David Dombek, Accuweather
Accuweather is a media company that specializes in weather information. They have a global focus, and do detailed weather forecasts for thousands of clients world wide with a very wide range of interests, and also reach millions of people through the Internet, cell phones, etc.
The vast majority of company meteorological staff have a Bachelor's degree with a handful of Master's degree holders. They do not have opportunities in meteorology for those with Associate's degrees and generally do not hire PhDs. There are, however, opportunities in other parts of the company for people with other degrees.
Desirable Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Geoscience knowledge and skills
When they are hiring, they hire meteorologists for their forecasting department. The company always tries to hire candidates who have a love and passion for the weather, have demonstrated superior weather forecasting skills, good communication skills (both writing and speaking), a positive, can-do attitude, good work ethic, the ability to work as part of a team, etc.
Other skills and abilities
Some other skills they look for when hiring meteorologists are: Strong communication skills, computer programming and GIS knowledge and experience, being savvy with business and the markets, leadership skills, exceptional broadcasting talent. Working as a team and moving forward as a cohesive unit with the same goals in mind is also important. As a member of a team, forecasters need to be willing to help out wherever and whenever possible.
Attitude and drive are large contributors to success for new employees. They should be willing to get outside their comfort zone and contribute productively and assertively during group discussions.
What do you see as future trends in your workforce?
If we do our job well in making sure we hire the right people, then the quality of the staff will get better and better over time.
What can higher education do to prepare students for these future trends?
Teach students to think about how the "real world" works! We hire people with a meteorology or atmospheric science degree. That is a very technical field. However, when communicating with the average "Joe" or "Jane" Q. Public, you have to be able to communicate in a simple, logical, understandable way. That is a huge challenge for kids coming right out of school.