Top skills of a science technician?

Discussion in 'Science Technicians - General Discussion' started by Jimbob1988, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. Afternoon all,

    What would your top 5 skills you think are necessities of being a science technician?

    Want to keep this one serious to assess what areas I need to work on (so mind reading isn't a skill in this case even though they think we can do this!).

    Many thanks :)
    GeorgetheScienceTech likes this.
  2. Firstly be super multi-talented, experimental and passionate for Science. I have to correct you Jimbob and say that Mind Reading is definitely a skill, especially for those working in schools.:D:D:D
    Ophelia and Jaytee like this.
  3. organisation
  4. Mind reader
    Code breaker
    Handy person
  5. Nick Mitchener

    Nick Mitchener COMMITTEE

    Ability to find the on switch for teachers is one of the major specialisms for Physics.
  6. Being a
    Being a Punch Bag for Teachers when practicals don't work.:p:p:p
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  7. Sorry, but being a mind reader (or owing a crystal ball) is essential.
    I've just had an email from a teacher asking me to move some equipment to a lab.
    He had the same equipment out this morning (in another lab) and watched me put it away at the end of his lesson.....
    DR J and LeighPreece like this.
  8. What would be your top 5 'scientific' skills be? e.g. solution dilutions.

    Kind of want something to have a gauge at how much I have learnt so far. .
  9. Definitely handy person...with common sense! ( as well as 6th sense :p)
    • Microscope and ray box maintenance and simple repair (check the flex, change the bulb, clean the lens and stage etc.)
    • Dilutions including calculations not common to CLEAPSS recipe - e.g. You have 200ml of 5M solution and you need 3L of 0.39M, do the math and make it up
    • Knowing off hand which of your common (GCSE and below) reagents are suitable for what type of disposal and how that needs to look when put into classes - e.g. stop baths for HCl- sodium thiosulfate reactions, Copper oxide residue MUST come back for filtering etc.
    • Making sure you know exactly how to set up and run everything that goes out so that "it doesn't work" cries from staff are easily put down to user or equipment error and not experiment design
    • Knowing when you chill and when to hit it hard, it might sound silly but I know for instance I have 6 A-Level core pracs in two days at the end of this week so told my guys to ease off a bit this afternoon and leave some of the repairs etc. so we don't burn out by the weekend
    In no particular order
  10. in no particualr order:
    hands on
    My top five:
    1. Know your kit with time you will get to know how all your kit works and how to fix it when it 'breaks' as well as you will get to know which kit is best to get when you need more/new kit
    2. be hands on not only do you need to know how something works you need to know how to set something up. Its more than likely you will end up being the person who has been there for years and so will be the only person who knows 'stuff'. Useful in schools with a high turn around of teachers.
    3. be an inventor you need to be able to not only build new 'custom' kit but also be able to modify what you have. I tend to make/ improve items to with stand being used by heavy handed students or that can be easily reset for another lesson.
    4. be the departments devils advocate Sometimes there needs to be that person who will keep an eye on the daily goings on in the labs. The HOD may be the 'one in charge', but the technician(s) are running the place.
    5. learn to say NO Thats NO spelt N O not Y E S
  11. That comes down to your team; only had two that didn't work here so far, both times myself and a couple of the teachers stood and tried to figure it out (1 for 2 as it stands, whatever we did those potatoes would not power a thing!)
  12. Techitude

    Techitude COMMITTEE

    You only need 1 skill to be a technician, it's one that if you have it everything else follows suits. It's the most important thing to look for when hiring new's......

    Helen J likes this.
  13. OMG yes and willingness to learn!
    Ophelia and Alex Craig like this.
  14. Lateral thinking seems to be the most important skill, here.
    Ophelia likes this.
  15. Ability to multi-multi task
    Forward planning (and backwards when they forget what they have planned the week before)
    Expect the unexpected (literally anything can happen, daily)
    Problem solving (that's technical problems, not the staffs' personal problems)
    Diplomacy (when they do your nut in)

    Well, for me, 4 out of 5. Not bad :rolleyes:

    Seriously though, Jimbob, the 5 most useful skills in no particular order, in my opinion (if you have to work over the 3 disciplines, which a lot of us do):

    Checking equipment when it comes back in (saves a lot of time when it goes back out again)
    Excellent organisation and forward planning skills (essential for those inevitable lesson clashes)
    Solution concentration calculations (when I discovered M1xV1=M2xV2 [old tech wasn't very helpful] it was like having all my Christmases and birthdays at once)
    Sourcing and trialing new (improved) methods. (Microscale chemistry is one of the things I'm trying desperately to promote here, unfortunately HOD is resistant)
    And not panicking. Over anything. Teacher's last minute requests - pretend you are a builder or mechanic - long slow intake of breath through the teeth, followed with either 'not possible, not enough time' or 'this is gonna cost you'
    Ophelia, LAJ392, Dave T and 2 others like this.
  16. As much as I agree with your post, it also depressed me at the same time because of how true it is lol.
    Ophelia likes this.
  17. AKA Thinking ouside the box!:)
  18. They are the basics.
  19. Yes, I guess what I will re frame this as, is what skills are requirements for us technicians as it were?