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About to finish my PhD and dont know what to do?

  1. Feb 8, 2012 #1
    So I am about to finish my PhD and am stressing a lot about my future. I have two possible options which I am thinking of either staying in physics and getting a post-doc or moving into industry or perhaps finance.

    So this is my thought process: I really enjoy certain aspects of physics but am concerned with what is in store for my future ( the standard story of going through several post docs before maybe getting a permanent positon doesn't appeal to me). I have so far basically spent my whole life studying and I dont really know what it is like to enter the work force so if I do decide to move into industry/finance just to test out what it is like for several years how difficult would it be for me to return to physics (keeping in mind that my PhD has been in theoretical quantum physics)? Is this possible? or am i better off doing the converse test out what a Post doc is like and if I am unsatisfied move into industry after that?

    thank you very much in advanced, any help would be greatly appreciated

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2012 #2
    Hey Mark,
    I am new here, and am also in my penultimate year of grad school.. Just read your post, whats your area of study ? Maybe if you give the details, it will help ?

  4. Feb 8, 2012 #3
    So to give a bit more context:
    My PhD topic is a bit exotic where I was primarily focussed on developing a consistent theory of Quantum information in the context of relativity. But I have also balanced this with application driven research where I was involved in various theoretical aspects of specific realizations of qubits.

    thanks again
  5. Feb 8, 2012 #4


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    Hey mtak0114.

    Have you done any substantial amount of programming?
  6. Feb 8, 2012 #5
    During my PhD I have done very little programming but I have done a a fair bit of programming during my undergraduate degree. I dont know if you would call it substantial though...

    This is something that I realise that I would probably need to scratch up on if I am to enter the work force.
  7. Feb 8, 2012 #6


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    Science Advisor

    The most important point for a developer role is not so much the courses that you have done but the working and real knowledge that you have.

    If you have worked on projects (especially in a group setting whether its physically with people or say on an open-source project where everything is done online), then its important that you tell the employer this in a short, concise way when you apply for jobs.

    If you can make use of networking then even better.

    You'd be surprised at how many people with CS degrees can't really write their own code, or more importantly read and work with other peoples code.
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