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Career choice:Help!

  1. Mar 15, 2012 #1
    First of all, I know that some topic might cover my question but I felt I needed to write this ( maybe to calm myself) :)

    To summarise, my dream job would be to develop product in the new technology (quantum computing as an example) for private company. A decent salary would be nice also.

    In a couple week, I'll have to decide if I start a undergratuade degree in honours math/phys or in spatial or physical engineering. At first, my choice would be math/phys and im planning to pursue with graduate study.

    Now:my big fear!!! After many research and talking to my teacher, I'm afraid that as I finish my physic study (at least a major) I will be (no disrespect to those who chose this path) stuck in a university. My fear is also the reason why i'm considering engineering, because I think that this path is more likely to open the gate of private sector.

    So is it true that majoring in physics traps you in a university or is there hope to work for the private sector with a decent salary? Also, as I told you my dream job, would engineering be more appropriate than physic or am I wrong?

    Thanks a lot! (Hope that my text didn't annoy you to much):blushing:
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2012 #2
    You mentioned you wanted a job developing physical products for a private company. In terms of that goal a degree in engineering is probably the clearest and most direct path. It depends of course on what exactly you want to work on.

    Addressing your question about being trapped in academia because of physics, that is not generally true in my experience. At least in the United States it seems most people that do physics in school (both undergraduate and graduate), end up in the private sector eventually. I made the transition from physics to software development. I did however need a lot more programming/development knowledge and experience than one would necessarily get during the course of a physics PhD.
  4. Mar 15, 2012 #3
    I'm always mind-boggled by these concerns coming from what seem like HS students usually without any foresight into how different things could get while studying in college.

    A preference for subject matter can change, your dream job might change, things can change. It's definitely good to have a track and set yourself on that track but you should realize that things change and everyone has the power to change things which is why there should not be a fear of being "stuck".
  5. Mar 15, 2012 #4


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    Horror stories of being stuck in academia? considering how competitive it is to get a professorship in academia I doubt there are many of these stories.
  6. Mar 15, 2012 #5


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    I agree with gbeagle - studying engineering is an excellent preparation for someone who wants to make products with new technology.

    Also, at least in the US, getting a job with an engineering degree is much easier than doing so with a physics degree.
  7. Mar 15, 2012 #6
    So I guess that people studying physics are the one interested in fundamental research and the one studying engineering are more likely to do R and D for private company?

    Also, any utility to have a degree in physics than a master degree in engineering?
  8. Mar 16, 2012 #7
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