses and perks.
What is your level of satisfaction with your current job?
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job? Least enjoyable?
Communication with team. Esteem of colleagues. Great office space and perks. Here is nothing I’d identify as less enjoyable, we have a great balance.
What opportunities does your job provide to be creative and/or to take initiative?
‘Be the change you seek’ is one of our values and we definitely live by it.
How satisfied are you with your work-life balance in your current job?
Super pleased. Have never worked a minute on an evening or weekend.
How family-friendly is your current position?
What advice do you have for achieving work-life balance (including having a family)?
Only work the hours you are paid to work.
Do you still interact with people who work (directly) in astronomy and/or are you still involved in astronomy in some way?
Mostly socially, plus I am still in collaboration papers.
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?
It was so, so easy. It seemed like a really difficult decision since I decided to become an astronomer at age 8 and never doubted my commitment. But when I realised how badly academics are treated by the system I switched in a heartbeat. It was the best decision I’ve ever made professionally.