Top Tips for Landing a Career in the Space Industry
From a young age, we are taught to admire those in the space industry. You may even remember sitting around the TV with your family, watching the many interesting and exciting developments that space industry professionals have uncovered and achieved. Whether it’s being part of a successful moon landing or helping to develop new technologies that will allow humans to travel further into space than ever before, working in space technologies sounds pretty cool.
However, it can be difficult to get into the space industry, but don’t let that stop you. Instead, try these top tips to land yourself a career in the space industry and the job role of your dreams.
Do Your Research
If you want a career in the space industry, you need a good understanding of where space has been, and where it is going. Stay informed about the latest trends and developments by reading space industry publications, attending conferences in the area you want to work in, and networking with other professionals, both in real life and via social media.
This will not only improve your knowledge, but it can help you identify potential career opportunities or gaps in the space industry market that you could fill. Here’s a roundup of the top 44 Twitter accounts for space and astronomy fans to get you started.
Gain Qualifications in a Relevant Field
As the space industry is difficult to conquer, you will need relevant qualifications and education to even be considered for the role of your dreams. The space industry requires a diverse set of professionals, including engineers, physicists, entrepreneurs, computer scientists, and even social media professionals.
It can be very beneficial to study and get involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) classes. A background in STEM is well sought after in the space industry, so look at ways you can develop these further. Whether you take a degree in one of these fields, or a late-night college course or certificate, adding STEM to your education is a major plus.
You will also need a degree in one of the many relevant fields listed above, so you can gain foundational knowledge of the subject. If space is what you want to get into, find a university that has course material around space, or an optional course module where you could choose to focus on space, especially in your dissertation. This will make your resume and education stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs later down the line.
Develop Your Technical Skills
The space industry requires a strong technical background in its employees, so you should continue to develop your technical skills through personal projects, online courses, and coding programs. Pursuing further education outside of your work and degree will show commitment to your goals, which is another way you can stand out when applying for jobs.
For instance, those in the space industry need to know programming languages, such as C++ and Python. It would be beneficial to teach yourself or take a course in these programming languages if you want a career in space-related software development.
Build a Solid Space Network
Just as with any other industry, who you know and how you show up to others matters. Create an excellent LinkedIn profile, highlighting amazing qualifications and courses that you have completed on the side so that any space industry professional will be impressed. This is a great way to connect with space industry professionals, including those also looking to get into the field.
Connecting on LinkedIn is a great way to learn more about upcoming roles, job fairs, and networking events. As well as networking online, be sure to attend space industry events and strike up a conversation with other professionals. Be confident and have a range of topic ideas in your mind to discuss.
If you are attending a university with alumni that work in the space industry, be sure to get in touch with them, asking for advice. Put yourself out there; as long as you are polite and professional, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Building professional relationships and connections with people in the space industry will give you valuable insights into the field.
Participate in Internships
Every professional needs to start somewhere and often the best way to break into the space industry is through an internship. Not only will this develop your skills further in the field, but you will also get hands-on experience working in the industry and networking with professionals. There are plenty of space industry internships and fellowships to keep an eye on.
These internships can be highly selective, so you need to do all you can to stand out from the crowd. Check out summer internships that are perfect for college and graduate students who are passionate about the space industry. If you do get a place, show up as your best self and go out of your way to impress. Making a lasting mark as an intern could be your way into your dream space industry job.
If you are struggling to get into an internship program, search for ways you can volunteer with relevant organizations. This may mean juggling a job, college work, and volunteer time, but it will prove that you are a hard worker and can do anything you set your mind to.
Become a Space Entrepreneur
A space entrepreneur is an emerging profession within the space industry. The private space sector goes far beyond just mission control and astronauts, meaning many space professionals are self-starters that had an idea in mind and the determination and skillset to make it happen. Space entrepreneurs are simply entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the space industry rather than hospitality or retail.
Becoming a space entrepreneur requires a combination of skills and knowledge across various fields. You will need technical expertise in the area you want to go into, an understanding of the technical aspects of space exploration and the ability to apply this knowledge to develop innovative products or solutions.
You will also need everything that a good entrepreneur has, i.e., business acumen, leadership and networking skills, and creative problem-solving skills. If you want to become a space entrepreneur or believe you are already on your way to making this happen, you should definitely give the Space Foundation website a browse.
Just like many industries, the space industry is very competitive. It can take many years to get into the role of your dreams, so you should use this time to continue to develop yourself personally and professionally. Stay persistent in your job search and apply for as many opportunities as you can, even if you face rejection.
With so many career options available, from computer science to technical writers, there is a role in the space industry for anyone who has the mindset, skills, and education. Do plenty of research into the space industry and the field you want to pursue, gain relevant qualifications, and network.
Develop technical skills that could assist in your job role and impress potential employers and participate in internships or volunteer work. If you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you could even become a space entrepreneur. However you do it, stay persistent and true to your goals and you will get there.
By following these top tips, you are already on your way to becoming a professional in the space industry, you just need the determination and persistence to succeed.