Science is about understanding our world and how it works. The work that scientists do can help improve people’s lives, lead to profitable industries and reduce our impact on the environment.
There are lots of different kinds of scientists in New Zealand, doing a wide range of work in areas such as medical research, advanced materials development, seismology (earthquake science), ecology, chemistry and sustainability.
There are three broad categories of scientific research:
- Basic research aimed at increasing our understanding of how the world around us works
- Applied research, which is more focused on finding solutions to defined problems
- Research & development (R&D) using applied science to make new products and improve processes
Will I get a job?
Demand for people with science qualifications is generally good, but varies from industry to industry:
- People with relevant engineering and technology qualifications are in demand, particularly for R&D roles in industry
- Food scientists and technologists, environmental scientists and geologists have a better chance of finding work than many other disciplines
- There are limited opportunities for scientists doing basic or ‘pure’ science, as there is less funding for this kind of research
- There are more applied science roles available in research organisations and in companies, but availability varies significantly depending on the type of science
- Your chances of finding a job as a forensic scientist or technician are poor as there is an oversupply of people qualified to work in this small industry
What do I need to study?
- Most scientists in research roles have a postgraduate degree (generally a PhD or sometimes a Master's degree)
- You may need to have a degree (and possibly a Master's degree) to get work as a technician or research assistant
- Manufacturing and processing companies employ some diploma-qualified science technicians
Key secondary school subjects:
- Maths, especially Calculus
- Physics, Chemistry, Biology
- Statistics & Modelling
- Digital Technologies, especially Computer Science and Programming standards, and other Technology subjects