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Combining two passions into a career

  1. Aug 25, 2014 #1
    I am currently a physics major with a possible double major in mathematics. I plan on going to graduate school and getting a master's in computer engineering. That is my long term goal. Haven't thought about a doctorate or any more advanced degrees at this moment (as I think I probably shouldn't at this moment). Anyways, I was wondering how I can combine my passion for physics and math and my hobby of foreign languages? I have looked into things like translation of technical documents, doing history of math or physics (or archeology in those fields), writing physics and math books in foreign languages (kind of like having my own business in that). These are some of the options I have on the table, but I'm always open to other suggestions. Any ideas? And also, what are the chances that I will get into one of the fields that I have mentioned? If bad comes to bad, I will probably just end up doing computer engineering at the master's level and work for a company, but I am also trying to 'liven it up a bit'.

    Edit: I've also looked into the military and they pay a lot, but not sure if it will be an enjoyable experience.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2014 #2

    ZombieFeynman

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    I don't think this is in regard to what you're asking, but why are you majoring in physics (and mathematics) if you want to go to graduate school for computer engineering. Would it not be more straightforward to simply get a degree in computer engineering in preparation for graduate school in computer engineering?
     
  4. Aug 26, 2014 #3
    Ditto what ZF. said. Though that's a bit hypocritical of me since I did my undergrad in math and I'm going to graduate school in nuclear engineering!

    If you are in a situation like I was, and it's most economical/wise for you to go to a school that doesn't have the engineering department that you desire, then I would understand you majoring in physics instead. But you have to make sure you get the relevant prereq courses in and do well in them!
     
  5. Aug 26, 2014 #4

    Hi ZF. While I understand what you are saying and it seems more common sense to pursue a computer engineering degree instead of physics and math, this, to me, is not the best option for several reasons. 1) The curriculum for physics (and I'm doing the applied option, not the pure) is a little shorter and gives me a general guideline to electronics. 2) I heard that a physics degree will look more impressive on a grad school application than an engineering one. 3) I might not get a job in computer engineering right out of college (I'm not going to the best university right now: CSUSB) so a physics degree might open up more options for me, where I can get a job, save money, and go to grad school (This is all just pure speculation, of course. It's close to being nailed in stone but I still have to talk to my advisor about the career options for physics majors). 4) I think you can still work as a computer engineer even with a physics degree, right?
     
  6. Aug 26, 2014 #5
    Another point I want to make is that a physics degree will give me much better preparation for grad school than an engineering degree would. And yes Hercuflea, at the moment, it seems more economical to go for a physics degree (again, I am doing the applied option, not the pure) and the computer engineering department is new and I would guess it doesn't have as much of a reputation (if I even heard of one).
     
  7. Aug 26, 2014 #6

    ZombieFeynman

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    Why do you think that a degree in physics gives you better preparation for a graduate degree in computer engineering. I think that certainly a degree in physics prepares one well for a graduate degree in physics, but why do you think it would give you better preparation for a graduate degree in computer engineering?
     
  8. Aug 26, 2014 #7

    SteamKing

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    That might be news to the faculties of, you know, graduate engineering programs.

    You should check into the employment rates for people with just an undergraduate degree in physics versus people with an undergraduate degree in computer engineering.

    You might want to check with some prospective employers on that. A physics degree is not necessarily a 'be all, end all' type of degree. If you were advertising to hire a computer engineer, why would you settle for someone with a different degree altogether?
     
  9. Aug 26, 2014 #8
    Okay. To be honest, I was originally a computer engineering major, but I got really interested in physics later on. So, right now I am still on the fence in regards to computer engineering and physics. I'm going to take classes to see which one is for me.
     
  10. Aug 26, 2014 #9
    Where can I find statistics about physics-related jobs? I heard teaching at the high school or junior college level is pretty stable, even more so than industry. Also, would an applied physics degree open up more doors for careers in engineering since it is applied? And what kind of jobs would I get?

    By the way, I do mention that if bad comes to bad, I'll go to grad school for computer engineering. So I might change my major when I do get to grad school if I see it's more beneficial to stay in physics, but just take a more applied path. And I really don't want to end up in academia. This is not my goal.

    Also, you guys haven't even touched on my original questions! :bugeye:
     
  11. Aug 26, 2014 #10

    SteamKing

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    The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles a lot of this information:

    http://www.bls.gov/

    I'm sure there is some state or local office in California government which has comparable information for that state and the communities within it. There may even be an office at your university which helps place graduates after they leave school.

    Yeah, we got that. It's just that life sometimes forces us to take detours on the the way to achieving our goals. If you want to study CS (or whatever), IMO it's better to take the most direct course to attaining this goal, and not waste a lot of time and money studying some anciliary field and hoping things sort themselves out later.

    That's because we're trying to digest some of the background information in the OP which seems a little 'unconventional'.
     
  12. Aug 26, 2014 #11
    Okay. I talked to my advisor and he said that applied physics at least opens up more doors for general electronics engineering, whereas the computer engineering path is too narrow. At this point, I feel like I will only pursue the bachelor's degree and not worry so much about the master's until later.
     
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