INTRO: General advice from everyone! Career questionnaires at school were quite useless. People with languages were told they could be air hostesses or multilingual personal assistants! Also some people regretted doing sensible options instead of what they really wanted. Everyone thought doing what you enjoy is most important because utlimately you can always retrain if you want and doing things you don't like is not that much fun and you are less likely to do well. NOTE that for most careers you can study anything - and there are hundreds of jobs you've never heard of that you might end up doing and loving! e.g. journalism, law, business - any subject will do. Even medicine - you can retrain from a humanities degree. ALSO, do you like reading popular science books? Those of us who ended up studying science all seemed to have enjoyed reading lots of popular science books about evolution, chaos theory, space, quanutm physics etc. I certainly found them quite mindblowing and they motivated me to study science much more than anything I learned at school. If you don't find these books that interesting then I think that is a good sign that other subjects might be a better fit. Please add your experience at the bottom of the sheet. Please don't edit anyone else's! @
Gender A levels Degree (s) Current job What did you think you'd be at 16? Extra notes!
male Art Maths Physics Education (Maths and Physics) Run my own IT company. Not a clue Taught Physics and Electronics for 24 years before setting my own IT company. My best A level was Art .. and thought about being an Art teacher .. but thought it would be easier to get a job teaching Physics. Used my art skills to illustrate some science books I wrote.
Man Maths, Physics, Chemistry BSc Maths Teaching specialist engineering to mature engineers / scientists Farmworker Chose A-level subjects he found easier
Male Maths, Physics and Chemistry (1980) BSc Electronics Freelance TV Lighting Cameraperson A Cameraman! I Was really into Electroncs and Photography as a kid and really wanted to work for the BBC (which was my first job on leaving Uni) I got terrible A-Level grades but Manchester Uni were obviously deperate for Electronics students! Loved Uni and found studying something I was really interested in was much easier than A-Levels, got a 2/1. Got into the BBC where I worked my way through to being a Cameraman. Left in 2002 to go freelance and have always loved my job. Must say I've met many great people who never went to Uni, they just had great attidude, it takes people from a variety of backgrounds to make a great team.
Woman English Lit, Geography, Biology, General Studies BA Geography Executive Director of public policy & communication for a major public UK organisation "Mix of arts, humanities and science has massively helped my career - analysis of evidence and making persuasive arguments being most of my job!!"
Woman Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry BA Maths, PhD applied maths Professor of Healthcare Engineering never had a plan Just followed the work she enjoyed the most!
Woman Maths, Further Maths, Latin, Geography BA Classics, MSc Operational Research Health care research and economics Weather forecaster! It's possible to change direction. The MSc I did in my late 20s opened up possibilities I thought I'd closed off, and now I couldn't be happier in my career.
Man Maths, physics, chemistry, biology BSc philosophy & psychology, MSc Computer Science Technology journalist & research engineer at media company A writer I found a way to pay the bills in the IT industry while working as a freelance journalist, and found both gave me fulfilment
Male Maths, Physics, Chemisty, Art. [Scottish Highers]: Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Art, Music, English, Geography BSc Information Systems Engineering (Computer Science & Electronics) Business & Data Analyst / Data Scientist, AI in the field of Customer Service & User Behaviour Film Composer Although undiagnosed, I am almost certainly Aspergers and have science & creativity in equal measure, (probably can be described as a Polymath). This has led to lifelong torment over job role and many internal conflicts. All throughout my teens I was mad on synthesisers and wanted to write film music. Parents pushed me down an IT line in the name of better job security, and I spent over 25 years securely miserable in telecoms, which included a devasating year of mental health issues. Finally found a role in a company where all my skills can flourish and can combine working with clients, creativily explaining complex things in simple ways to them, as well as working with data, visualising it, working with machine learning, studying user/customer behaviour etc. Able to combine art, language and creativity with a passion for numbers and inspiring/illuminating/teaching - and am now the happiest I have ever been.
Woman Music, Biology, Chemistry, Gen Studies Started BA music, switched to B.Sc Medical Microbiology; PhD Med Microniology Clinical Academic Fellow in Clinical Microbiology and Clinical Scientist in Microbiology Possibly writing advert jingles & playing piano in cocktail bars but generally no idea I have dyscalculia (maths dyslexia) but manage fine as a scientist with a few tweaks and technology. Don't feel it's a barrier and ask for help if you need it. Still do my music in thd community & also now using in science outreach. Would never have thought I'd be a scientist at school as scared of Bunsen burners. Be ready to take opportunities as they arise - there's no single path for everyon.
Woman Physics, Chemistry, Biology Neurobiology Clinical Psychologist Academic My PhD supervisor pointed out, as I limped towards the finish line, that I had spent the best part of three years organising dinner parties and sporting events, discussing politics and knocking on people's doors to see if they would like a cup of tea. A sound observation and led to the realisation that I was better suited to a job with a more social dimension. And to a career that I am much happier in.
Man English lit, Art & Business Studies BA Art and English Started off as a local journalist and now editor of 3 local newspapers (in Liverpool)
Man maths physics chemistry general studies BEng Aerospace Engineering MSc Computing software developer no idea but wanted to work for nasa good idea to change paths after not enjoying my degree and finding Engineering wasn't for me
Woman English, Media Studies, Early/Modern History, General Studies PGDip in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, PGCert in CBT Supervision, (CBT), BSc in CBT, Diploma in Person Centred Counselling Senior Lecturer in Psychology/Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Programme Team I had no idea!! I didn't go to University straight out of college. I took time out to work, have fun and consider what I wanted to do. I returned to studies in my mid 20s and worked full time whilst working towards my Counselling Qualifications. I ended up doing CBT as a CPD activity, have been practicing now for 11years and I love my work. I've progressed into teaching and Supervision which is extremely rewarding and is a different way of me using my experience. I'm also starting my own psychotherapy business. My one piece of advice - pursue a career in something you feel passionate about.
Man Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, General Studies, French AS, German AS MEng Engineering, EngD Manufacturing Business Development Manager working on Technology Partnering for a major Automation vendor Engineer I ended up doing pretty much what I expected. I recall a careers interview at school when I was asked if I wanted to work in a factory. For some inexplicable reason I said no. The first time I actually went to one I found it fascinating, and to this day I continue to find it fascinating to see things being made. I've had a career that has taken me to around 30 countries worldwide. With scope for adding more once Covid travel restrictions have been lifted
Woman Music, Maths, Geography BA Music & American Studies Managing Director Doctor (!) Cutting my finger and realising I couldn't stand the sight of blood meant I changed all my A Levels, and ending up doing my degree just because I loved the subjects. Started as a secretary because I could type and had no other real skills - but having a succession of great bosses led to opportunities, and never in a million years would I have considered I would have ended up where I am. If I could give any advice it is to do every job with enthusiasm; try to do enjoy whatever job you do and make the time to get on with the people you work with. It's the people you work with who make the most mundane jobs enjoyable. And don't be afraid to try out different things.
Man Physics, Chemistry, Maths & Further Maths Failed Chemistry Discrete Event Simulation Modelling (Manager) Pharmacutical Chemist Should probably have gone into engineering for an easier ride but loved the last 16 years in OR/Modelling & Problem Solving
Woman English Lit, French, History, Spanish, Physics BA History, Law conversion Now a barrister sepcialising in environmental and housing law. and also an active member of the Labour party (stood as an MP in 2015.) Felt like she had no idea at school how many cool jobs there are out there that you've never heard of
male Maths further maths physics chemistry Electrical engineering MEng Electrical distribution control systems eningeer engineer Saw control systems at uni and swore I'd never go near them due to the maths. Then realised the maths is useless as measuring the real world is difficult, and no one really cares about the response time of raw sewage(previous job)
Female German, History, Theatre Studies (and English at a later date) BA Media with Cultural Studies, MA Literature, Culture & Modernity, HNC Graphic Design (Advertising), PGCE in Secondary English (with Drama and Media Studies) I've w