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Careers after physics PhD

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  • Thread starter gator02
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I have recently completed a PhD in experimental condensed matter physics and I am not interested in staying in academia. I would like to hear from people who have already left academia. Specifically, I would like to hear what employment people were able to find and what difficulties they encountered entering their new career field. I know about certain alternative career paths taken my physics Ph.D.s such as software engineering and wall street but I would like to hear of others.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Dr Transport
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Industry is a fine career choice. Your skills as an experimentalist would be valued, but don't expect to do work paralleling your these work.

I found no impediments to leaving academia, my supervisors always use me as a sounding board for their ideas.
 
  • #3
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Dr. Transport, industry is a vague term. Can you tell me what industry you have experience in?
 
  • #4
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Specifically, I would like to hear what employment people were able to find and what difficulties they encountered entering their new career field. I know about certain alternative career paths taken my physics Ph.D.s such as software engineering and wall street but I would like to hear of others.
I ended up in finance after a few years in oil/gas. One thing that I had to do was to "unbrainwash" myself, and convince myself that was I was doing was "normal."

Also, one of the things that I regret was that I didn't keep up my research networks. Because I was really ashamed/angry of not going the academic route, I shut down communications with my research network for a few years. By the time I convinced myself that I had nothing to be ashamed/angry about, a lot of my research networks had gone cold.

Part of the problem that I'm working on is figuring out how physics Ph.D'.s that end up in industry can do some reasonable academic research.
 
  • #5
symbolipoint
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Part of quote from twofish-quant:
Part of the problem that I'm working on is figuring out how physics Ph.D'.s that end up in industry can do some reasonable academic research.
Hopefully, you will learn what the solution of this problem is, since the solution may be generalizable to other people with degrees in some sciences who went into industry but want to return, either to "industry" or to something else. When one leaves one broad field, ports back to it close. The longer one stays out, the more of those ports are closed.
 
  • #6
Dr Transport
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Dr. Transport, industry is a vague term. Can you tell me what industry you have experience in?
Aerospace
 

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