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Examples of Astronomer Careers

Astronomy is undergoing a Renaissance, and research has achieved more in a decade or two than in the whole of previous history. The Mars Landers, interplanetary exploration and Solar system missions and observatories have been providing rich sources of information, and astronomy is in the forefront of this huge new range of exploration.

Career paths

Astronomy qualifications are based largely on mathematics and physics. These are the primary requirement for a degree in astronomy, and in most cases the required degree level is a Ph.D. with significant amounts of postdoctoral training and experience and in most cases a preferred area of specialization.

Astronomy by definition involves a lot of calculation, and most of the findings and discoveries you read about on scientific websites are based on extrapolations from very large amounts of data. These fundamental skills have to be adapted and developed, and you'll appreciate that many of the figures involved require a range of original interpretations and logic to turn data into meaningful information.

Career progression

Astronomy as a career has multiple streams - Research, space programme studies, academic roles, and various advisory capacities within these basic fields. Additional areas of study, created by new forms of exploration are also adding multidisciplinary areas to astronomy, including xeno geology, meteorology and chemistry, piggybacking on the astronomy data. Astronomers invariably get involved in some area of specialization, and it's quite common to see a lot of interfaces between the disciplines.

Actual career progression for astronomers is based on a combination of professional credentials, including research papers, qualifications, specializations, as well as access and opportunities in the various roles and work available within the field.

The nature of the astronomy profession, the vagaries of funding, and personal preferences usually result in astronomers plotting out their own course among the employment market as well as the stars. Most astronomers concentrate on specific, high-value professional areas which include their personal preferences and areas of expertise.

That's a very good strategy for career development, because it includes strong talents and high levels of motivation. Many astronomers gravitate to research and academic work as necessary developmental areas of career progression, and also pass on their skills, enthusiasm and talents to new generations of astronomers. Astronomers one of the true forward-looking sciences, and is entering the most exciting stage in history. If you're looking for a career which is truly fascinating and regularly encounters the unexpected, it's well worth checking out astronomy.