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In deep: technology careers working with oceans

From protecting marine life to surveying offshore wind farms, technology careers working with oceans are as vast as the ocean itself

One of the first things you learn as a child is that water and electricals don’t mix, right? Well, while you should still keep your hairdryer as far from your bathtub as possible, technology can benefit our oceans in many ways, including helping us understand and explore them better, reducing sea pollution and protecting marine wildlife.

In this post, we explore different ways you can integrate your love for the oceans with technology, and all the exciting study and career opportunities that exist in this space. 

There’s no better time to get involved than the present!

What it takes

Here are some essential qualities for a career in technology and oceans:

–       Accuracy 
–       Observational skills
–       Patience 
–       Empathy 
–       Creativity 

Where to start

There are many study pathways that integrate technology and oceans, so it might be difficult to know where to begin. 

Don’t be overwhelmed! The number of pathways is actually a plus – it’ll help you explore different subjects and narrow down exactly what you’re passionate about.

Here are a few options…

1.     Bachelor of Technology

From AI to ‘smart gardening’ (yes, even technology and gardening go together!), this broad degree will let you focus on the topics that interest you most.

The University of Wollongong’s Bachelor of Technology, for example, includes electives like ocean engineering and ocean policy and science. With a degree like that under your belt, you’ll be on your way to an ocean tech career in no time.

2.     Bachelor of Biodiversity and Conservation / Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

Did you know oceans are responsible for about 50% of the oxygen produced on the planet?! 

Needless to say, they need to be protected at ALL costs, and you could be just the one to do it.

Macquarie University’s Bachelor of Biodiversity and Conservation / Bachelor of Engineering will allow you to delve into all things marine protection and technology. With subject offerings like electronic design and systems and aquatic ecosystems, you’ll explore how underwater vehicles are designed and produced, and how they can help marine ecosystems and ocean wildlife.

3.     Bachelor of Science

This degree will also give you endless study pathways! For example, at Flinders University, you can do a Bachelor of Science (Ocean and Climate Sciences) to learn all about the different factors that shape marine environments. Combine it with a Bachelor of Design and Technology for that tech edge!

If that isn’t quite your thing, Monash University offers a double degree in science and computer science, with majors such as developmental biology and data science.

4.     Bachelor of Environmental Engineering

The University of Western Australia offers this degree with a minor in ocean innovations, so you can learn how to use tech to make our oceans more sustainable. Talk about making a real difference to the planet!

What you could do

1.     Oceanographer

As simple as it may sound, an oceanographer studies the ocean – but they do it equipped with high-tech gear like satellite technology and sea robots to explore marine ecosystems. 

2.     Robot technician

In this role, you’ll be responsible for the maintenance of underwater vehicles and you’ll help navigate these machines for a range of projects, from exploring marine wildlife to collecting ocean data.

3.     Marine technician

These tech wizards are in charge of maintaining and restoring marine vehicles of all shapes and sizes, as well as installing the vehicles’ equipment.

4.     Electronics technician

Although this role is broad, it’s associated with conducting submersibles in the ocean, such as telepresence technology, which helps scientists view live video from a ship, and drifters, which provide researchers with information on ocean patterns in real time. 

Start your career here

Technology + Oceans Study

Bachelor of Technology, University of Wollongong 

Bachelor of Biodiversity and Conservation / Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), Macquarie University

Bachelor of Science (Ocean and Climate Sciences) / Bachelor of Design and Technology, Flinders University 

Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Computer Science, Monash University

Bachelor of Environmental Engineering, University of Western Australia

Technology + Oceans Jobs

Oceanographer $70K–$80K

Robotics technician $60K–$105K

Marine mechanic $60K–$80K

Electronics technician $50K–$88K*

Salaries according to Glassdoor, Jora, payscale.com, salaryexpert.com.

This story first appeared in Careers with STEM: Technology 2023.

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