5 Attributes of a Successful Sociologist

Working as a sociologist can be a rewarding, exciting experience. From criminologists to industrial sociologists, there are many different career paths for new graduates to choose from. Students can select the specific field that they enjoy the most, or they can choose one of the careers that are easier to break into for new graduates. To succeed in any of these areas of sociology, students must possess the following skills.

1. Communication Is Key

Sociologists must be able to communicate verbally and orally. From public speaking events to writing research papers, sociologists are talented communicators. During the research process, a sociologist will often have to conduct interviews with the participants. Once the research is complete, the sociologist must be able to present their findings through a speech or a report. Sociologists are expected to work with a wide variety of social scientists, administrators, businesses and policymakers during their career. Due to this, the most successful sociologists will generally be adept at communication.

2. Analytical and Reasoning Skills

When it comes to research, sociologists must be talented at testing their theories, drawing logical conclusions and presenting their findings. Many experiments have complex results that must be interpreted analytically before they can be used. To succeed in this field, prospective sociologists must be able to use comparative analysis and historical analysis to reach their conclusions. They must be able to think methodically through complex problems like the government’s effect on culture or other issues. Throughout their career, sociologists will be expected to put their analytical and reasoning skills to use.

3. Education

While the sociologists personal attributes matter, a prospective sociologist will not be hired unless they have a degree in the field. Some research programs will let master’s degree students work as assistants, but the majority of employers will expect prospective sociologists to have a doctoral degree. In addition to requiring advanced degrees, employers look for students who are talented at math, statistics and computers. For sociology majors, there may also be job positions open as marketing professionals, social service providers or research assistants.

4. Scientific Approach

Sociology is designed to work with research studies, so it requires a scientific mindset. Students must be talented at researching and making conclusions based on the data. During their career, a sociologist may study a group’s customs, religious observances, dress and interpersonal interactions. For this to be done correctly, the student must be objective and take a scientific approach.

5. Observational Skills

Throughout each research study, sociologists will need to use strong observational skills to figure out how different groups interact. Subtle changes and differences can matter greatly for the study. Successful sociologists are able to look at these differences closely so that they do not miss important clues.

In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that sociologists made an average of $73,760 per year. While sociology jobs can be lucrative, there are only 2,600 available in the United States. Due to this, the field is extremely competitive. Successful applicants must possess an excellent educational history, work experience and the right skills to be hired in this field. With the right knowledge and experience, applicants can enjoy a rewarding career as a sociologist.