what do I want to do after high school

Advisors (in alphabetical order), Career Information, Who is hiring?

ADVISORS

Architect

How did you decide which career to pursue?
When I was in high school trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, and while doing research in the small school library for a paper I needed to write, I found an article that described Architecture as a “Social Art.” It implied that Architecture was an art form, but unlike most things identified as art, it had an intrinsic social purpose, beyond just aesthetic appreciation. I loved to draw and math was my favorite subject at that point. It was assumed in my neck of the woods that if you could do college prep math, and were going to college, engineering would be the way to go. Finding out that you could actually make a living drawing, coloring, playing in the dirt; and using formulas and math appealed to me. This simple, initial inspiration for what would become a career as an architect, matured into what has been the central premise behind what makes me tick as a professional and as a human being. Fortunately now they have sessions in the Summer that high school students can attend to get a better sense of what architecture school would be like.

Where did you go to school and how did it help you?
University of Toronto. Students were very supportive of each other and staff were always helpful.

Engineer

I graduated with a BSc (hons) and ME in structural engineering with architecture from
University College Dublin and completed a post-graduate certificate in environmental sustainability. Projects I have worked on include renewable district heating systems, the strategic environmental assessment of the National Climate Change Mitigation Plan, a variety of contaminated land remediation strategies and environmental constraint studies for road development schemes.

At what stage of your life did you start to think about becoming an engineer?
Creativity and curiosity are at the core of how I perceive the world around me so, subconsciously, I think I have always been an engineer at heart. However, it was in secondary school that I took the first formal steps towards engineering. While the subject itself was not offered at the secondary school I attended, I studied science and art believing that engineering is a combination of these two schools of thought (and I wasn’t wrong!)

What were the major influencers of this decision?
At first, it was a love for creativity, design and problem solving. Later on, the prospect of pursuing a career in engineering simply seemed like a smart idea; it offers a stable platform for many careers and has a global reputation for excellence. Moreover, the skills you learn while studying and practicing engineering are transferable, and operating within a solutions-driven sector teaches you to be a critical, innovative and analytical thinker. These are highly desirable attributes in many career paths. Ultimately, I believe that engineers are at the heart of communities and serve to improve them – I want to be a part of that and contribute to the betterment of society and the environment.

How has your career differed from what you expected, particularly initially?
The variety of work, a diverse network and degree of impact are aspects of my career which took me by (pleasant) surprise. Engineering projects have the ability to impact positively at local level, but also contribute regionally, nationally and internationally. Modern engineering methods require openness towards innovation and encourage holistic approaches. Increasingly, we procure and design in a collaborative digital environment. As well, engineering has diverse applications and the success of projects relies on multifaceted teams and collaborative input. As a professional in this field, I am not just an engineer I am a planner, a designer, a scientist, a social entrepreneur and an advocate for environmental sustainability.

What for you are the most interesting aspects of engineering?
Collaborative working at the forefront of sustainable design in a fast-paced environment is definitely what makes my career most interesting. Engineering is a continually evolving sector; technology and governance move quickly and things are never stale in this profession – I rarely do the same thing day in, day out.

What do you expect to be the most exciting aspect of engineering in the future?
I anticipate that the opportunity to influence the move towards a smarter, more sustainable and resilient future within the context of modern challenges will be the most exciting aspect of my career in the future. I see these challenges to include mitigating and adapting to climate change, ensuring energy security from indigenous resources, and the transition to a technology-driven economy.

What would you say to someone if they asked you should they study engineering?
Don’t hesitate. Whether you love to crunch numbers or are more interested in contributing from a strategic level, engineering is so diverse, offering excellent opportunities for a career where you feel like you are making a genuine difference. If you are curious about the world around you and how you can shape its future, then engineering is for you.

Marketing

I worked in Marketing for the Accelerator Centre. The Accelerator Centre helps technology entrepreneurs to be successful by supporting them in the start-up phase of development. In this role, I was responsible for planning and implementing branding and marketing strategies to attract new clients; alumni relations- keeping in touch with the graduates of our program through our grad association; and maintaining communications with our current clients.

How did you decide which initial career to pursue?
I started my career as an Instructor Therapist working with autistic children in an intensive scholastic environment because of my interest in the role. Through this role I learned alot about understanding the motivations behind human behaviour and have been able to apply this in my work. For example, Marketing involves gaining a comprehensive understanding (through data collection and analysis) regarding why anyone would want to access a service or product a company has to offer and then taking that information to create a Marketing strategy which resonates with potential consumers. I then moved on to Editing, Communications and Marketing roles which were a better fit with the training and education I received, as well as my personal interests.

Where did you receive your education and how did you find this helped you begin your career?
I received my B.A. (Hons., Literature and Political Science) from Wilfrid Laurier University, and my MA (Popular Culture) from Brock University. I also volunteered as an Editor for an online journal published by the Association for Literature Environment and Culture in Canada. Although my education was not geared toward achieving a specific occupation, it did help me learn how to research effectively; prioritize my work; and edit, as well as summarize information, in a succinct manner. I have been able to utilize all these skills in each of my working roles.

Who has provided the most support to you and how did you connect with these people?
I have received support from personal contacts, as well as family and friends, as a source of encouragement and also to facilitate accessing my first professional role as a Technical Editor. Additionally, I made an effort to reach out to professors, and professionals in various fields, that I felt I could learn from. Finally, work colleagues have been a valuable source of support.

What is the best career advice you have to offer?
Don’t be afraid to reach out, and be open, to feedback from others in order to grow and learn personally as well as professionally. Also, a first attempt at anything you work on is never going to be perfect, therefore learning from others will help you to continually improve and feel more confident about the final product you produce. Finally, it is important that when you reach out to professionals (for example on LinkedIn) for feedback that you define explicit parameters regarding why you are reaching out to them. For example, have specific, rather than general reasons, as to why you want to connect. Provide clear questions regarding what you want to learn about and what you are hoping to achieve. It is also helpful to define how much time you think you will need from that person. If the person you originally reach out to is unable to be of assistance, ask if they know of someone else who can help you.

Software Engineer

I’m the co-founder of SkyWatch Space Applications. SkyWatch develops software to create a real-time feed of everything captured in the Universe. The intention is for this data to be analyzed by SkyWatch and distributed for use by professionals in various capacities (e.g. astrophysicists, astronomers, engineers). Our mission is to become the world’s number one source for all data originating from outside our planet.

How did you decide which initial career to pursue?
I initially (beginning at the age of 13) worked with my Dad in his machine shop developing assembly line automation systems for products such as Tic Tac and Nutella. I learned alot andd loved it!

What helped you to begin your career?
In my second year at Humber College I worked with a business incubator advising new start-ups how to become successful by giving advice in different areas such as effective marketing strategies. Through this I got connected with the technology industry in Toronto which provided valuable learning opportunities for me.
I then worked with a friend for two months learning how to build our own software. We ultimately built Sproutr, an online platform for entrepreneurs, which was utilized by hundreds of users all over the world. We then found out about a NASA competition for which we built SkyWatch (the winner of the 2014 NASA International Space Apps Challenge). From this experience we decided there was a business application for SkyWatch which we decided to further explore and develop.

Who provided the most support to you as you were getting started?
Family members have been extremely supportive. NASA provided support in terms of mentioning SkyWatch on their social media feeds. As well, some astrophysicists have been early users of the product and have provided valuable feedback. In August 2014 we were the successful applicants’ to Google’s six month incubation program which has provided excellent mentorship as we develop our company.

What is the best advice you can give to others?
Don’t let a lack of encouragement from others discourage you from pursuing your passion. Life principles (e.g. money management, how to connect and work well with others, respecting people) are as important to understand and implement as career advice in order to be successful.

CAREER INFORMATION

Taking a career quiz can help you explore how your interests, skills and abilities match with possible career options. This information can be used with other data you collect to help you narrow down your choices.
Take the quiz

Explore careers by Occupation- provides information regarding available jobs, average wage, future outlook in terms of jobs available, and education & job requirements.
Careers by Occupation

Careers in Trades provides comprehensive information regarding work in the skilled trades including over 200 career options that are available as well as other important information regarding supports available to assist you.
Careers in trades

 

Take some time to review what different jobs are all about. This link will take you to a site that reviews a long list of different jobs, with frank descriptions about each.

Job descriptions

WHO IS HIRING

Who is hiring provides insights into which occupations are most in demand across Canada. It is important to note that the provinces and territories tend to have different needs, and these sites reflect that. If you don’t see something that interests you, don’t become disheartened. As you collect information from the other websites listed you will see that there are many different opportunities available.

Engineer

I graduated with a BSc (hons) and ME in structural engineering with architecture from UCD, in 2010 and 2012 respectively, and recently completed a post-graduate certificate in environmental sustainability.

Currently, my primary focus is on my role as technical co-ordinator of the European Green Capital Award, an initiative of the European Commission, for which RPS is the secretariat.

Other projects which I have worked on include renewable district heating systems, the strategic environmental assessment of the National Climate Change Mitigation Plan, a variety of contaminated land remediation strategies and environmental constraints studies for road development schemes.

At what age (or stage of your life) did you start to think about becoming an engineer?
Creativity and curiosity are at the core of how I perceive the world around me so, subconsciously, I think I have always been an engineer at heart.

However, it was in secondary school that I took the first formal steps towards engineering. While the subject itself was not offered at the secondary school I attended, I chose science and art for my Leaving Certificate subjects, believing that engineering is a combination of these two schools of thought (and I wasn’t wrong!)

What were the major influencers of this decision?
At first, it was a love for creativity, design and problem solving. Later on, the prospect of pursuing a career in engineering simply seemed like a smart idea; it offers a stable platform for many careers and has a global reputation for excellence.

Moreover, the skills you learn studying and practising engineering are transferable, and operating within a solutions-driven sector teaches you to be a critical, innovative and analytical thinker. These are highly desirable attributes in many career paths.

Ultimately, I believe that engineers are at the heart of communities and serve to improve them – I want to be a part of that and contribute to the betterment of society and the environment.

How has the career differed from what you expected, particularly initially?
The variety of work, diverse stakeholder network and scale of impact are aspects of my career which took me by (pleasant) surprise. Engineering projects have the ability to impact positively at local level but can contribute to a regional, national or international strategy by offering knowledge transfer and influencing best practice.

Modern engineering methods require openness towards innovation and encourage holistic approaches. Increasingly, we procure and design in a collaborative digital environment that includes BIM, GIS and data management.

Engineering has diverse applications and the success of projects relies on multifaceted teams and collaborative input. As a professional in this field, I am not just an engineer I am a planner, a designer, a scientist, a social entrepreneur and an advocate for environmental sustainability.

What for you are the most interesting aspects of engineering?
Collaborative working at the forefront of sustainable design in a fast-paced environment is definitely what makes my career most interesting.

Engineering is a continually evolving sector; technology and governance move quickly and things are never stale in this profession – I rarely do the same thing day in, day out. The rate of change makes for a challenging and exciting career.

What do you expect to be the most exciting aspect of engineering over the next five years?
I anticipate that the opportunity to influence the move towards a smarter, more sustainable and resilient future within the context of modern challenges will be the most exciting aspect of my career over the next five years.

I see these challenges to include mitigating and adapting to climate change, ensuring energy security from indigenous resources, and the transition to a technology-driven economy which decouples GHG emissions from economic growth.

What would you say to someone right now if they asked you should they study engineering?
Don’t hesitate. Whether you love to crunch numbers or are more interested in contributing from a strategic level, engineering is so diverse, offering excellent opportunities for a career where you feel like you are making a genuine difference. If you are curious about the world around you and how you can shape its future, then engineering is for you.

Marketing

I worked in Marketing for the Accelerator Centre. The Accelerator Centre helps technology entrepreneurs to be successful by supporting them in the start-up phase of development. In this role, I was responsible for planning and implementing branding and marketing strategies to attract new clients; alumni relations- keeping in touch with the graduates of our program through our grad association; and maintaining communications with our current clients.

How did you decide which initial career to pursue?
I started my career as an Instructor Therapist working with autistic children in an intensive scholastic environment because of my interest in the role. Through this role I learned alot about understanding the motivations behind human behaviour and have been able to apply this in my work. For example, Marketing involves gaining a comprehensive understanding (through data collection and analysis) regarding why anyone would want to access a service or product a company has to offer and then taking that information to create a Marketing strategy which resonates with potential consumers. I then moved on to Editing, Communications and Marketing roles which were a better fit with the training and education I received, as well as my personal interests.

Where did you receive your education and how did you find this helped you begin your career?
I received my B.A. (Hons., Literature and Political Science) from Wilfrid Laurier University, and my MA (Popular Culture) from Brock University. I also volunteered as an Editor for an online journal published by the Association for Literature Environment and Culture in Canada. Although my education was not geared toward achieving a specific occupation, it did help me learn how to research effectively; prioritize my work; and edit, as well as summarize information, in a succinct manner. I have been able to utilize all these skills in each of my working roles.

Who has provided the most support to you and how did you connect with these people?
I have received support from personal contacts, as well as family and friends, as a source of encouragement and also to facilitate accessing my first professional role as a Technical Editor. Additionally, I made an effort to reach out to professors, and professionals in various fields, that I felt I could learn from. Finally, work colleagues have been a valuable source of support.

What is the best career advice you have to offer?
Don’t be afraid to reach out, and be open, to feedback from others in order to grow and learn personally as well as professionally. Also, a first attempt at anything you work on is never going to be perfect, therefore learning from others will help you to continually improve and feel more confident about the final product you produce. Finally, it is important that when you reach out to professionals (for example on LinkedIn) for feedback that you define explicit parameters regarding why you are reaching out to them. For example, have specific, rather than general reasons, as to why you want to connect. Provide clear questions regarding what you want to learn about and what you are hoping to achieve. It is also helpful to define how much time you think you will need from that person. If the person you originally reach out to is unable to be of assistance, ask if they know of someone else who can help you.

Software Engineer

I’m the co-founder of SkyWatch Space Applications. SkyWatch develops software to create a real-time feed of everything captured in the Universe. The intention is for this data to be analyzed by SkyWatch and distributed for use by professionals in various capacities (e.g. astrophysicists, astronomers, engineers). Our mission is to become the world’s number one source for all data originating from outside our planet.

How did you decide which initial career to pursue?
I initially (beginning at the age of 13) worked with my Dad in his machine shop developing assembly line automation systems for products such as Tic Tac and Nutella. I learned alot andd loved it!

What helped you to begin your career?
In my second year at Humber College I worked with a business incubator advising new start-ups how to become successful by giving advice in different areas such as effective marketing strategies. Through this I got connected with the technology industry in Toronto which provided valuable learning opportunities for me.
I then worked with a friend for two months learning how to build our own software. We ultimately built Sproutr, an online platform for entrepreneurs, which was utilized by hundreds of users all over the world. We then found out about a NASA competition for which we built SkyWatch (the winner of the 2014 NASA International Space Apps Challenge). From this experience we decided there was a business application for SkyWatch which we decided to further explore and develop.

Who provided the most support to you as you were getting started?
Family members have been extremely supportive. NASA provided support in terms of mentioning SkyWatch on their social media feeds. As well, some astrophysicists have been early users of the product and have provided valuable feedback. In August 2014 we were the successful applicants’ to Google’s six month incubation program which has provided excellent mentorship as we develop our company.

What is the best advice you can give to others?
Don’t let a lack of encouragement from others discourage you from pursuing your passion. Life principles (e.g. money management, how to connect and work well with others, respecting people) are as important to understand and implement as career advice in order to be successful.

CAREER INFORMATION

Taking a career quiz can help you explore how your interests, skills and abilities match with possible career options. This information can be used with other data you collect to help you narrow down your choices.
Take the quiz

Explore careers by Occupation- provides information regarding available jobs, average wage, future outlook in terms of jobs available, and education & job requirements.
Careers by Occupation

Careers in Trades provides comprehensive information regarding work in the skilled trades including over 200 career options that are available as well as other important information regarding supports available to assist you.
Careers in trades

 

Take some time to review what different jobs are all about. This link will take you to a site that reviews a long list of different jobs, with frank descriptions about each.

Job descriptions

WHO IS HIRING

Who is hiring provides insights into which occupations are most in demand across Canada. It is important to note that the provinces and territories tend to have different needs, and these sites reflect that. If you don’t see something that interests you, don’t become disheartened. As you collect information from the other websites listed you will see that there are many different opportunities available.
CanadianBusiness.com
Workopolis.com
Indeed.com