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Monday, 31 July 2017

How to Find a Great Career

The evolution of technology all around us is raising all sorts of interesting questions. Today futurists are asking questions about the role AI will play in research and development of new products and services, as well as whether automation will replace many low or manual labour will be performed by machines. 

These questions, however, aren’t just being asked by people interested in anticipating the next new future wave; you’re probably asking them, too, if you’re a current college student or recent graduate. Instead of taking classes for a career that won’t exist in the future or applying for jobs that are on their way out, you want to make sure that you’re taking classes that will be relevant to new and emerging technology or presenting yourself to prospective employers in the right light to show you have "the right stuff" for the future.

First, let’s take a look at some interesting futuristic careers you could be studying if you’re still in school. We’ll also briefly cover how you should be presenting yourself to prospective employers if you’ve just graduated.

Rethink Engineering

When students think of high paying jobs, they usually think about a career in computer science. While this is a perfectly valid idea because millions of computer science jobs will go unfilled in the next ten years, many future breakthroughs are also expected in the field of engineering. However, this is not traditional engineering, like electrical or mechanical engineering but fields like material sciences and biomedicine.

A Career in Material Sciences

You’ll be on the cutting edge of materials science and engineering if you focus on graphene engineering.

Since 1859, scientists have speculated on the possibility of two-dimensional
Copyright: foxterrier2005 / 123RF Stock Photo
materials, but it was not until 2004 when graphene was discovered. At that time, two University of Manchester researchers, Professor Andre Geim and Professor Novoselov noticed small parts of graphene on a piece of scotch tape used to clean a graphene stone. In 2010, they received a Nobel Prize in Physics for their groundbreaking scientific discovery. 


Graphene is usually used to make graphene sheets, which are composed of two-dimensional crystals that possess a unique set of properties. They are the thinnest and lightest object ever discovered. They are also the strongest materials ever known—harder than diamonds and 300 times stronger than steel. Graphene conducts electricity much better than copper, is transparent, and can be bent into any shape you want.

As a material science engineer, you will be able to get a well-paid job in one of the hundreds of laboratories around the world doing cutting-edge research on the world's thinnest material. There are a lot of exciting things happening when it comes to this new material, and it will transform aerospace, automotive, electronics, energy storage, coatings, paint, communications, sensors, solar, and much more.

Besides graphene, you might work with other materials. The discovery of graphene resulted in the discovery of a whole new class of crystals that are only one atom thin and that can be shuffled to work with each other.

A Career in Biomedicine

Another exciting field is Biomedicine. Biomedical engineering (BME) applies the principles of engineering and the concepts of design to research the fields of medicine and biology. Research findings will result in diagnostic of therapeutic healthcare benefits. David Belair explains why this is such an exciting field: “Biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary field, and as such, a biomedical engineer can have a range of different specialties that range from electronics, optics, mechanics, materials science, basic biology, physiology, neuroscience, cardiovascular science, and other medical-related and engineering-related areas.”

Impress Prospective Employers

If you’ve already graduated, then your focus will be on networking and showing prospective employers that you have the right stuff.

Ultimately, your success will depend on how well you manage the interview. So be sure to be punctual and impeccably dressed for the interview. Your interview needs to communicate the same message that you originally communicated in your cover letter, your resume, and your portfolio. However, during the interview, there is no need to reiterate the technical knowledge and skills you have detailed in your written presentation. Instead focus on demonstrating the following soft skills: good communication, organisation, team player, and critical thinking. These skills are important to an employer because they aren’t just looking for someone who has a specialised academic background. They are also looking for someone who will help their business flourish.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Why Students Should Consider Focusing on Artificial Intelligence

The world of work is changing, and though there are fears that AI technology will result in some jobs being lost to technology, Artificial Intelligence is bringing with it a whole host of new careers. Dr. Richard Watson, senior lecturer in electronics and computer science at the University of Southampton said, “Studying AI is perfect for students who can solve problems in abstract ways and devise new angles. But AI is also about learning techniques of advanced
computer science, so students should have a broad education in computer science before they tackle it.” Students who want to enter the world of work should consider focusing their attention on AI. Whether we like it or not, it is the future.

Here are a couple ways that Artificial Intelligence is changing jobs and work and why students and graduates may want to enter this field.

Potential jobs and salaries
Studying or having a background in artificial intelligence can lead to all sorts of potential jobs. You can end up in IT consultancy roles or learn from and grow your career within one of the big name companies, such Microsoft or Google. There are so many opportunities out there, that there is surely one that draws your interest and speaks your language. You could jumpstart your career as a data scientist, in data engineering or even in an entry-level computer programming/information systems job. Since there is so much work and money going into artificial intelligence, the payoff and benefits can certainly be well worth looking into the field for. To start, a graduate data scientist for example, earns anywhere between £25,000 to £50,000. With room for development, for both the professional and artificial intelligence space, the potential for a salary is great. If you enjoy being in a smaller environment that is quick to react and grow, a start-up could be the perfect environment for you. You can wear different hats and even find a team that focuses on delivering one aspect of artificial intelligence.  

How businesses use AI in current day
Artificial intelligence is also changing the way that businesses operate and how employees are able to get work done. Spotify, for example, aims to improve its content recommendations and targeted advertisements by leveraging artificial intelligence. Other companies such as Expert System use keyword extraction in order to work with text in a more efficient manner. Instead of sifting through text manually, artificial intelligence helps group similar content and is able to tell whether something is worth the time it would take to read. Businesses are constantly learning new ways to use artificial intelligence and being a part of this space means staying up to date with and getting to experience the newest technology.


For those who are tech minded, it would be crazy to avoid the topic of artificial intelligence, as you will find yourself left behind. It is not all the dark and dangerous artificial technology of Hollywood movies, but it is just as fascinating. As students, so many doors are open to new ways of thinking and developments. This is certainly one of those opportunities. So why not consider focusing on artificial intelligence and bring your knowledge and unique mind-set into this space. 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

UK skills gap costing UK business £2.2 billion a year

Research from the Open University has found that the skills gap is costing UK business more than £2 billion a year in higher salaries, recruitment costs and temporary staffing.

This comes at a time when the UK has the lowest unemployment rate since 2005 and many of those in work are staying put due to concerns about Brexit. Uncertainty around future immigration rules is also deterring some EU nationals from working in the UK.

The Open University’s ‘Business Barometer’, which monitors the skills landscape
in the UK, reveals that 90% of employers have struggled to recruit staff with the right skills in the last year and almost 70% remain concerned about recruiting the right talent in the next 12 months.

As a result, more than half are choosing to hire at lower levels and are using training to bring new employees up to the level required.

Others report having to inflate salaries to attract the right talent, with the Open University calculating this cost at £527 million. Those with strong skill sets are in demand and can accordingly command a higher salary. More than half of businesses report increasing salaries well above market rates to attract the right skill set. Average increases amount to around £4,150 per hire for SMEs and £5,575 per hire for large organisations.

Management roles are particularly difficult to recruit to, with 40% of businesses reporting difficulty hiring mid- and senior level managers with the right skills.

Almost half of employers are concerned about finding appropriately skilled IT workers, despite the critical role digital skills play in the economy.

The number of businesses planning to change the type of training they offer is expected to double, with 59% (up from 31%) planning to offer apprenticeships as a result of the recently introduced Apprenticeship Levy. More than half expect the Levy to reduce the skills gap in the coming year, while more than 60% view it as an opportunity for their organisation.

The skills gap is also lengthening recruitment processes for 75% of employers, on average adding almost two months, incurring additional costs in the form of recruitment fees and temporary staff.

This figure alone is estimated to be around £1.7 billion.

The Open University research also finds that 58% of employers say the skills shortage has damaged their business and advises that employers must ensure training programmes provide staff with the right skills and enable them to put them into practice as soon as possible.

Friday, 7 July 2017

2017’s ambitious and prepared graduates feel under-employed

Accenture Strategy’s 2017 UK Grad Employment Study reveals that young people feel under-resourced in graduate level roles, with 71% citing that they feel under-employed.
That figure is up from 2015’s figure of 60% and is in contrast to the increased number of graduates employed full-time in their field of study, up from 46% to 60% in the last 12 months.
The report finds that while the job market for grads is strong, the roles on offer don’t go far enough to tap graduate skills.
Accenture’s report highlights the need for employers to get an understanding of what motivates Gen Z in order to retain them in the longer term.
For example, this year’s cohort value human interaction and communication skills. And while 68% welcome AI and other advanced technologies in enhancing their experience, they prefer to interact with colleagues face-to-face. Those employers who can provide a personalised and meaningful graduate experience are most likely to retain better graduate talent for longer.
These new entrants to the job market are flexible and loyal. 85% of graduates set out to stay with their employer for at least 2 years. When a company invests in their learning and development, graduates are three times more likely to stay for 5 years or more.
54% expect on-the-job training, 51% expect formal training and 46% expect shadowing.
And while this year’s crop of graduates is also ambitious and prepared, with 63% expecting full-time employment in their area of study, 83% are willing to relocate to a different region for the right job.
Given the current economy, it’s likely that they will have to. 39% of 2017 graduates will look for a job in a different city, while 36% will commute.
Nearly 9 out of 10 considered job availability when choosing their course, with most preferring to enter fields offering long term growth. STEM was the most popular major this year – up to 41% against last year’s figure of 30%. 
82% of new graduates who had completed an internship, apprenticeship or co-op secured a job post-graduation. 
However, their salary expectations do not line up with the experiences of recent graduates. 85% of 2017 grads expect to earn more than £25,000, but only 70% of 2015/16 grads do.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Ideal Part-time Jobs for Students

Despite what it might look like from the outside, University is not all late nights, parties and last minute revision. All-nighters in the library, red eyes from staring at a computer screen too long and early morning lectures are just some of the wonderful things that come with gaining your degree. However, if you have the time to do it, getting a part-time job during university is a great idea. It is a wonderful way to meet new people, gain some valuable work experience, boost your CV and make your money situation a little easier when your student loan begins to run out. Thankfully, it has never been easier to find a list of local part time job offers. All you have to do is sign in on your computer or even on
your phone to find a list of vacancies suitable for you.

Of course you can continue to use StudentGems for freelance projects, but here is a list of some jobs that can fit perfectly alongside studies.

1. Tutor
Being a tutor is a great way to work with people of all ages, whether they are your fellow university students or others in the community. You can tutor online or face-to-face, which offers you the flexibility needed for your own studies. You’ll need to have a knack for what you are tutoring, of course, but you can also become even more of an expert on the material as you prepare for study sessions. This way, you boost your expertise and also help others learn more about a specific topic.

Check to see if your university currently offers tutoring opportunities, or have a look online to see what tips are out there. You can make a good income while maintaining a flexible schedule suitable for a student.  

2. Resident Assistant
Student halls are the perfect place to meet new people. They also offer a great deal for older students to pick up a job as a resident assistant. As a resident assistant, you are essentially a live-in supervisor for the resident hall. It can mean some late nights helping students out or putting fires out in a kitchen, but it also means free housing for you.

Though you do not technically get a salary for this position, free housing cuts out a huge chunk of your living costs. You can get some savings, meet new people and connect with other faculty at your university.

3. Working directly for your university
With all the students on and off campus, your university needs support to ensure it runs smoothly. There are heaps of opportunities to work directly for your university. Check out the website or student portal for more information. You could, for example, land a job working in a coffee shop, as a student ambassador, in the International Affairs office or in a resident hall.

Since they are strictly student jobs, the university is familiar with what it means to have to balance being a student and working. Hours are flexible and you can generally shift your schedule as the new quarter or semester rolls around. A common theme in on-campus jobs, working directly for the university also means getting to know more and more people.

4. Temp work
Outside of your university, you can find a temp agency that places people with temporary jobs. If you want to work and earn some money, but like to mix up what your day-to-day looks like, this is a great way to go. You can choose when you would like to work, what type of work you would like to do and what salary-range you’d prefer. Then if a match comes up, the temp agency will offer you a temp job and you can decide whether it is the right fit for you. Assignments can go from one week to a company asking you to stay on for another three months. It is up to you! Often temp jobs can include being a receptionist at a local company to hosting at events.

Keep in mind, getting out into the community and meeting local companies is also wonderful to help you to build your network for after graduation!  

5. Babysitting
Babysitting is a classic job, for good reason. Hours are flexible, the job is fun and the pay is good. If you have a driver’s license and are CPR certified, it is even better. You can decide to only work in the evenings or weekends, and adjust your schedule as you go. Connect with the community and put your name out there to let people know you are looking for some babysitting gigs. Word of mouth is often the best way to go to land some new opportunities, and also get matched up with families that you connect with. If you’re studying in your hometown it shouldn’t be too difficult to find families who need a babysitter. If you’re in a new city it might be more difficult but still entirely possible, post ads online and ask around.

6. Waiter/ Bar Work
Working in a restaurant, pub or bar is a classic way for students to earn a bit of extra cash during their studies. Of course, if you’re working in a pub or bar the likelihood is you’re going to have some late nights, so be sure that you are clear from the beginning the hours you are available and don’t feel pressured into working more than you can. Remember your main focus has to be your studies, and this job is only temporary. Generally you can get a job as a waiter or bar worker without experience so long as you’re enthusiastic and learn quickly. Get some comfortable shoes as you’ll be on your feet hours on end, and the rest is up to you.

It is important to get the balance right, and not lose focus on your university work. Finding a job offers load of great things, but remind yourself the reason you are really at university. While all these things are great, you have the rest of your life to work, so do not be afraid to speak if you find your hours are going up higher than you can handle.