If you are considering stepping into the space ecosystem, there are a few things to understand before you get started. This is an industry filled with lucrative career paths if you have the right skills and knowledge. While it remains highly competitive, there are always routes of entry for the best candidates but it requires some dedication and perseverance to secure the position you want. Here are the best ways to kickstart your career and all the essential information you need to know if you’re pursuing this route.
Understand All the Options
Understanding all the career paths within the space sector is essential to figuring out your point of access. Here are some major categories that cover all there is on offer.
There is plenty of room for engineering professionals in the space industry. Whether it is fixing up spaceships, designing rocket innovations, or generally maintaining and improving space-focused equipment, engineers play an integral role that is irreplaceable. As an engineer, you will be a crucial part of what keeps the space industry high functioning. These are quite demanding positions, but absolutely worth it if you desire challenge and stimulation in your professional role.
Research is always necessary for this sector, and there are plenty of roles that you can go for in this area. These are highly scientific-based positions and demand a refined level of expertise to find success here. Scientific research is essential for enabling further exploration of space, and it is these people that bring about insightful revelation and ways to keep moving forward with the agendas.
IT is one of the most key parts to play in this industry because everything (yes, everything) is run on some sort of tech-based interface. Whether you are maintaining or increasing the capacity of essential programs, facilitating the communication systems or just providing helpful input to other members of the team, your job is an important one. Unlike typical IT roles, you will have to have a specialist interest in space and be able to maintain your understanding of the industry in a professional capacity.
There is always the astronaut route, of course, though this is one of the most (if not THE most) competitive jobs in the world. A handful of people make it through, and it is because it demands such a high level of endurance, knowledge, and physical fitness that there is no room for anyone who doesn’t meet the mark. With major training programs and the potential to actually go into space and perform tasks, becoming an astronaut is a dream of many.
Non-Tech Based Roles
Then there are all the other roles that keep the organization running smoothly. From operational managers to administrative support staff, no space center would be able to function without them.
Learn About What Kind of Skills You Need
Most of these roles will require a mix of the following skills in order to prove your worth and retain professional reliability.
- Logic and problem-solving
- Reading and writing
All of these areas are important because these jobs mean thinking on your feet, seeking out innovation and finding rapid-fire solutions when a problem comes up. You have to know how to navigate emergency situations while thinking on your feet, and infuse creativity with logic to bring the best possible insight into what you do.
New Space vs Old Space
It is vital to learn about what these two terms mean because they are some of the leading influences in the entire industry. New space is, of course, ventures like the infamous Space X that are undeniably leading the charge for innovation in recent years when it comes to research, trial, and influence in the space sector. These are the new players on the team who are more focused on finding new ways to reach space, and what that exploration actually means for people back on Earth. They are leading new missions, and finding bigger, better ways to access the big wide universe.
Old space, however, is the golden oldies of this world. Think back to the first moon landing and everything that went into that project, that is what it means when the term old space is brought out. The most common leading force behind old space is, of course, NASA and this is where old space companies tend to pour their efforts into. NASA is still a major player in this industry, and it probably always will be, but it doesn’t have the same core agendas as the new space companies. It is worth noting that there is an apparent aversion to risk when it comes to the old space companies, which increases things like budget and puts a dampener effect on the invention and innovation capacity.
While New Space may be perceived as leading the charge, it is fair to say that it couldn’t even exist without the impact and influence of old space leaders. The two are so closely intertwined, in fact, that there is an almost parental relationship between the two that can be openly observed.
Know Where the Best Places to Study Are
Once you have decided which role you would like to pursue, it is important to find the right place to get the best qualifications and experience. Space-focused learning programs and universities like this one, https://cie.spacefoundation.org/space-foundation-university/, exist for just this purpose. While you won’t find specialist astronaut training (this is a whole other category entirely), you will find just about everything else you need at these niche institutes. It is vital that you opt for a credible establishment to secure the best possible chance of finding success.
So, What About Astronaut Training?
There are a few official and credible establishments for undertaking the astronaut training programs. Anyone looking to pursue a career in this area is held to an impeccably high standard, and NASA (or other space-based companies) like to see at least a Masters, but preferably a Ph.D. level of education before you will even be considered. A high level of education is a given, but you must also be physically fit and be able to endure all of the trials and tribulations an astronaut must go through in order to feel like what it is really like in space. These sessions are arduous and test you to beyond your limit, but if you survive, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Becoming an astronaut takes anywhere from two years to five, and this level of training will continue for the entire span of your career as well.
Use Credible Sources While Job Hunting
The same rule must be applied to job hunting! There are lots of sites and places out there claiming to have the best routes into the industry, but only a handful are actually credible. Find the official resources and stick with them for the best possible chance of securing something meaningful. There is nothing worse than spending all that time and energy into building skills and creating movement in your professional life just to be met with a role that is not really viable.
So, whether you want to go into space or simply be a part of what makes this industry function, there are so many options out there for people who really want them. It is a career path that requires a lot of know-how and personal investment too, but the opportunities are more than worth it if this is really your passion in life. While certain roles demand more, aka astronaut career paths, there are lots of regular routes in as well that are more than worth the exploration.