View Poll Results: Career Poll 2 - Please read first post in thread before participating
I am in the exact field and the exact specialization 4 4.88%
I am in the exact field, but different specialization 15 18.29%
I am in the same area of study, but different field 17 20.73%
I am in a different area, but related to it 10 12.20%
I am in a completely different area than I envisioned 22 26.83%
I did not have an exact area and specialization in mind when I was at that age 14 17.07%
Voters: 82. You may not vote on this poll

Career Poll 2


by ZapperZ
Tags: career, poll
ZapperZ
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#19
Jan29-13, 06:35 AM
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Great response so far to this poll. Thanks everyone. Keep 'em coming.

I still would like to hear from people who chose Option 1

I am in the exact field and the exact specialization

So, please contact me, via PM if you wish, if you chose this option (other than Astro who already had explained himself).

Thanks again!

Zz.
ZapperZ
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#20
Jan31-13, 02:32 PM
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Again, if you chose Option 1 "I am in the exact field and the exact specialization" from the list above, I would like to hear from you. So far, the couple of people who have contacted me appear to have selected the wrong option. So I need to make sure that if you did selection Option 1, you made the correct choice.

I also want to hear about how you managed to achieve your goal if you correctly selected Option 1.

Zz.
Vanadium 50
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#21
Jan31-13, 05:35 PM
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I am torn between Options 1 and 2. I entered grad school ~25 years ago intending to be an experimenter studying weak interactions. And today I am an experimenter studying weak interactions. But for 20 of those years, I was working on strong interactions. That's where I made my name in the field.

So which is it? Got an option 1.5?
ZapperZ
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#22
Jan31-13, 06:15 PM
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But what did you think you would do pre-university, when you were in high school?

That's the comparison that is involved here.

Zz.
ZapperZ
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#23
Feb1-13, 10:35 AM
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For those of you paying attention to the poll, you would have noticed that the number for Option 1 has been reduced by one. This is to correct a wrongly-cast selection.

Again, if you chose Option 1, or if you think you made a wrong selection, please contact me, via PM if you wish. I still haven't heard from 2 members who chose Option 1.

Thanks.

Zz.
carlgrace
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#24
Feb1-13, 12:47 PM
P: 555
I started undergrad in physics and CS, ended up in EE, so a bit of a change.

However, I'm one of the very few people I know who works on EXACTLY that same thing that I did my PhD on.
ZapperZ
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#25
Feb1-13, 03:41 PM
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Quote Quote by carlgrace View Post
However, I'm one of the very few people I know who works on EXACTLY that same thing that I did my PhD on.
Ah, that will be an option on an upcoming poll that I have planned! :)

Zz.
ZapperZ
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#26
Feb7-13, 01:19 PM
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Reminder that if you are already working (i.e. no longer in school), please take this poll. And if you are one of the two people who chose Option 1 and have not yet contacted me, I would appreciate it if you do so.

Thank you.

Zz.
f95toli
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#27
Feb7-13, 03:09 PM
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I picked alternative 1.

Not that I would have been able to tell you before I started university exactly what I wanted to do (one reason I chose engineering physics), but I have been lucky in that whenever I've had to make a choice I have been able to choose what I thought was the most interesting subject.
Moreover, I am still working in the field I decided to specialize in during my MSc, and the courses I picked for my 4th year taught me things I now use on a daily basis: low temperature physics, quantum devices, vacuum technologies, thin-film fab etc.

How I did it? Luck mostly. It all comes down to being at the right place at the right time and knowing the right people.

I enjoyed my thin-film course and the lecturer offered me chance to do my MSc project with him (working on superconducting detectors). This in turn lead to a PhD in the same group (d-wave effects in HTS junctions/SQUIDs). One of the researchers in the group I belonged to in Sweden was offered a job in the UK and left, and when I finshed my PhD he asked if I wanted to do a post-doc with him. I moved to London and worked as a post-doc for a few years (at the same place, but in collaboration with different UK universities) and in the end they were forced to hire me.

I am now a senior research scientist. 13 years and a few thousand helium transfers later., and I am still working in more or less exactly the same field as I did my MSc project in(although nowadays I mostly work with low-Tc devices, and mainly with high-frequency measurements). I still collaborate with the group where I did my PhD.
ZapperZ
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#28
Feb7-13, 03:13 PM
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Based on your response, I don't think you should have picked Option 1. This poll specifically is asking on whether, before you start college/university, you have a clear idea on what you wanted to do, and how close you end up with that goal. Based on what you stated, you didn't have a clear, specific idea on what you want to do, other than a general area of study that you wanted to go into.

Zz.
PKDfan
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#29
Feb7-13, 06:20 PM
P: 19
^I'm not participating in this poll, because I'm still in school. But I'm curious about something - if f95toli's response isn't an example of "Option 1", then what would be? I mean, I doubt any high schoolers (save a few prodigies, of course) are familiar enough with the details of a given field to decide on a specific specialization at that age, or to even be aware of what the different specializations are.

Unless, of course, I'm misunderstanding your use of the term "specialization". You gave the example of doing research in string theory for option 1, but then for option 2 you gave an example of two different sub-specialties within a given area (condensed matter). I admit to not knowing a lot about physics, aren't string theory and condensed matter both fairly broad areas? Or at least around the same level of "broadness" (if that makes any sense).

For example, if someone decided they wanted to do research in a certain area of string theory in high school, but ended up in a slightly different area of string theory, would they answer option 1 or 2?
ZapperZ
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#30
Feb7-13, 06:41 PM
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Quote Quote by PKDfan View Post
^I'm not participating in this poll, because I'm still in school. But I'm curious about something - if f95toli's response isn't an example of "Option 1", then what would be? I mean, I doubt any high schoolers (save a few prodigies, of course) are familiar enough with the details of a given field to decide on a specific specialization at that age, or to even be aware of what the different specializations are.

Unless, of course, I'm misunderstanding your use of the term "specialization". You gave the example of doing research in string theory for option 1, but then for option 2 you gave an example of two different sub-specialties within a given area (condensed matter). I admit to not knowing a lot about physics, aren't string theory and condensed matter both fairly broad areas? Or at least around the same level of "broadness" (if that makes any sense).

For example, if someone decided they wanted to do research in a certain area of string theory in high school, but ended up in a slightly different area of string theory, would they answer option 1 or 2?
Within condensed matter, there is a broad area of specialization. Someone could be specializing in superconductivity, another person in magnetism, another in superfluid/BE condensate, etc.. etc. So yes, I am asking for something VERY specific for Option 1, which to me is the most extreme case. And yes, it is hard for me to comprehend someone pre-college knowing THAT much about the field of physics to actually (i) know the exact specialization that he/she wants to go into and (ii) actually made it! I expect the phase space for this to occur is almost zero. That is why I would like to hear from those who actually chose Option 1 and to make sure this unusual event actually happened!

Most people, such as me, kinda know roughly that we want to go into physics, but really didn't have a clear idea of (i) what's out there and (ii) what we really want to be at that age. For many of us, this only becomes clearer when we were approaching the end of our undergraduate years, or even when we entered graduate school (me).

I have a reason for setting up this poll, and I'll clarify my intention when I have enough data and end this poll.

Zz.
eri
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#31
Feb7-13, 08:18 PM
P: 970
I picked option #1. Before starting college, I had envisioned myself in a job, probably affiliated with a college, and doing research in astronomy. I earned a PhD in physics and am currently an assistant professor of physics at a small university, doing research in astrophysics. I didn't have any particular specialty in mind when I started college (other than generic astronomy) and changed fields a few times in that area before settling on my current area(s) of research. But mostly still doing observational (and some computational) work, which is what I had imaged before starting college.
ZapperZ
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#32
Feb7-13, 08:21 PM
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Again, did you have a specialization in Astronomy that you had in mind before you started college? And is that the same specialization that you are in now?

I have a feeling that Option 1 isn't as clear as I thought I had written it. Remember, the emphasis is on exact field, exact specialization.

Zz.
f95toli
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#33
Feb8-13, 03:48 AM
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Then I missunderstood what option 1 meant. I doubt anyone could meet that criteria.

The exact field I am working in didn't even exist(!) before I started univeristy (the first experimental demonstrations were done in 1999), so I could obviously no have known back in 1995 that this is what I wanted so specialize in.
ZapperZ
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#34
Feb8-13, 06:22 AM
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Please contact me here, or via PM, if you would like your vote to change. I can modify the count. From what I understood, it looks like Option 2 or 3 might work for you.

And this applies to everyone else who took this poll. If you think that you selected the wrong option, please contact me. I will only change the poll count for a particular option upon your consent.

Zz.
JakeBrodskyPE
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#35
Feb8-13, 02:39 PM
P: 430
I started off in a related field of practice to what I studied (Electrical Engineering), and then I slowly drifted away (toward Control System Engineering) even though I still work for the same company all these years.

Also note that what we studied 25 and 30 years ago isn't really what we do today anyway. Computers were very different back then, as were the methods we used to design systems. We rely on computer modeling far more today than we did back then. We were much stronger on prototyping and measurement than we are today.

One last note: I did get to do many of the things I envisioned myself doing, but as an amateur, not as a professional. And that isn't always a bad thing either. I did get in to aviation, but as a private pilot, not as a commercial pilot. I did get in to RF design, but mostly as an amateur radio enthusiast, not as an electrical engineer.

Yes, I still have many of the same technical itches that I liked to scratch when I was in high school --but often enough I'll do those on my own instead of asking someone to pay me to do them. And honestly, it is more fun that way.
gbeagle
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#36
Feb11-13, 12:57 AM
P: 53
I picked choice number five. Not exactly sure if that was the right choice. At one point in high school I wanted to do what I do now, but by the time I headed off to college I had changed my mind.

I started high school in the fall of 1998, and early on in high school I had wanted to be a software developer. Then the dot-com bubble burst, which put a big damper on that. By the end of my senior year of high school, I had decided I wanted to do particle physics. I got a B.S. in physics, and then a PhD in experimental high energy physics.

I work as a software developer now though.


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