Obtaining a Career as a Social Scientist

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Social Science covers a wide array of subjects which include: Anthropology, Political Science, History, Archeology, Geography, and Sociology. A social scientist studies the various aspects of society, human behavior, and historical phases to act as an advisor to the government while planning future policies. Their task involves extensive collection, analysis, and re-analysis of the data from relevant fields. Each aspect of Social Science is unique and compliments the other.

A Social Scientist's services are used primarily in the area of academics, consulting, and research for the government. Anthropologists are scientists who study social & cultural development and human behavior patterns. They review different cultures, research archeological remains and the social aspect that influences their way of life. Analyzing the various languages of the world and how they evolve is also a part of this scientific study. Linguistic anthropologists do an in-depth research of the changes in the language and how they are influenced by the sociocultural pattern. Another specialization in this form of Social Science is Archeology. This social science requires the study of remains and material evidence from the past thus drawing on an understanding of the societies from the past. This study overlaps with Historians but definitely has its own niche. These Social Scientists mostly specialize in a particular region of the world.

Political scientists have an in-depth understanding of the political systems around the world, their roots, structure of the political entities, and political relations among different nations. They research the present political system and analyze the old ones thus creating an understanding of the trends and changes over a period of time. During elections the political scientists conduct surveys to analyze the outcome and review public opinion.

Sociologists study the radical branch of social science which involves the study of society at a micro and macro level. Sociologists are social scientists that review and analyze old cultures, social institutes, and social behavior. They survey the influence of epidemics, crime, religion, technology, and movements on societies. Sociologists analyze changes and the impact they have on the individual and their surroundings.

Geographers branch out into different sub-disciplines such as Economic Geography – the study of resource distribution, Political Geography – related to the study of politics in relation to geography, Urban & Transportation Geographers – the analysis and study of cities and metropolitan areas and the Medical Geographer – surveying health systems in the specific regions. Geoscientists are geographers that specialize in different natural phenomena such as Earthquakes.

Historians research and interpret the past based on various sources of information. These could include information at a micro-level like personal diaries or photographs and at a macro-level like government records or unpublished manuscripts. They also study heritage buildings and historical sites. These scientists predominantly specialize in a country or a region.

Social Scientists need to graduate and attain a master's degree in their area of specialization. This could range from Anthropology, Political Science, History, Archeology, Geography, or Sociology. However, to seek a higher position they need a Ph.D. These programs are offered by universities and colleges. Training from archeological schools on how to archive, research, excavate, record, and volunteer for research projects will help them in undertaking research work.

Social Scientists need to have a curious mind to constantly seek new information. Perseverance is required, especially for historians and anthropologists, who need to do extensive study on a single artifact over a long period before reaching a convincing deduction. Good communication skills are also imperative as reporting, analyzing, and drawing deductions are a part of their job. Knowledge of statistics, mathematics, quantitative research procedures, and computers are essential for social scientists. The ability to use GIS technology will give you an edge.

Internships and part-time jobs at museums, government agencies, archives, and non-profit organizations are of great use.

The majority of them get hired by government agencies. Many social scientists also work as surveyors, GIS technicians, and urban and regional planners. Many with a good academic qualification also go for research or take up teaching positions in colleges and universities.

The remuneration of social scientists ranges from $40,000 to $90,000. The political scientists are the highest paid of the category. The pay packages also depend on educational qualification, geographic position, employing organization, and years of experience.

There is a misconception that social scientists perform a structured job function. The scope of their job is also very dynamic in nature. They play a key role in shaping the future of the nations by advising the government about policy making. Choosing to prosper as a social scientist is a wise career move.
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