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Median income up $22,000. 26 million jobs created. 3.8% unemployment rate.

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Job Profile: What’s it like to be an astronomer?

Astronomers lead interesting and quite exciting, lives.

I frequently get questions regarding the work environments, job prospects and pay. If there’s any part of you that yearns for the night sky and if you want to know what’s out there… perhaps this post can help you figure out if this is the path for you.

Astronomers, as you may know, use science and mathematics to unwrap the mysteries of the cosmos.

Do we live in a multiverse?

Are we alone?

Where do we come from?

These are examples of some of the large problems astronomers slowly chip away at. The work is philosophically and intellectually rewarding.

So what exactly does this work entail? Where do astronomers actually work?

(Image credit: Department of Energy)

Lectures are a regular part of the job description for many astronomers.

It’s a constant battle to ensure that the next generation is educated in STEM fields to ensure a vibrant world.

Many astronomers teach things from basic physics classes (often to a diverse student body of engineering, physics and biology students as an example) to astrophysics classes. Being able to communicate and present to large groups of people is important.

Not everything these folk do is lecture though. Astronomers do research too though and this research can be quite involved:

(Image credit: Keith Vinderlande)

(Image credit: W.M. Keck Observatory)

The above two images show the South Pole Telescope and the Keck Observatory respectively.

If you want a job that involves travel and adventure, you’ll almost certainly get both in this field. You may find yourself living in Arctic conditions for months in a night that never ends (seemingly). Whenever you go outside you might look up to the Southern Lights or the Milky Way.

Perhaps you’ll find yourself climbing the largest volcano on Earth, Mauna Kea, on your way to the famous Keck observatory. When you’re not observing you’d be spending your days below in Hawaii (and who wouldn’t like that?).

Some lucky astronomers find jobs at places like research laboratories (like NASA Ames or ESTEC in the Netherlands for example) where they get to spend the vast majority of their time on research.

Sometimes these sorts of jobs can involve working on projects that ultimately forward the work of astronomy without directly being astronomy itself:

(Image credit: NASA)

Plenty of people get their education in astronomy but end up helping groups like NASA, ESA or SpaceX build future robots and spacecraft to explore the universe.

Excitingly, we now live in a time where small startups are being founded to further private enterprise in space: companies are looking into mining asteroids, building tourist spacecrafts and inflatable space stations. Anyone with the right knowledge and motivation can be a part of this amazing new space race.

So what exactly does this workload usually entail? Well typically astronomy work involves lots of math. This is our tool to unravel the mechanics of space and time.

You’ll be using calculus pretty regularly and your education will need to prepare you for it. Usually astronomers get their Bachelor’s degree in physics and then their PhD in astronomy. Some go slightly different routes but that’s the norm.

In addition to math, astronomers learn how to program so that they can send certain complicated problems to be crunched by the massively powerful capabilities of modern computers.

In fact, astronomers get so well-practiced in computer programming that if they were to ever get tired of the world of academia and research, it’s quite easy for an astronomer to get a relatively cushy position as a programmer (I love repping that some even get jobs as Disney animators).

Over all, if you want to be an astronomer expect to spend lots of time at a computer and working out math problems. Expect to stand in front of groups every now and then to present research or teach a class and lastly… be willing to get your hands dirty. You will almost certainly do some traveling. As you saw above, many observatories are located in exciting and exotic places.

What do astronomers make for money?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics in America shows that the median pay for an astronomer is about $105,000 but pay can go significantly higher than that (and can also be a bit lower).

When it comes to working from your computer (which you’ll be doing often as an astronomer) there’s the cushy fact that this can often be done wherever you get an internet signal.

If you decide to go for the (often better paying) work as a software engineer, the same often applies.

You’ll be able to make your own schedule more often than other jobs and you’ll see and learn more about the world and universe than almost any other job there is. Astronomy is a rewarding profession that demands quite a lot from you, but gives back in spades.

Good luck on your path to the stars!

(Top image credit: Alan L, Eric Hill and NASA respectively)

anonymous asked:

Hi, do you have any resources for job applications? Specifically, cover letters. Thank you 🐈

Hi :)

I do have some resources for you!

Templates:

Examples:

Helpful tips:

Common Mistakes:

Hope this helps darling, I would love to hear back from you and see if my advice was helpful for you, take care and don’t forget to smile because you’re amazing! :)
WHYYYY  MEEEEE

I swear this past week has been awful just awful. If y’all remember I had an interview with a supermarket like 2 weeks ago so they hired me as a fruit cutter and I really really really didn’t want to work there but I really needed a job. I also got calls from another supermarket and this really nice clothing store (I WAS BORN TO WORK THERE). My hope was to get a job at the clothing store and then just quit the supermarket. I had my interview and it seem like it quite really well and the girl was like you just need one final interview with the manager and the job should be yours (YAYYYYYYY). Its been a week and no call ;( so I was forced to go to the fruit cutter job and it was the worst experience of my life. I don’t want to get to into it because it was just terrible and i dont want to explain it. After 2 shifts my sister let me quit THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS and now I am once again jobless I do have an interview tomorrow so please all wish me luck and lets hope this works out. Now I need to start on an paper that was due 2 days ago BYEEEEE

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Day Thirty-Nine: I'm Employed Again!

Day Thirty-Nine: I’m Employed Again!

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Okay everybody! I can breathe again! I have a job!!

I went to an interview yesterday and it went so well and the job fit me so perfectly that they immediately wanted to hire me! So I’m starting today! YIPPEE!!

The great news is that it’s right off the freeway on the way to Jedi’s work, so he can literally drop me off by getting off the freeway, stopping for five seconds and then getting back on.…

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