Career Focus – eSports Industry

What do you think of when you hear eSports? If you’re not in the computing or gaming world, maybe not much. In this article, Marcus Clarke from Computer Planet shares some insight into the range of careers options available in the eSports industry? Enjoy!

Climbing the career ladder is no small feat. Luckily, the modern world has created a new industry for jobs within the eSports market. This multi-million dollar  industry revolves around competitive video games that are played online and streamed to thousands of fans internationally. The industry is becoming lucrative and is opening to not only professional gamers and tech-savvy roles, but also for typical career roles in finance, marketing and design.

#CareerChat – Finding Your Creative and Innovative Spark

 

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Image source – http://www.wethinq.com

To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.

 Albert Einstein

Creativity and innovation are key tools integral in growth of any business which has a long term strategy. In my consultancy roles for small, medium enterprises (SMEs) I quickly learned how cut-throat the business world is and how much creativity and innovation is needed for the businesses to thrive or even survive. The ability to create and innovate whilst integral to business is at the core of science and informs the everyday research and scientific developments we have observed through time.

In the UK, the government has identified innovation as an important factor in growth and sustainability and as a result has created several schemes to encourage creativity and innovation. These schemes are meant to link businesses with each other or with academic institutions to harness ideas and turn them into marketable products. Examples include the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP), Invention for Innovation (i4i) and from a global perspective, the Global Innovation Fund aimed at providing grants to transform the lives of people living in poverty. For anyone looking for innovative projects, I often recommend the KTP as it is a superb route to innovative funded postgraduate degrees which also gives experience working with an industrial partner.

What I find particularly odd and often worrying however, is that in the sciences we are always expected to create or innovate (in the eyes of the external “real” world) but more often than not, innovation or enterprise is not a core part of the curriculum. Even more mind boggling is the expectation that PhD candidates are expected to create something novel from their research or add something new to the body of existing knowledge. Going with the quote from ol’boy Einstein above, they are expected to be innovative without giving them the tools to be able to enrich or harness that creativity.

#CareerFocus – Production Scientist

2. My Career StoryIn May, we are sharing career stories from within our network of aspiring professionals! Our goal is to celebrate the variety of careers within our network as well as educate recent (and not so recent) graduates on keeping an open mind when it comes to career options! In this article, Emmanuel interviewed Eleanor Williams, a Production Scientist (Scientist II) on her career journey as a scientist in the Biotechnology sector.

Can you tell us about your educational background and career journey to date?

I did my degree in Forensic Biology then I continued further into a master’s degree in Molecular Biotechnology then stayed on and worked as a research assistant at the University of the West of England, before moving into a role in industry. I now work as a production scientist, in the manufacturing side of things making reference standards for cancer research.

How did you get into this field?

I never really loved science that much even though I did well at it throughout school, and it wasn’t until I did my A level biology that I developed more of an interest in the sciences.

You are currently a Scientist II. What does this mean?

When I applied to join my current company, I started out as a Scientist I and was promoted to Scientist II. What this entails is that I do some similar work to what I did as Scientist I but with more responsibilities; delegating work to junior members of the team and liaising with external organisations more. Hopefully after this, I will be able to progress further as a Senior Scientist.

#PhDchat – So you want to do a PhD?

PhD-DegreeAs academics, we routinely come across students – undergraduate and postgraduate – enquiring into how they can get into a PhD programme. Our advice is always the same, do your research! In today’s #studentchat, Mohammed shares some advice for undergraduate students contemplating undertaking a PhD.

Research is fun! Contrary to popular belief, it is much more than hours on end based in a laboratory carrying out monotonous work. It is a much more wholesome and rewarding experience but it is not without its challenges.

I have been fortunate to be involved in research prior to undertaking my undergraduate degree. Now you may wonder, why burden oneself with extra work, isn’t working towards a first or a 2:1 enough? A decade ago, the answer to that question would have been yes. However today it is almost impossible to get into a PhD programme without some form of research experience under your belt. With this in mind, I encourage other undergraduate students to look out for opportunities to carry out some type of research from the beginning of their studies. You may be thinking, “I don’t want to do a PhD, let me get out and make some real money!” There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and no one should do a PhD if they do not really want to do it.  However, for those interested, remember that research in itself can equip you with a range of transferable skills that are highly sought after by different employers.

#UniChat – “From the Equator to the North Pole” – Studying Medicine in Ukraine

imagesEvery year, thousands of students leave their countries to progress their education in lands unknown. In recent years, increasing tuition costs in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK and US have increased the popularity of seeking education in other countries including non-English speaking countries. In today’s post, Emmanuel caught up with Dr Oge Ezeoke, an intern at a teaching hospital in Nigeria, who completed a medical degree in Ukraine. Oge discusses her experiences and challenges of being an international student in Ukraine and offers some words of advice for anyone considering studying medicine in Ukraine.

APH: Why did you choose to study in Ukraine?

OE: Most people ask me why I went all the way to Ukraine to study medicine. I think the best answer would be, I didn’t. After graduating from high school, I applied to different Nigerian universities without luck and I decided to look outside the country instead of staying at home waiting. I applied to one university in Ukraine and I got accepted.

APH: How were your early experiences and what challenges did you encounter?

OE: I arrived in Ukraine without knowing a single individual. I had no friends or relatives over there. It felt like landing on the moon. At first I was unhappy because I was so far away from home, but I was also afraid because I had never lived on my own. After settling down and completing my registration, I faced my first challenge, the language. My program was taught in English but once I left the classroom, I was on my own. I had to walk around with a translator, usually a foreign student like myself who could speak the language. So let’s say I was independently dependent, and that motivated me to learn the language.

Another challenge was the weather. That was quite a challenge going from the equator to the North Pole.

“Maybe if I had slept in a cold room for a month before going to Ukraine I would have been better prepared for it.”

But my toughest challenge of studying in Ukraine was the racism. At first, I didn’t have a problem with the way people stared at me or my friends, probably because we stared back. But as I began to understand the language, I started to hear the side remarks and the insults. Luckily I was never physically attacked because ladies were told to always walk in pairs and not to stay out late. It was difficult but in a way I appreciated it and after some time it got easier and I learnt how to accommodate it.

APH: Were there any good points?

OE: There were a lot of interesting and new things I enjoyed while I was there. I learnt a new language. I also leant how to cook Indian and East African cuisine. I got to travel and visit new places within the country.

I enjoyed the organization and how orderly things were. I’m not saying things in my country are not organized, it was just nice to have a different feel altogether. A couple of my friends enjoyed the way things were done over there and decided to stay back and further their studies. I thought about it, in fact I almost considered it. But I needed a lot more practical experience and I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied staying back in Ukraine.

My school was good for the theoretical knowledge but not for the practical one. I wanted to believe that was because there were so many foreign students and most of the local patients we interacted with in the hospitals sometimes got “overwhelmed” by our presence in the sense that they weren’t too comfortable with the idea of being examined or touched by a foreigner. I believe this was a general thing in most of the universities in Ukraine. And it affected how much practical skills we got to learn or apply and the effect of that was seen when I got back home for my internship. But I was still grateful for the whole learning process.

APH: What can you say about the occasional negative impression about medical studies in Ukraine?

OE: While I was in Ukraine, I heard a lot of things that were said about people who went to study in Ukraine. There was this general idea that only “spoilt children” were sent Ukraine and all we did was go clubbing and become musicians. Now, that isn’t entirely true. Everyone is free to do what he or she wants to do. If someone decides to go to school and study till they drop, their choice.

Medical students back in Nigeria also felt it was a waste of time studying abroad because the “medicine” was different. This is completely wrong! Practicing back in Nigeria has shown me that medicine is basically the same everywhere. The only difference would be that we tend to pay attention to the diseases or conditions which are most common or have the highest incidence in our own environments.

“…medicine is basically the same everywhere. The only difference would be that we tend to pay attention to the diseases or conditions which are most common or have the highest incidence in our own environments.”

APH: What would you say about other students taking the same route you did?

OE: I know right now most parents wouldn’t want to send their children to Ukraine considering the ongoing tensions and the political crisis in the eastern part of the country. This however did not affect the western part of Ukraine.

APH: Any last words about your experience?

OE; Studying in Ukraine was a wonderful and life changing experience for me. I learnt so many things and I also believe it made me a bit more focused. So if anyone is interested in studying Medicine in Ukraine, I would advise the person to go ahead. It’s not as expensive as other medical schools in Western Europe or Europe as a whole.

If you don’t have a problem with the weather or racism, then it’s ok to study in Ukraine. Plus, if you would like to simply get a degree in Medicine and further your career in a different geographical location then it isn’t a bad idea. The reason is the postgraduate programs in Ukraine, in my opinion presently doesn’t benefit foreigners because of the struggle to acquire practical skills. All in all, it is still a wonderful place to study medicine.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share and subscribe to our network! To find out more information about studying abroad or choosing a course to study at University, do get in touch with us. If you have an article you would like to share with our readers, please contact us – info@aspiringprofessionalshub.com

No Work Without Experience, no Experience Without Work! – The Catch 22 for New Graduates.

354ed3f Dear Aspiring Professionals Hub,

I have just read your article about life science graduates on LinkedIn and would like some advice. I have just graduated with a first class degree and I am struggling to find work as I do not have enough experience! I was wondering what you would recommend as every job I get declined from is because I lack the experience – which no one has yet offered to give me!

I can relate with the frustration in the email above. Getting into your first graduate job may feel like an uphill task especially in today’s employer’s market. Research published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in 2014 showed that 66% of the 18,000 recruiting employers surveyed rated relevant work experience as being a critical or significant factor looked for in candidates. Experience was deemed to be slightly more important than qualifications. Interestingly and disappointingly, only about 40% offered some form of work placement while only 20% engaged with schools, colleges and Universities to provide work-related opportunities! Candidates with relevant work experience on their CVs will be more attractive than those without, it is a truth we must accept and live with.

If you are still at University – especially a final year student – ensure getting relevant work experience is a top priority. We usually advise undergraduates to undertake sandwich programmes  – where a year of work placement is ‘sandwiched’ in between your studies – where appropriate. Beyond getting the much needed experience under your belt, it can serve to demystify what the world of work is like. If you cannot afford a sandwich year, consider doing some work during the summer break. Most Universities offer some type of work placement module for 2nd or final year students, so be proactive!  However, if you’ have just attended your graduation ceremony and haven’t done this, what should you do?

Evaluate – You will need to draw on your reflective thinking skills. You may not have relevant work experience but what do you have? We tend to underestimate the knowledge we have gained and attributes/skills we have developed during our time at University. Employers know you do not have tons of experience as a recent graduate applying for an entry level position but you must be able to translate what you have learnt during your degree into something that adds value to their organisation. Graduates who are able to articulate knowledge and skills gained from their Higher Education experience will always be ahead of the game. What have you been doing over the last three or four years at University? Have you included the research project you carried out in your final year on your CV? Emmanuel recalls this point as an important aspect of a job interview for a role in clinical research at a point where he had limited relevant work experience. His ability to discuss his project with clarity and enthusiasm impressed interviewers, so if you have not given your project much thought, perhaps this is the time to do so!.

Did you start a society or club? Were you the class representative on your course? Did you work in the student union? Working as a sales assistant in a supermarket can enable you develop customer service, numeracy and time management skills. This article on identifying your skills may be able to help you in developing your skills profile as well as highlighting potential gaps. Talk to your Career adviser, they can help you polish that CV! Compare your CV with the person specifications for the jobs you are applying for.  Do they focus on experience or skills, or both?

Yep, they want experience, so what next? dreamstime_10416210_experience Volunteer/Intern – Yes, I know you have student loans, bills, etc. but do see this period of unpaid work as an investment in your future. We do have to adapt to the world as it and not as we would like it to be, unfortunately the truth is that no one is truly guaranteed a job – first class or not. Use volunteering or an internship as an opportunity to show your passion, develop your skills and network! With a first class undergraduate degree and a PhD, I (Amara) still had to do some voluntary work in a research lab after graduation when I couldn’t find a job. This gave me the opportunity to learn new lab techniques and get some lab management and administrative experience under my belt. Eventually, I was able to get into a postdoc where I had to utilise the knowledge I had gained during volunteering. I know graduation may have seemed like the end of the ‘struggle’ but hang in there. A friend who also graduated with a first class degree in Biomedical Science worked in retail to make ends meet while volunteering in a lab. She was eventually offered a trainee Biomedical scientist role in the same organisation. Believe me, it is easier getting a job when you already have one than when you don’t. Beyond, the experience you gain, volunteering shows prospective employers that you have initiative – a valuable personal attribute.

Who do you know? Who knows you? Networking will play an important role in your job search. Someone who knows your abilities is more likely to take a chance on you. Are you shy and introverted? No excuses, start by taking these baby steps. Cultivate a professional relationship with at least 2 expert recruiters for your discipline. They will share invaluable information and guess who will be contacted when opportunities arise? Do you have a LinkedIn account? Create a professional profile and start expanding your professional network. Will a prospective employer know you are actively searching for a job opportunity if they happen to come across your profile? This is no time to be shy! Start making connections with potential employers, join groups where jobs are advertised on LinkedIn. What about your lecturers? If you have developed a good relationship with them, they may be able to share some of their contacts with you. Are you a member of your discipline’s professional body? Most professional bodies will have a ‘Careers’ section on their website with useful information and tips but most importantly will host a number of events where you can network with other people in your discipline.

Work hard and persevere – Focus on what you want to achieve and keep working at it until you reach your goal. Sometimes it may feel like you are going round in circles and not progressing but keep at it anyway. Refuse to give up and use rejection as a tool for growth. Reflect on every failure and if you can do something better, please implement! Resist the urge to send the same copy of your CV to hundreds of prospective employers, always tailor it to the application at hand. Remember that the first job does not need to be the best one. It may not be perfect but are there opportunities for growth?

Good luck!

HeadshotAbout our writer – After completing a PhD in Microbiology and Food Science,  Amara is developing her career in academia – providing teaching and learning solutions in UK FE and HE Institutions as well as conducting research in Food Microbiology. Amara believes in the combined power of education, mentoring and productive relationships as essential tools for building successful careers.

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