Water modelling is a career that can see you working in a range of different organisations, from government policy and planning at state or local levels, through to consulting firms, universities, and NGOs.
Like any career development move, those seeking to enter into water modelling professionally will need to have sufficient qualifications and usually some relevant experience. Water modellers also require the ability and desire to learn a range of different skills and techniques, and acquire knowledge around different water modelling approaches. Having a relevant professional network also helps.
How can you develop the skills and knowledge you need to work in the water modelling and water modelling use sector, and how do you build your professional network?
We know from senior and experienced water modellers that there is no single uniform path to follow, to develop a career in the sector.
Some do a bachelors degree, quite often in a quantitative or engineering discipline, before gaining some modelling experience professionally. Many complete a masters degree or PhD with a strong modelling focus. Others go from their bachelors degree, or masters degree, where they have acquired basic modelling skills, straight into professional practice, where they gain practical experience in different techniques and approaches.
A related masters-level qualification is the most common qualification for water modelling, although not needed to enter into your first water modelling job. PhD-level qualifications are not uncommon, but are not necessary for a water modelling career.
There are such a broad range of modelling approaches and techniques that job rotations and movements are important to gaining sufficient breadth of experience and to develop robust critical skills and abilities.
This is also true of the processes that modellers try to represent – in complex water systems there can be many different processes that have to be learned about. Exposure to a diversity of practical work experiences is essential to being able to best navigate such complexity.