Fresh AJ Interview: How to Pivot outside of Meteorology–Part 217 Nov , 2011 | 1
In Part 1 of my interview with Matt Mosbacher, we took a deeper look into the world of weather consulting (Read Part 1 here). In Part 2, have a look at what Matt is doing now with his meteorology degree and how he was able to pivot outside of meteorology.
What made you decide that you wanted a career change?
For me, meteorology has always been a passion, and is something I will always be passionate about. Although I did recently change jobs, and my primary role now is not dealing with weather forecasting; I am working in a software development environment for Aerospace/Aviation, helping clients make sense of large & disparate data sources. This is something any consulting meteorologist can relate to! Weather is still a hobby for me, and may some day return to the forefront of my career, but at this time, I am focusing my career energies on developing peripheral skills in customer-facing engagements, understanding new and emerging technologies, and developing a stronger background in aviation/aerospace. Who knows, maybe someday my meteorological skills will be called upon in this new role. I like to think of this a career pivot’ rather than a career ‘change’. Ultimately I hope to work weather back into my daily diet.
What are you doing now and what skill sets from meteorology do you utilize on a daily basis?
I am now working with Associative Memory Technology in the Aerospace/Avionics field as a Data Analyst. It sounds like a far cry from the world of Meteorology but really this field is similar to weather forecasting than one might think. Associative memory applications utilize applied mathematics (remember Linear Algebra & Vector Calculus… ) to help leverage large piles of disparate, unstructured data (kind of like weather observations) to ‘remember’ what happened in the past. I help develop the advanced programming algorithms which ‘teach’ the system how to use and apply this experience, and voila, predictive processes emerge. That explanation may be a bit nebulous to some, but at the end of the day if you break down the process of developing a weather forecast, the procedure is similar.
What advice would you have for a mid level career professional who wants to switch careers and is stuck?
Switching careers is tough. I think for many (myself included) meteorology is really a labor of love, and something you have to be passionate about; so choosing to deplane from that career-course was difficult. I would advise anyone thinking about changing careers to really evaluate what it is that they love about weather, and to think critically about what other skills they have gained from working in meteorology. This may come as a shock to many, but outside of the ‘weather world’ few employers care about (or even understand, much less) what a 500mb chart is, or how accurate of a forecaster you are. In our microcosm of the workforce these things speak volumes, but outside of that small space it need-not apply. By articulating the thought-process of developing a forecast, emphasizing skills in communication, and public speaking where applicable; will do far more for your career transition than highlighting a spot-on precision snow forecast.
Do you miss forecasting?
YES. I find myself still following the weather routinely. Old habits die hard I suppose. I doubt I’ll ever lose interest in weather forecasting. I still like sending my hiking and skiing buddies weather updates and forecasts before the news stations or NWS put theirs out, just to keep things fresh.
What would you say that you have learned in your career thus far?
Always look forward. Build upon your past experiences and think about how you can apply what you know. Weather forecasting and meteorology are highly specialized skills that when applied properly can generate good return on investment for a diverse set of industries. It’s easy to become complacent in any job, but if I’ve learned anything thus far; it is to keep applying yourself and your skills in new and unique ways. You may not know exactly what direction it will take you, but it somehow makes sense when you’re looking back.
Thank you Matt! It’s been a pleasure interviewing you and I’m sure our readers have learned a lot from your journey thus far. I think it’s awesome you are finding ways to utilize your meteorology degree outside of the “weather space”. I wish you the best in your future and good luck! If you have any questions or comments for Matt, please feel free to use the comment box below. Thanks!