Career options for a physicist (MSc)

In summary: They might have a more in-depth knowledge of a certain application or field, and be better suited for a certain type of position. How does a physicist stand out compared to either an applied mathematician, a computer scientist, etc.I guess you are in the USA? I can only tell you about the situation in Germany. So some things may be similar and some (very) different as I don't know the way the job market in the USA works in detail. However, with a master degree in physics you should have a broad knowledge in the physical branches, you should have envolved an abstract thinking mind and you should be able to adapt to new and for you unknown
  • #1
Wuberdall
34
0
Hi PF,

I graduated (MSc) six months ago with a 3.7/4.0 GPA and is still unemployed. During my time at university, I focused on my studies and did not give my future work life much thought. Consequently, I do not really know what my options are as a physicist. Sure, after reading countless job postings, machine learning and AI seems to be the buzzword these days... but machine learnings simply does not rock my boat.

I hope a kind person will help me answer some of these questions:
  1. What career options do a physicist have ano 2018?
  2. Are all physics jobs essentially computer science jobs with some added statistics?
  3. How does a physicist stand out compared to either an applied mathematician, a computer scientist, etc.
 
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  • #2
Hi

I guess you are in the USA? I can only tell you about the situation in Germany. So some things may be similar and some (very) different as I don't know the way the job market in the USA works in detail. However, with a master degree in physics you should have a broad knowledge in the physical branches, you should have envolved an abstract thinking mind and you should be able to adapt to new and for you unknown working areas with little effort. This should be the situation for any academic. Of course there are differences between graduates with distinction and the bigger part of average graduates. But even though you are paying a lot of tuition fees to university will not gifts you your degree. What a I want to say is...don't lose the focus on what you are good in and what you have learned.

Of course it is a bit late to think about your working life after your graduation. But you I guess are young and it is not too late. In Germany the percentage of unemployed physicist is very low but not all are employed in typical research jobs. Many of them are working in divers teams with other branches like engineering and maths or are working as an engineer. So don't have a narrow view on the job perspectives for physicist. I guess this is very similar in the US job market and there will be jobs. The other side of the coin are the expectations. If you are an average academic with rather few skills in other areas and want to get a high quality job with high salary it won't fit together. After the graduation you won't have (much) working experiances for any job. To sum up, it's not just all about your grade.

Back to your questions:

1. The job perspectives for physicist should be good to very good all over the world. But it depends on the total package of all of your skills
2. What makes you think that. There are so much more possibilities.
3. Comparing different branches of science is like comparing apples and oranges
 
  • #3
Wuberdall said:
Hi PF,

I graduated (MSc) six months ago with a 3.7/4.0 GPA and is still unemployed. During my time at university, I focused on my studies and did not give my future work life much thought. Consequently, I do not really know what my options are as a physicist. Sure, after reading countless job postings, machine learning and AI seems to be the buzzword these days... but machine learnings simply does not rock my boat.

I hope a kind person will help me answer some of these questions:
  1. What career options do a physicist have ano 2018?
  2. Are all physics jobs essentially computer science jobs with some added statistics?
  3. How does a physicist stand out compared to either an applied mathematician, a computer scientist, etc.
To get useful answers, you should clarify:

(a) What country are you a citizen of?
(b) What countries are you seeking employment in?
(c) What country or countries did you get your undergrad and grad degrees in?
 
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  • #4
Wuberdall said:
What career options do a physicist have ano 2018?
A lot really depends on the skills that you have and what more you're willing to learn. It might help not to think of yourself as a "physicist" at this point per se, and rather as someone who has an advanced education in physics. There aren't a lot of employers that look for this education as a specific requirement for the position, but usually one who has such an education brings a lot of generally desirable skills to the table. Your challenge at this point is figuring out how to bridge that gap.

Are all physics jobs essentially computer science jobs with some added statistics?
You mean jobs that physics graduates go into when they enter the commercial market? You might want to look up the most recent data from the AIP on where graduates are getting hired.
Here for example: Who's Hiring Physics PhDs (I know, it's PhD-specific, but it give you a pretty good idea of what's out there)
So, no, not all physics grads are becoming programmers and statisticians.

How does a physicist stand out compared to either an applied mathematician, a computer scientist, etc.
The same way anyone stands out for any job. You do your research and prepare for the position.

Sure, if you're applying for a job doing something like financial modelling, you'll be fighting an uphill battle against others who have more specific training for that position. But if you really want to get into a specific field like this, you have to invest in developing your relevant skills. Attend conferences, workshops, boot camps, seminars. Create side projects. Do some job shadows. Learn as much as you can about the industry and what kinds of people make it. Develop a network in the field and use that to search for a job.
 
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  • #5
BPHH85 said:
I guess you are in the USA?
People in the USA normally use "MS", not "MSc" for a master's degree.
 
  • #6
CrysPhys said:
To get useful answers, you should clarify:

(a) What country are you a citizen of?
(b) What countries are you seeking employment in?
(c) What country or countries did you get your undergrad and grad degrees in?

Please also add:

(d) What are your skills? What can you actually do?
 

Related to Career options for a physicist (MSc)

What job opportunities are available for physicists with an MSc degree?

With an MSc degree in physics, you can pursue careers in a variety of industries, including research and development, manufacturing, technology, and education. Some common job titles include physicist, research scientist, data analyst, engineer, and teacher.

What skills are important for a career in physics?

Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, advanced mathematical abilities, and attention to detail are all essential for a career in physics. Additionally, proficiency in programming languages and experience with laboratory equipment and technology are also highly valued skills.

What industries are looking for physicists with an MSc degree?

Industries such as aerospace, energy, healthcare, technology, and finance all have a need for physicists with an MSc degree. These industries often rely on physics principles and technology for research, development, and innovation.

What are the benefits of pursuing a career in physics?

A career in physics offers a diverse range of opportunities, from theoretical research to practical applications. It also allows for constant learning and discovery, as well as the potential for high salaries and job stability in industries with a growing demand for physicists.

Are there opportunities for advancement in a physics career?

Yes, there are many opportunities for advancement in a physics career. With experience and further education, physicists can advance to higher-level positions, such as project managers, team leaders, and research directors. They can also pursue opportunities in academia and become professors or researchers at universities.

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