Would you Advise your Kids to be Meteorologists?15 Mar , 2012 | 15
Knowing what you know today about the job market and where the future of meteorology is heading…would you advise your kid(s) to be meteorologists? It’s a question that I’ve been thinking about given that I have a 6 month old son.
First, I strongly believe that doing what you love is important. Doing something that you are passionate about and motivates you to get up every morning is what it should be about. Of course it needs to be practical too because what you do needs to pay the bills and bring stability in your life.
Let’s face it…we spend the majority of our lives at work so you might as well enjoy what you’re doing. It will likely make you a happier person at work and when you come home too. I think that’s the reason why many of us became meteorologists….weather is something many of us are passionate about…and we pursued it as a career.
Now let’s go back to my question….would you advise your kids to be meteorologists? My answer would be: If he is passionate about weather, then of course yes I would support him. Would I be encourage Meteorology as a career given what I know today? Probably not. This may surprise some of you but I’d rather not sugarcoat what I believe! I’d like to see some changes happen now (for the future) before I become pro-active about advising my son to pursue a career in meteorology.
Here are a few of the changes I’d like to see sooner than later:
1) Rotating Shift work burden: We know weather happens around the clock…24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And meteorologist(s) need to always be around to give weather forecasts. It’s part of being a meteorologist. However, there are a few companies out there easing the rotating shift work burden by letting meteorologists work from home a couple days a week. I wrote a post about this very topic a couple of months ago. Have a look, here. I’d like to see more employers follow these companies and ease the rotating shift work burden for many meteorologists working long hours with rotating schedules for very little pay.
2) Better Pay: A majority of meteorologists get paid very little money for the incredible value they bring to the table. I guess you can say that a lot about our service oriented fields such as teachers, police officers, firefighters, etc…but overall I’d like to see a higher starting salary so meteorologists can make a better living for themselves and have greater stability. It’s hard to fathom why an investment banker out of college makes $100-120k, while a meteorologist makes $20-35k.
3) More jobs: Given that the weather affects almost every industry on the planet, I’d like to see more companies hire meteorologists to support their operations. Not just weather-oriented companies…but large retail, construction companies, hedge funds, etc. As I’ve mentioned in my post on the “Future of Meteorology”…weather risk is going to be (and currently is) very important for a company’s bottom line. Instead of checking the internet for what the weather is going to be…I’d prefer if these companies hire professional meteorologists to help increase operational efficiencies. I’d personally like to see more “forecasting” jobs rather than programming jobs.
Also, there is some concern in the meteorological community that in 20 to 30 years computer models will take over human forecasting ability. And that companies out there are “over modeling” to a point that meteorologists will not be needed. In my previous post of “Will computer models take over Wind meteorology”…I have made the case that employers should still keep the human level of analysis and communication intact. But it definitely is a concern for what the future will bring.
Another concern is budgets being cut at the NOAA/NWS because the government needs to “spend less”. If the US continues to take on more debt, what does that mean for the future and stability of government meteorologists that are so pertinent to saving lives? I truly hope that the government has the foresight to keep the budget supported at NOAA.
I was recently asked a question on my blog about the possibility of making six figures in meteorology within 10 years. “Brock” is only 15 years old and his/her goal is to make $120k after 10 years of working as a meteorologist. Kudos for knowing what Brock wants at such a young age! Bottom line, Brock wants advice on whether to pursue Meteorology since he/she is very passionate about weather but doesn’t want to stress through, burn out, and come up empty handed in this field.
From what I have seen…it is possible to make $120K in some meteorology sectors within 10 years. But honestly, the majority of meteorology sectors…it’s very rare to do it that quickly. I’d say top energy trade floor mets along with large market TV mets are the highest paid in the industry. But there are only a handful of these folks who have made it happen within 10 years. I’ve written a post about six figure salaries in meteorology, here.
In order to prepare for a career in meteorology, I’d advise young folks to start ramping up their programming and database modeling skills. In my earlier post of “Is Meteorology turning into Computer Science”…I feel that it’s the direction we are heading towards. And as I mentioned in that same article…many of the entry level jobs today are companies looking for meteorologists who are also programmers.
Young folks in junior high and high school should also start connecting with meteorologists in the workforce right now. If you’re interested in Meteorology, I think it’s important to establish pertinent connections in the space sooner than later. I think it’s even more important to find a Mentor that can help guide your decision making for the future and keep you abreast of the latest trends in Meteorology too.
Looking back, I think it also makes sense to have a back up plan when pursing a career in Meteorology. Perhaps that is a secondary degree in another field (economics, finance, computer science, etc). Or potentially an MBA post- meteorology degree. It’s always nice to have something else to fall back on in case meteorology does not work out.
And for those folks who are interested in meteorology as a career and are in junior high or high school…make sure you are passionate about weather before entering this field. It will be your passion for weather that gets you through the bumps along the road! Meteorology can certainly be a rewarding career, but financial planning is also very important. Don’t get me wrong…the future of meteorology is still bright with lots of fascinating things happening in the space…but I’d like to see some more positive changes for meteorologists overall!
Would you advise your kids to be meteorologists knowing what you know today? Let your voice be heard loud and clear! (Photo credit: bemidji.k12.mn.us)