Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Career Options

  1. Jan 13, 2010 #1

    What industry do you think has the most opportunities and is growing at a faster rate in Canada and/or the US? Optics/photonics or robotics/mechatronics?

    I am currently in my third year in a physics program and I'm trying to choose between the two career paths. I can take a bunch of engineering physics optics courses to add to my transcript, and then likely go on to a masters degree in engineering physics specializing in optics/photonics, OR I can take a bunch of mechancical engineering courses(robotics, mechatronics, MEMS, control systems) and a few analogue an digital electronics course(which I'd be taking ether way), and the go on to a masters degree in mechanical engineering specializing in robotics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2010 #2
    I'm not appropriately qualified to correctly answer your question, but i'll contribute with some general advice anyway:

    I imagine there will always be numerous opportunities available to someone that has skills such as those. It depends what you want to do: completing both of those courses will open up any physical science graduate training programme, for instance. If you're set on research, however, then you should consider that photonics and mechatronics are very different and try to have a think about what you can see yourself working in.

    Also: i'm not sure how it is in the US or Canada, but in the UK, the courses one takes at undergraduate level don't really matter too much (that is, a physics degree is a physics degree) when applying to graduate school (there are, as always, exceptions). The thing that matters is that you can demonstrate an interest in the field that you're applying to: obviously having done a course previously makes this easy "I did a course once, and enjoyed it!" - but if you're applying to it you should have your own reasons. You should maybe find out if this is the case where you are to ease your mind in the event of choosing the 'wrong' option.
  4. Jan 16, 2010 #3
    One general advice is to pick the one that you think is most fun and don't worry too much about career projections. Trying to figure out what fields will be hot in four or five years is pretty much impossible, so it just makes sense to do things from personal interest, and maybe have take a few courses in a few different fields so that you can switch if necessary.

    One thing that should put your mind at ease, is that if you have a field that suddenly becomes extremely hot, then there are going to be more jobs that people with exactly the right educational requirements, and so employers will start looking for people with other training to fill the jobs.
  5. Jan 18, 2010 #4
    Thanks guys. If anyone could give me an idea of what kind of things you would be doing as an engineer in these fields that would be greatly appreciated.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook