Advice on an extra year or two in school.

In summary: However, I would definitely recommend finding a tutor or course online to get help with the more difficult material.
  • #1

I've been asking around at job fairs, along with classmates/faculty, and the consensus seems to be that lots of people want physics majors who know about programming, handling data, and modeling.

The problem is.. I don't know much about those subjects. What's the best way to fix this? The most obvious choice is picking up a minor in computer science, but is this the best option?


Physics news on
  • #2
You can learn programming on your own!

My son (a math major) decided to learn Java, so picked up an Android device, designed a simple game, and then spent Christmas break working on this project. As he became more interested he devoted weekends after completing has homeworks, and the following summer.

He used the completed game as a "portfolio"; it was a significant factor in obtaining a good job in his chosen field.

So how many computer science classes did he take? One - intro to programming, which was taken _after_ he finished the game. At this point he said it was very boring, but he did get an A in it.

The lesson here is that you can learn it on your own, but it is best to have a definite project in mind - that keeps you focused on what you need to know for that project, and provides some motivation when looking for "the best method" to get something accomplished.
  • #3
Programming is definitely something that you can learn on your own. I would, however, still take computer science courses in college. I wouldn't necessarily aim for a minor, but rather courses that you will find to be helpful. If you have the time, I would just take an extra cs course every semester until you graduate. I found that while the cs classes weren't too difficult, the projects did take up a lot of time. As an added bonus, your courses will probably be taught in C++ (might be in Java) which is very useful when it comes to real time systems or simulations. I would also advise learning a scripting language as well, such as MATLAB or Python.

The CS courses are more focused on the program structures, rather than the actual language (except maybe the intro course), so it shouldn't be a problem to learn 2 languages simultaneously. C++ is probably one of the more complicated languages you would be asked to program in, so you shouldn't have a problem teaching yourself other languages

1. What are the benefits of taking an extra year or two in school?

The main benefit of taking an extra year or two in school is that it allows you to gain a deeper understanding and mastery of your chosen field of study. This can make you more competitive in the job market and can also open up opportunities for further education, such as pursuing a graduate degree.

2. Will taking an extra year or two in school delay my entry into the workforce?

Yes, taking an extra year or two in school will delay your entry into the workforce. However, this delay is often offset by the increased knowledge and skills gained during the extra time in school, making you a more valuable and competitive candidate for jobs.

3. Is it worth it to take an extra year or two in school?

This ultimately depends on your individual goals and circumstances. If you have a specific career path in mind that requires a higher level of education, then taking an extra year or two in school may be worth it. However, if you are unsure about your future plans or are not passionate about your field of study, it may be better to enter the workforce sooner.

4. How will taking an extra year or two in school affect my financial situation?

Taking an extra year or two in school will likely result in additional expenses, such as tuition, housing, and living expenses. However, it is important to consider the long-term benefits of investing in your education, such as higher earning potential and job opportunities.

5. Are there any alternatives to taking an extra year or two in school?

Yes, there are alternatives to taking an extra year or two in school. You may consider taking summer courses or getting involved in internships or research opportunities to gain additional knowledge and experience in your field. Additionally, some industries value hands-on experience more than formal education, so gaining practical skills through internships or apprenticeships may be a viable option.

Suggested for: Advice on an extra year or two in school.