10.2 What Skills Are Needed in Today's Atmospheric Science Workforce? Insights from Professionals Reveal the Importance of Non-Technical Skills

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 4:15 PM
308 (Washington State Convention Center )
Valerie Sloan, UCAR, Boulder, CO; and R. Haacker

In order to understand what skills are needed in today’s atmospheric science workforce, we surveyed atmospheric science professionals including alumni of two educational training programs at NCAR/UCAR;  an undergraduate career development program, and a postdoctoral study program.  While almost all of the postdoctoral alumni respondents work in academia, the alumni of the undergraduate program represent a much broader range of sectors, including the private sector, government, academia and research. Not surprisingly, in the realm of technical skills, both alumni groups focused their recommendations on scientific knowledge in one’s field, math, statistics, and computer programming. It was significant though, that across both surveys, non-technical skills, were rated as important and in some sectors more important than content knowledge or technical skills.  Presentation and professional communication skills were rated as

extremely valuable, along with the ability to collaborate, persevere, problem solve, and in the academic realm, write proposals and papers. This paper will present results of the surveys, highlight which non-technical skills are seen as critical for career success, and propose strategies to enhance non-technical skills training in undergraduate and graduate education.

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