Careers in Science
We’re behind the weather. Not just the forecasts you see and hear every day, but world-leading, ground-breaking weather and climate services.
No other meteorological service in the world caters for such a wide range of customers’ needs. How do we do it? How do we lead the way with climate predictions from local to global scales, from minutes to centuries ahead? Science - it underpins all the services we provide. And behind our world-leading numerical models and state-of-the-art software, are our talented scientists and scientific software engineers.
Here at the Met Office, we have a wide range of career opportunities open to scientific minds. This innovative business area includes world-leading research across a wide range of weather and climate topics; software engineering and translation of science into advice and consultancy for government, public and industry. Our scientific expertise has the power to enable people and businesses all over the globe to make wider strategic decisions about the impact of weather and climate change. With world-class systems and scientific capabilities like no other, the Met Office is an exciting place for scientists, consultants and software engineers alike.
We deliver dynamic and influential projects all over the world. Recently, we used our research aircraft as part of a major international campaign to understand atmospheric processes over the Amazon. We also played a key part in the 2012 Olympics by developing state-of-the-art computer forecasting models to support the games. Every day, our scientific services provide countries and businesses with crucial advice and guidance on climate-related risks and opportunities. Right now, we have so many ambitious plans, so much new ground to break. And you could help us.
Science leads the way for us. It shapes our success as an organisation. That’s why we put such great emphasis on developing our scientists, consultants and scientific software engineers. Our Scientific Skills Framework provides a career map to show individuals the wide range of options available. Whatever your background, coming to us, you’ll have the freedom to work in different scientific fields and develop your career along the way. Variety, responsibility and progression are yours for the taking.
Whether you’re a foundation scientist, a scientific consultant or a senior software engineer, you’ll find an incredible breadth and depth of work here. From climate change to atmospheric dispersion, no other organisation can give you the opportunity to have such an impact on meteorological science. Whatever your background, level or interests, we’ve a variety of career paths within our science area.
We recognise that while some individuals will want to focus on pure research, others may want to be on the front line, using their knowledge to actively advise customers. The consultancy area of our business allows scientists to balance subject expertise with commercial acumen, to supply our customers with vital scientific information that enables them to make credible business decisions about the risks and opportunities of weather and climate change. And if you decide you’d like to take your scientific skills into another part of the Met Office like marketing or forecasting, we’ll support you with that too.
At more senior levels, you may want to move into a management position – there’s plenty of opportunity for that. But this may not meet everyone’s career aspirations. You might prefer to focus on developing world-leading expertise in a specialist subject – there’s plenty of opportunity for that too. As you progress with us, you’ll have more scope to shape the nature of your research. Our ‘Expert’ and ‘Fellowship’ routes are designed to help individuals break new scientific ground on a global scale and become world-class ambassadors for meteorological science.
What we look for
We’re proud to have some of the brightest scientific minds in the world driving our success. The Met Office offers an incredible opportunity for talented scientific individuals. Working with us will give you the chance to experience unique areas of science and technology that you won’t find anywhere else. For all roles within our science area, you’ll need to be educated to degree level (or equivalent) in a relevant subject, like natural and physical science, mathematics, engineering or computational science. You’ll be able to wow us with your knowledge but the nature of your degree won’t limit the areas that you can work in. If you have consultancy experience and a keen business acumen, there are plenty of opportunities in Science for you too.
Scientific software engineers
Technology and science go hand-in-hand to drive our success so software engineers and computational experts form an integral part of our science team. The tools, programming languages and operating systems that we use include C, Fortran, C++, Python, Perl and Unix. For entry level roles, we don’t expect you to know all of those languages but you need to be keen to learn. As a customer-focused organisation, it’s hugely important to us that you really understand our customers’ needs and develop software that exceeds their expectations. Your softer skills should impress us as much as your software skills and you should feel confident liaising with scientists to get the best results. You’re someone who works hard and offers invaluable technical input.
We look for scientists who are passionate and inquisitive. Scientists who have the ability to solve problems and actively find answers to big questions. Whatever your scientific field, whether you’re straight out of university or an experienced scientist, we want you to be committed to driving forward our global success through research and development. You don’t necessarily have to be experienced in meteorological science; you might be in the mathematics or numerical analysis field with a keen interest in weather and climate services. You’re happy to work independently and apply your scientific insight and expertise to projects. A real people person too: friendly, easy to get along with and comfortable communicating your work in a way that non-scientific audiences can understand and appreciate.
Consultancy is our newest area of Science here at the Met Office. Joining us, experienced consultants can enjoy unrivalled opportunities to help high profile businesses all over the world understand and act upon the impacts of climate change. Impressive meteorological and climate knowledge and invaluable commercial insight are must-haves. You’ll be quick to understand customers’ businesses, analysing complex information, identifying risk and helping them to make strategic decisions. A credible people person, with first-class communication, presentation and networking skills, you’ll be used to working closely with organisations and building trusted working relationships. Inspirational and credible, you’ll have all it takes to successfully influence and inform a range of stakeholders in an environment that’s constantly changing and evolving.
Locations and opportunities
On the whole, our scientists are based in our purpose-built Exeter headquarters. Here you’ll have a wealth of technology and opportunity at your fingertips. There are likely to be opportunities for you to attend international conferences and other events. For our scientific consultants, there will be regular travel. Our work and customers are all over the world, so you'll visit different locations, applying your expertise and nurturing strong working relationships.