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Feb28-11, 06:15 PM
P: 15,167
Quote Quote by kanato View Post
The vast majority of software engineering positions that I'm finding are not like that though. They're web development jobs, database admins, applications developers, iPhone developers, etc.
You're looking in the wrong place.

Look instead at developers of scientific software packages, the developers of scientific and medical instruments, at biotech companies, aerospace companies, and weapons manufacturers (particularly, things that go BOOM). Those companies need engineers and physicists. While you can't compete with the typical computer science major when it comes to web development and databases, the typical computer science major can't compete with you when it comes to scientific software.

But the situation could be better. I've never heard of anyone in physics being encouraged to develop other skills that might be helpful for career development. I've definitely heard cases where established physicists were actively discouraging young physicists from having other interests, because having other interests interferes with their research output.
I know first-hand that some advisors can be complete jerks. However, a lot more are just clueless about what is valuable outside of academia. ("Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.")

This issue often does come up here at PhysicsForums, particularly from those who go into the deepest of theoretical physics. It doesn't come up nearly so often with other physicists, and hardly ever from engineers. Most of our members who are in a graduate engineering program tend to vanish after four years or so. No complaints, they just vanish. It's as if they got an overly demanding job in industry. Perhaps physics departments need take a lead from engineering departments rather than classics languages departments.