David Parker - BSc (Hons) Hydrography and Ocean Science graduate
Current employer: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

Current job title: Hydrography Manager

Current location: Taunton

“Don’t rely on your qualifications alone. I have been involved in dozens of interviews of potential employees, and in terms of qualifications, most candidates usually look much the same. It is the extra experience that stands out.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

After graduation I worked in Ireland for a small survey company, working in ports and dredging worldwide – including several months based in Egypt. After three years, I moved to manage the hydrographic team at Halcrow, a large multinational civil engineering consultancy. After a further three years I moved back to the South West to work at the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, where I have worked in several different posts. The work here has been very interesting and has enabled me to work in hydrography on every continent, including Antarctica.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Without doubt the best thing that I have done in my career to date has been surveying the ice at sea in Antarctica while training the Royal Navy.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Get involved in the Hydrographic Society, which will put you in touch with people in the same industry both locally, within your region, and also worldwide – it gives you a great network to start with.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The degree was very vocational and gave me the skills to pretty much go straight into work with my first company. Most of my peers on the course walked straight into work in hydrography or a related discipline.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

I had a great time in Plymouth and it gave me a good starting point for my career. The University has scaled up significantly and the infrastructure has been improved considerably. I would think that in the 18 years since I graduated it has only got better for students.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

You have to show your own initiative to succeed. Those who are able to show potential employers that they are capable and reliable by the actions they have taken will get ahead of the crowd. Don’t rely on your qualifications alone. I have been involved in dozens of interviews of potential employees, and in terms of qualifications, most candidates usually look much the same. It is the extra experience that stands out.

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