Whether you’re selecting your first career or making a career change, do a thorough self-assessment to determine what RE job is most suitable for you and what skills you’ll need to learn. The clearer you can be about your current skill set and the direction you want to go, the easier it will be to choose the most appropriate training route.
Determine your transferable skills. Dissect each job you’ve held and any life experiences you’ve had (volunteer work, hobbies, sports, etc.) to determine what skills you’ve accrued. Chances are, even if you’re entering the work force for the first time, you have some skills that will transfer to a job in solar energy. An information technology specialization or knowing how to do Web site coding, for example, might be useful in the design of data-monitoring systems.
Gauge your interests. Be realistic about your likes and dislikes regarding various activities. If you do not like heights, then becoming a PV system installer is probably not the best vocation for you. Roofers, already familiar with waterproofing and fall protection, typically make excellent candidates for installation of PV modules and mounts. If you’re detail-oriented by nature, then you might find your calling as a project manager or an energy efficiency auditor.
Consider your priorities. Take an inventory of the job characteristics that are most important to you—autonomy, security, interpersonal relations, helping others, work schedule, salary, and work environment. Your personal preferences will help you narrow job options and focus on your most appropriate opportunities.