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Want to work with tech and animals? Here’s how!

Tech and animals

Love animals? Next-gen vets and zoologists are seriously teched up

If you’re keen on animals, chances are you’ve considered a career as a vet, zoologist, marine biologist or maybe even a wildlife researcher. It’s an awesome way to combine your favourite STEM subjects with a genuine passion. And your colleagues? Cutest workmates ever! 

Tech and animals careers

But things have changed since the days of rocking up at a veterinary clinic and whipping out a stethoscope. Thanks to fresh tech, vets are fitting animals with wearable devices and manufacturing custom-designed prosthetics with 3D-printing techniques. Marine biologists are using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to explore the ocean floor. And it’s safe to say that there’s way more gear involved in wildlife tracking than a pen, paper and a pair of binoculars.

Cyber safari

Tech and animals careers

With cattle farmers tracking herds via satellite, it’s safe to say the skill sets for animal jobs are changing – fast. Then there are marine biologists who double as data scientists, relying on cloud-based software systems as much as scuba gear. 

Vanessa Pirotta is one of them. Her PhD research on new conservation tech sent her on a hunt for whale snot (to track health), while ditching old-school collection methods. 

“Marine scientists have traditionally used poles with collection devices at the end [to collect specimens], but this means close approaches to whales,” she says. “I’ve been investigating
the use of emerging tech, like drones, which are a great non-invasive option.” 

READ MORE: Want to work with animals? Check out our STEM + animals career hub

Creature career

When it comes to kickstarting a pathway into a tech + animals role, there are a couple of roads you can take. If you’re keen on creating the tech that a vet or wildlife conservationist might use, studying a straight-up degree or diploma in software engineering, computer science or IT could be the go. Later, you can look for employers compatible with your passion for animals – zoos, unis, vet practices, research labs and agriculture companies all rely on STEM grads to employ and facilitate the latest tech developments. 

But if the animal side is more your jam? Degrees and diplomas in wildlife conservation, veterinary science, animal science or even vet nursing still allow you to become fluent in the latest industry-specific tech. 

Then there are pathways that combine both – like a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology, where you’d flex both your tech and animal knowledge smarts. 

Vet tech

Animal scientists use so much cool tech on the daily! Here are just some examples…

Wildlife zoology + software engineering = drone tracking
Sophisticated signal-processing techniques are being used by researchers in Africa to detect heart and breathing rates of hard-to-reach animals – think zebras, antelopes, waterbucks and giraffes. 

Animal research + programming = wearable animal tech
Used to capture stats like body temp, heart rate and pH levels, wearable tech is a very real and super-useful form of treatment for vets in 2022.

Veterinary science + biomedical engineering = cutting-edge surgery
When it comes to surgical procedures on animals, the tech is sci-fi – with microchip fracture detection, laser eye surgery and 360-degree oral pill cameras all considered pretty routine. 

Career gear

Test your knowledge! Match the jobs below to the tech they now rely on (answers at the bottom of this article)

The careerThe gear
1. Marine biologist
A. Space satellites, GPS tech, self-driving vehicles
2. Vet
B.Tree batteries, micro cameras, drones
3. EcologistC. Sonar maps, submersible collectors, satellites
4. Cattle farmerD. 3D printers, oral pill cameras, CT scans

Start your career here

Technology + animals study

  • Bachelor of Veterinary Technology, The University of Adelaide
  • Bachelor of Agribusiness / Wildlife Science (dual degree), The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science (Ecology and Biodiversity), Victoria University of Wellington

Technology + animals jobs

  • Agricultural engineer: A$46K-A$173K / NZ$76K-NZ$134K
  • Marine biologist: A$44K-A$122K / NZ$64K-NZ$87K
  • Veterinarian: A$57K-A$106K / NZ$61K-NZ$116K
  • Wildlife biologist: A$44K-A$72K / NZ$44K-NZ$67K
Careers with STEM: Technology

Salaries according to /

This article was originally published in Careers with STEM: Technology. 

For more on tech study and careers, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Career gear answers: 1. C; 2. D; 3. B; 4. A

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