• Question: is your job hard and if so, what are the challenges

    Asked by knee52axe on 29 Sep 2022.
    • Photo: John Butler

      John Butler answered on 29 Sep 2022:


      Being an applied mathematician is interesting as I get to work loads of different problems with many different people like, doctors, psychologists, neuroscientist, physicist and roboticist.
      I also enjoy teaching maths and computers.

      One of the challenges is when working on a these problems there are setbacks and it can take a long time. But the setbacks can raise some more interesting questions.
      Sometimes these problems can take years to research. We’ve been working on how our brain combines vision with body information for over 15 years and we are still finding out interesting things.
      We wrote a paper for kids about which you can read here:
      https://kids.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frym.2020.00009

    • Photo: Claire Bergin

      Claire Bergin answered on 30 Sep 2022:


      I don’t think my job is harder than any other job. I do what I enjoy so I am happy to put in some extra hours learning new information or methods that I did not know before. I sometimes find the hardest part of my job is keeping motivation. I am the person who decides my work activities for the day so when I know I job I am not fond of needs to be done it’s a test to force myself to do it.

      One of the biggest challenges I’ve had so far is trying to make a weather station in a storm. However, this is not a normal thing for a mathematician to do and if I took a closer look at the weather forecast I could have probably avoided getting soaked in the rain!

    • Photo: Maja Popovic

      Maja Popovic answered on 30 Sep 2022:


      It’s not really hard, especially because I really like all the stuff I have to do (trying new things with maths and languages, writing about results, travelling to discuss my work with other people, teaching students).

      The main challenge of working at the university is that usually you have fixed-term contracts and you need a new one every year / two years / half a year or so, and this can be tiring.

    • Photo: Emma Govan

      Emma Govan answered on 30 Sep 2022:


      Just like anything, it can definitely be hard sometimes! But enjoying what you do makes a big difference. Some of my main challenges are the fact that I set my own schedule – theres no one checking in to make sure you have your work done. But that can also be one of the best things about it. If a certain task really grabs my attention I can spend a lot of time working on it.

    • Photo: Harold Berjamin

      Harold Berjamin answered on 3 Oct 2022:


      I will not pretend that my job is harder than other jobs. It has its own challenges – like any other job – such as multitasking, continuous learning, and trusting one’s intuitions.

    • Photo: Suzy Whoriskey

      Suzy Whoriskey answered on 6 Oct 2022:


      Just like every job, some parts of it are challenging and other parts are more fun. I think it’s important for jobs to have a good balance of both!

      The most challenging parts of my job are definitely the times when I have to sit with some complicated computer code or maths equations and figure them out. Usually, I work by myself, apart from a weekly catch-up with my supervisor. So when I get stuck it can feel like I’m really really stuck!

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