New problems present an opportunity to apply my knowledge and experience to form a new solution. I like to look at problems in different ways to find the best approach to fix an issue or extend the system to meet a new requirement. Working with a great team toward a solution that will benefit the NWS forecasters and allow them to do their jobs properly and efficiently is very satisfying.
One of the most exciting things that has happened to me was coming to NOAA to work on applied science to advance our forecasts of too much and too little water. Working as a public servant is a big responsibility but is extremely gratifying and, let's face it, NOAA's mission of science, service, and stewardship is pretty cool.
I recently went back to school for a masters degree in emergency management. The curriculum focused on the societal impacts of weather. I really enjoyed classes on cross-sector collaboration and hazards planning, to help me understand more about how weather information is used by other professionals like planners, emergency managers, and government officials.
I keep people safe during a natural disaster and make sure my teammates know about their safety while out in the field.
If you were not able to be a meteorologist, what would you be? What other passion do you have? Seek out opportunities to grow that alternative passion through course work, club activities, and student memberships in professional societies. Learn as much as you can about that passion. Increasingly, being a meteorologist will need to be accompanied by specialization in another area, and bringing those two passions together for applications to real-world problems.
For academia, especially at a four-year institution, you must have a passion for teaching and desire to connect with students. I always look for faculty who have demonstrated exceptional performance in the classroom as well as in their research.
The world doesn't need more traditional meteorologists, but rather, needs meteorologists who also have expertise in other disciplines to more effectively connect weather impacts to society. The wonderful thing about the weather is that it impacts everyone and everything, so career options are truly limitless.
During graduate school, I worked hard to share my code, data, and anything else with the field. That led to collaborations that built my network and helped me land a postdoc position.
Emergency management or any disaster preparedness course you can take would be very beneficial! The NWS has great ties with this community, so having some background knowledge of this subject will go a long way and make you more marketable.
In our science, you really need to be able to demonstrate that you have good people skills. Inevitably, there are tense situations on the job and its essential to maintain a cool and logical perspective on the many challenges at hand. Your resume should have a way to reflect this characteristic within you and your letters of recommendation should highlight these desirable traits.
Entering the military one thing all personnel should have is leadership, GPA, and volunteering. Volunteering goes hand in hand with leadership.
Software, coding and programming skills are extremely important for individuals working in the field. More recently, data science and machine learning skills are becoming more utilized.
The best aspect of my job is the continual learning process. Every day spent programming is an opportunity to learn new tips, tricks, and techniques, and I keep a repository of code and subroutines that can be applied to future programs. Although it can be daunting I also try to keep up with the latest developments in computer science including artificial intelligence and machine learning.
My first job after the masters was with North American Weather Consultants working on air pollution monitoring and prediction, and also some work on weather modification. This was an exciting job doing field research: driving 4X4 trucks, riding in helicopters, serving in right seat on research flights—about 1/3 of my work was outdoors and I loved it.
The biggest things I look for are weather knowledge and how you communicate in person. If you can't communicate in person, you will struggle communicating to thousands of people. Also, work ethic! If you are going into this field, you have to be willing to put the time and hours in.
I enjoy sharing my knowledge of the weather with young and old, visiting nearly 100 schools, clubs, charities and service organizations each year. My "Tornado Dance" is a much-anticipated event! I estimate that I have spoken to nearly 1,000,000 children in my 40-year career!
Currently, it's all about computer science and information technology. Everyone has the skills in meteorology and climatology, but if you can't analyze lots of data and communicate it efficiently, then the work becomes exponentially harder. Skills such as GIS, programming, and cloud technologies will go a long way.
Internship. Internship. Internship. I cannot adequately express how important it is to pursue internships. College professors can teach you a lot about meteorology, but applying this knowledge in a real working environment is critical to getting that first job.
Experience, whether paid or unpaid. Take internships or many job shadow opportunities so you know what is expected in the work. Commitment in jobs. If you bounce between jobs every couple months, that sends red flags. You need to spend a year or two at the same place to establish trust and connection with viewers and to begin to understand local variations in weather.
The ability (skill) to clearly and effectively distill complicated scientific concepts in a manner that the typical business professional can comprehend is vital. It is also important to identify how the science connects to the business. Know your customer's wants/needs. How could they benefit from the information you are providing them?