Need help deciding


by tamtam402
Tags: deciding
tamtam402
tamtam402 is offline
#1
Oct19-10, 08:21 PM
P: 200
Hello, first of all I want to say english isn't my primary language (I'm from Quebec), so I'm sorry if you have trouble understanding me.

I will be attending university next year (I think this is what you guys call undergrad school in the US, with one less year since we have "CEGEP" between high school and college).

I'm hesitating between a B. Sc. in Computer vision (I think the university here is the only one to offer that program at the bachelor's level in North America, but I'm not sure) and a B. Sc. in Physics.

Does anyone have any experience with computer vision?? Is it an interesting field? I really hesitate between these 2, and while I KNOW physics interest me more, I think it would be waaay harder to find a physics-related job once I graduate. I'd like to get a master's degree at the very least (in either computer vision or physics, depending on what I choose to do), but I don't know if a Ph D will be a realistic option for me since I'm 5 years "too old". I basically went straight to the job market after high school before deciding to go back to school (I still get 90's+ everywhere, I'm not a genius but I'm very focused, I think being older gives me a certain advantage in that regard), and I'd like to start "real life" before I'm 35. Of course if I get the chance to complete a PhD it's something I'd consider, but it's not something I guarantee.

I think the computer vision path is *almost* as interesting as physics, but would I be right to believe the probability of finding a related job would be close to 100% if I pursue this field?

Basically, here are the pros and cons I see:

Physics:
1) It interests me a bit more
2) Lower probability of finding a physics-related job once I graduate (can anyone confirm/deny this?)

Computer vision:
1) Slightly lower interest
2) I think I'd rather study something that interests me a bit less BUT with the guarantee to work in the same field over studying something that interests me more and being unable to find a related job later



Sorry for my poor english, hopefully you guys can understand my moral dilemma and give me some insight. If anyone has any general information on computer vision, feel free to share it as I'm not too familiar with it. What attracted me to that field at first was the fact that I like maths and I see it as a good way to make maths "useful". A math genius in engineering might do good in school but there's less opportunity to really use these skills once you graduate, but I think someone who's really interested in maths (and gets good at it at because of that) would have a lot of opportunity to use these skills in computer vision, even in the "real world" after graduation.
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NobodySpecial
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#2
Oct19-10, 09:56 PM
P: 474
I generally think that specialization at undergrad is a mistake.
A BSc in 'computer vision' is going to be (at best) a CS degree with a couple of vision option courses. At worst it's a poor CS course that they are desparately trying to attract students to.

A physics degree, with some interest and practice of programming, is likely to open up as many software jobs as a CS degree. You could certainly do a computer vision phD with a physics BSc as a 'computer vision' one.
tamtam402
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#3
Oct20-10, 12:53 AM
P: 200
Quote Quote by NobodySpecial View Post
I generally think that specialization at undergrad is a mistake.
A BSc in 'computer vision' is going to be (at best) a CS degree with a couple of vision option courses. At worst it's a poor CS course that they are desparately trying to attract students to.

A physics degree, with some interest and practice of programming, is likely to open up as many software jobs as a CS degree. You could certainly do a computer vision phD with a physics BSc as a 'computer vision' one.
The degree is very good. Students that have done part of the CS degree at this university then transferred to the computer vision degree all agree that the computer vision course is MUCH harder, but very interesting. Basically you get a truckload of math courses (as much as the physics guys), and the programming + computer vision specific courses. People say the "other computer stuff" courses from a CS degree are replaced by maths. As for the computer vision course per se, someone in the normal CS degree could complete almost as many of the computer vision related courses as the computer vision guys (BUT they would lack the advanced maths required to do anything advanced in comp. vision).

tamtam402
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#4
Oct20-10, 04:17 PM
P: 200

Need help deciding


Is it a bad idea to do a double major program? This will make me a B.Sc in CS and physics. Both subjets interest me a lot but I know I won't pursue a PhD, I'll stop at the masters level. This is because I'm staying 5 years "late" and I'd like to settle down, get a real job and a family before it's too late. By getting 2 B. Sc I'll be able to see what really interests me AND I'll be more employable once I get my masters.

Thoughts?
fss
fss is offline
#5
Oct20-10, 04:30 PM
P: 1,185
Double majoring ≠ two degrees, which usually requires double the credit hours. You get one degree with two majors.
tamtam402
tamtam402 is offline
#6
Oct20-10, 05:10 PM
P: 200
Sorry I'm not too familiar with the english names (I'm from Quebec, and our school system is different). This university program does give two different B Sc, one in physics and one in computer science. It takes one year longer than a normal B. Sc to complete (4 years instead of 3).

Now I understand this would be bad if I wanted to be a "pure" physicists and attend one of the top school as a grad student, but since my plan is to end up working in industry or for the governement, would this actually boost my desirability?
Kevin_Axion
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#7
Oct20-10, 05:38 PM
P: 920
Yea, Computer Scientists are in great demand.
tamtam402
tamtam402 is offline
#8
Oct20-10, 06:36 PM
P: 200
Is that sarcastic? No offense.
I'm asking because I read that there's a shortage of jobs related to computer science.
tamtam402
tamtam402 is offline
#9
Oct21-10, 08:34 AM
P: 200
I really love physics, but I'd like to securely land a job in R&D after graduate school ( I want a masters degree).

Would doing a B.Sc in physics engineering and then getting a Master in a more specific branch (some part of electrical or mecanical engineering) be a good idea?? Should I even bother doing physics engineering and directly go to electrical and mechanical engineering instead?
physics girl phd
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#10
Oct21-10, 01:41 PM
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I've written a few notes before on physics undergrad to engineering masters, and the big question to consider is whether you care to get professional certification as a "Professional engineer" (which might help you in the job hunt). Why?: only certain undergraduate degree programs qualify you to take the written test portion of the certification process, and you may want to look into whether your physics engineering program is an accepted program. Having a master's degree currently does not qualify one to take the written test (although there has been talk of changing this. In short, if you think you want to be a "engineer" in some particular branch, you may want to really look into that now... why wait?

On the other hand, say you've been a physics major, but want to transition into engineering in a reasonable time frame, and the physics engineering program would let you do so. Professional certification isn't required for all jobs (in fact you can't go through the process until you've been a practicing engineer for some number of years), the certification is just often seen as a plus.
tamtam402
tamtam402 is offline
#11
Oct21-10, 03:47 PM
P: 200
Well the way I see it is that the physics engineering background would give me more chance to work in the R&D field, while still giving me the engineer certification (it's an approved program, I've checked).

Would R&D companies really favor an electrical engineer over a physics engineer with a Masters degree in electrical engineering? To be honest my biggest passion is physics but I'll be 24 years old by the time I begin my 4 year B Sc (I get A's everywhere, my "late" entrance has nothing to do with my capabilities), and while I could get paid to do a masters and a phd in physics (it would be enough for me to survive without getting debt), I would be 32 years old by the time I get my phD without any guarantee to get a job after that. Also, I might think I absolutely want my phD in physics right now, but if I decide I don't want to get a masters degree in 4 years, I'll be left with no alternative option at all (the job prospect for "only" a physics b sc is pretty grim).

That's why I saw engineering physics as a great alternative: I'll be able to follow a lot of physics undergrad courses while getting certified as an engineer.

If I was 5 years younger I'd jump head first into the physics path but I'm getting older and I have to think about the future, unfortunately. Physics is my biggest passion but I don't want to make all other aspects of my life miserable to follow that dream.
Ryker
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#12
Oct21-10, 07:26 PM
P: 1,089
Quote Quote by tamtam402 View Post
If I was 5 years younger I'd jump head first into the physics path but I'm getting older and I have to think about the future, unfortunately. Physics is my biggest passion but I don't want to make all other aspects of my life miserable to follow that dream.
But it's only 5 years. Is that really that much?
clope023
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#13
Oct21-10, 07:40 PM
P: 593
Quote Quote by Ryker View Post
But it's only 5 years. Is that really that much?
Yes, it's a long time, not everyone likes being a non-traditional student (I certainly don't).

That being said, if my school offered engineering physics I would do that so that I have the technical skills of an engineer with the math/science skills of a physicist and than perhaps master in a specific discipline if I were the OP (speaking as an EE student).
tamtam402
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#14
Oct21-10, 07:47 PM
P: 200
Quote Quote by clope023 View Post
Yes, it's a long time, not everyone likes being a non-traditional student (I certainly don't).

That being said, if my school offered engineering physics I would do that so that I have the technical skills of an engineer with the math/science skills of a physicist and than perhaps master in a specific discipline if I were the OP (speaking as an EE student).
That's what I'd like to do, but I'm trying to find information on what a physics engineer does and I'm not very successful. Is it better to get a masters degree in a more specialized field if I go the physics engineer route? I was thinking about semiconductors or stuff like that; would that spread me too thin?
clope023
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#15
Oct21-10, 07:53 PM
P: 593
Quote Quote by tamtam402 View Post
That's what I'd like to do, but I'm trying to find information on what a physics engineer does and I'm not very successful. Is it better to get a masters degree in a more specialized field if I go the physics engineer route? I was thinking about semiconductors or stuff like that; would that spread me too thin?
From my understanding, even if you were to become a physicist you'd have to specialize in something.

Engineering physicist is also sometimes known as an applied physicist (which have quite a number of schools for semiconductors and other material science subjects); you'd be able to study semiconductor stuff if you were an EE as well though it depends on the schools strengths in the subject (for instance my school seems to put alot into communications and power engineering vs solid state for undergraduates though their graduate students study it in deph). I do think the extra math and physics background (which shows up in engineering grad school from what I hear/read) would give you an edge vs just pure engineering graduates but that might be my slightly uneducated view on the subject and the somewhat weak mathematics of my own schools engineering program (they don't have to take linear algebra here for instance).
Ryker
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#16
Oct21-10, 08:05 PM
P: 1,089
Quote Quote by clope023 View Post
Yes, it's a long time, not everyone likes being a non-traditional student (I certainly don't).
Alright, fair enough. I guess it depends on people's preferences. I was actually in the same situation, but I just figured since we're going to live to be 100 years old, and retire at age 70, it is worth risking 5 additional years to be able to do what you really like the most (even if the jobs you get aren't exactly what you envisioned them to be).
physics girl phd
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#17
Oct22-10, 11:07 AM
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Quote Quote by tamtam402 View Post
Well the way I see it is that the physics engineering background would give me more chance to work in the R&D field, while still giving me the engineer certification (it's an approved program, I've checked).

Would R&D companies really favor an electrical engineer over a physics engineer with a Masters degree in electrical engineering?
I think you're looking at things in a fine way -- and have done your research by checking to be sure the program qualifies you for the certification path. Companies would tend to look at the final degree... and a master's in EE is more employable, especially over a PhD in physics.

I took about the same route, but I had a BS in physics (so I don't qualify for the PE exams), before getting an MS in electro-optical engineering. Note, however, that then I wanted to cap off my degrees (which also included an earlier M.Ed. in classroom teaching) with the PhD in physics. I mention this because you briefly talk about it also. I will add here that I think this move (along with the family that came at about the same time as the PhD) did what you are wary about -- it considerably curtailed my employment possibilities (I'm now a part-time lecturer at a large state university in the US). If I had to do it over again, I'd stop at the MS in engineering, rather than get the small amount of self-edification that went with getting the PhD (although there have been pluses, like my small daughter, that have more than made up for things). It's just a point I look back on and often think a big decision to stop at the MS may have meant a more happy professional life.
tamtam402
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#18
Oct22-10, 11:57 AM
P: 200
Quote Quote by physics girl phd View Post
I think you're looking at things in a fine way -- and have done your research by checking to be sure the program qualifies you for the certification path. Companies would tend to look at the final degree... and a master's in EE is more employable, especially over a PhD in physics.

I took about the same route, but I had a BS in physics (so I don't qualify for the PE exams), before getting an MS in electro-optical engineering. Note, however, that then I wanted to cap off my degrees (which also included an earlier M.Ed. in classroom teaching) with the PhD in physics. I mention this because you briefly talk about it also. I will add here that I think this move (along with the family that came at about the same time as the PhD) did what you are wary about -- it considerably curtailed my employment possibilities (I'm now a part-time lecturer at a large state university in the US). If I had to do it over again, I'd stop at the MS in engineering, rather than get the small amount of self-edification that went with getting the PhD (although there have been pluses, like my small daughter, that have more than made up for things). It's just a point I look back on and often think a big decision to stop at the MS may have meant a more happy professional life.
Couldn't you go job-hunting without mentionning your PhD though? Do you think it's the PhD that is holding you back, or the lack of a PE title?

Also, does anyone have any experience to share about Physics engineers?? Would it be hard to find a job as a Physics Engineer bachelor (with the PE title) and a masters in a sub-field of engineering?


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