Career options for a physicist (MSc)

  • #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.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
BPHH85
27
8
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
CrysPhys
Education Advisor
1,132
821
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?
 
  • #4
Choppy
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
4,808
2,090
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.
 
  • #5
jtbell
Mentor
15,962
4,724
I guess you are in the USA?
People in the USA normally use "MS", not "MSc" for a master's degree.
 
  • #6
Locrian
1,882
253
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?
 

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