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B.S Physics and 3-4 years professional software experience: what now?

  1. Jan 19, 2014 #1
    Hello, I'm a little lost right now, and I would appreciate some thoughtful ideas or advice.

    I graduated with a B.S. in Physics a little under 5 years ago at the peak of the recession. When I started, I had the intention of becoming a professor and doing energy research. I spent most of my undergrad years doing research while working jobs on the side to fund my education and experiencing a hefty dose of class-ism. After seeing a lot of unhappy people doing research and seeing a long road of unhappiness ahead of me, I chose to take my chances on an alternate career path, software engineering.

    Software engineering was the lowest-cost option for entry, because I could teach myself while working some other menial job for minimum wage (cooking), which I did. I would have taken the FE in electrical engineering, but I could not, because I had not taken enough humanities credits in college (crazy, I know).

    So after a few years of hard work and discipline, I eventually networked my way into a software company as a tester, quickly moved to being the test lead, then worked as a full-stack engineer for a few years on a web project for the Navy. Eventually, I left, because I could not tolerate some of the unethical practices in this agency and I refused the raises I kept getting to stay there.

    Right now, I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I am an expert in Selenium Webdriver (having created two custom frameworks) and software deployment automation. I am a well-rounded web developer. I have experience as a team lead. I have made a ton of little projects to hone my skills.

    It seems like it would be easy to get a job as a QA lead somewhere, and I think I could actually be happy doing that. I can really rock that kind of a job and can probably be the best QA lead out there.

    However, I want to create social change for the better. I want to truly make this world a better place, but I feel stuck. To demonstrate the kind of angle I'm going for, I'm thinking about starting a company that sells used phones with free software operating systems pre-installed (not sure how to get started, though).

    Sorry for the long post. I know it's a bit of a soap opera, but this is my life, and I'm making the best of it. I have been out of the loop in the physics scene for 4-5 years now, so I posted here because some of you might be best qualified to know where my physics and web development skills might best be combined and applied.

    Warm regards, and I appreciate your help and respectful opinions.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  2. jcsd
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