Dorte Thrige Plauborg is an officer (fuldmægtig) at the Danish Tax Agency, debtor controlling and financial accounting section. She graduated from Aarhus University, Department of Physics and Astronomy with a master’s degree in physics.

Please give a short description of the work you do in your current position.

  • I extract and analyze data regarding every debtor that appears in the accounting system of the Danish Tax Agency. From this data I produce several analyses, lists and statements in order to monitor and follow the development within the different parts of the holding. Besides this, I also spend a lot of time optimizing and developing both these and new queries.

How do you use the skills you learned as a physicist or engineer in your work?

  • I mostly use my data skills, which are highly developed during the physics studies. Here I learned how to handle huge amounts of data, how to maintain an overview, how to program, how to read code, how to extract the exact information that is needed from a dataset, and how to present data. I also use my problem-solving skills, which are also highly developed from the many hours spent on solving crazy physics problems – both theoretically and experimentally.

What made you decide to pursue a career in the public sector?

  • It was mostly a coincidence that I ended up in this job. At the time, I had been teaching at two different high schools but found that it was not what I expected it to be. I decided to quit and move back to my hometown in West Jutland, where I expected it to be hard to find a job. By chance I came across a job posting in which I could see myself. I was well aware that I did not have the financial background, however the skills that were listed and desired did apply to me, which made me decide to write an application.

What motivated you to study physics or engineering in the first place?

  • A curious mind. I have always wanted to know how things work and how everything is connected. I have never been satisfied with the easy explanation, and so I had to study in order to get and understand the hard one.

What advice would you give to young people (in particular women and minorities) who would like to pursue a career in the public sector?

  • This applies not only to the public sector but to every industry. My best advice is to be open minded. You learn so much more than just physics during your studies, and it is just as likely that your career will lean on all those skills you get ‘’on the side’’. Also have in mind that you are extremely versatile as a physicist. There is plenty of time to pursue different dreams and careers, so be patient.