My Education: BA in Psychology, NCSU
My Prior Experience: I worked as a Research Assistant at NCSU for 3 years, in 3 different labs
My Company: I work for a university
Job/Career Overview: My duties typically include data analysis. This primarily includes analyzing and interpreting data from online questionnaires. The end goal is to get something I can publish or present at a professional conference.
A typical day right now is to go look over results and write up papers based on them. Other "typical days" include going over columns and columns of numbers. A "typical day" varies greatly based on what has to be done.
I work in a psychology research lab. Our lab has various things to work on, but I also work on side projects with lab resources. So, our lab will work on data collection, which can take up to two years for a given project. All data from this project will be in the form of columns of numbers. We then have to interpret this data. To do this, we read over past research to see if our data matches theirs. If it doesn't we explain why it doesn't. When we are finished, we either present our research at professional conferences, or publish it in professional journals.
I rate this career 9 out of 10.
I really love my job because, as a researcher in human behavior, I get to understand how people work. Whenever I find a new piece of data, I've essentially discovered new knowledge about people. That I can do that is incredibly empowering.
The 'leg work' to get this can be pretty brutal, though, which is the worst aspect of my job. It includes sitting at a computer for long hours looking at columns of meaningless numbers. It can be incredibly depressing; sometimes I question the purpose my own existence.
You should be sure that the day-to-day schedule suits you. It can be boring at times, and it might not be for you. Also, make sure that you care about the 'big picture' of doing research. If this doesn't matter to you, any amount of work is too much.
You should methodically re-check your work. Many people will be able to compliment or criticize your work, so you should save yourself embarrassment by making sure you did a good job.
It pays horribly. Make sure that you can live on a budget.