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Currently what are the most in-demand fields in Physics?

  • #1
VJaya

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi. Im currently an undergrad following a physics major, and im in the final year of my course.I am planning to continue on with grad studies and wants to know the most demanding(subject wise and salary wise) paths in physics.(Ex: astrophysics,astronomy,condensed matter physics,medical physics,geophysics,plasma physics,optical physics,high energy/particle physics etc)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
wukunlin
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From my social circle, those who specialized in medical physics or semiconductor physics seem to have no problem finding jobs directly related to their fields.
 
  • #3
CrysPhys
Education Advisor
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Hi. Im currently an undergrad following a physics major, and im in the final year of my course.I am planning to continue on with grad studies and wants to know the most demanding(subject wise and salary wise) paths in physics.(Ex: astrophysics,astronomy,condensed matter physics,medical physics,geophysics,plasma physics,optical physics,high energy/particle physics etc)
Please clarify: By "most demanding", do you mean "most in demand by potential employers" or do you mean "hardest or most challenging"? Are you considering academic or industrial positions? What country?
 
  • #4
VJaya
From my social circle, those who specialized in medical physics or semiconductor physics seem to have no problem finding jobs directly related to their fields.
Is this for both academic and industrial fields?
 
  • #5
VJaya
Please clarify: By "most demanding", do you mean "most in demand by potential employers" or do you mean "hardest or most challenging"? Are you considering academic or industrial positions? What country?
Yes what i meant was the highest demand for potential employers. I am considering and industrial position in the US.
 
  • #6
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Programming seems to be the big employment opportunity in my part of the US. Doing physics research that develops programming skills should make you marketable for industry.
 
  • #7
wukunlin
Gold Member
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Is this for both academic and industrial fields?
oops, I should have mentioned industrial fields. Opportunities in in academia shouldn't be bad either.
 
  • #8
StatGuy2000
Education Advisor
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Programming seems to be the big employment opportunity in my part of the US. Doing physics research that develops programming skills should make you marketable for industry.
Almost any physics research worth its salt will involve programming skills at some level -- even theoretical research involve much work with simulation. So it seems to me that it doesn't really matter what area of physics one specializes in. Is that what you're saying?
 
  • #9
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I agree with ModusPwned, and will further add that the majority of physics research would not qualify, so choose wisely if that's a route you want to be open.
 
  • #10
CrysPhys
Education Advisor
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Almost any physics research worth its salt will involve programming skills at some level -- even theoretical research involve much work with simulation. So it seems to me that it doesn't really matter what area of physics one specializes in. Is that what you're saying?
<<Emphasis added>>

Ah, but the $60K question is, "What constitutes some level ?" In high-energy physics, e.g., if you're primarily involved with data analysis, you'll likely do a lot of programming; but, if you're primarily involved with designing and constructing improved detectors, you'll likely do a lot less. Similarly, in condensed-matter physics, e.g., if you're primarily involved with simulations of diffusion of impurities in polymers, you'll likely do a lot of programming; but, if you're primarily involved with designing and constructing an improved molecular-beam epitaxy system, you'll likely do a lot less. "Some level" has to be high enough to put you in the running with, e.g., comp sci guys when applying for a job.
 
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  • #11
Bigjoemonger
Anything in radiation physics. In the 60's and 70's the nuclear industry exploded (pun). A ton of jobs were created and filled at once. Now all of those people are on the verge of retiring and there's literally not enough people with the education to take their place.

In my department there are about 20 people. 4 of us are under 30 years old. And 15 are over 55 years old. 5 of them have already retired and are back working as contractors because there's nobody to fill the spot. It's basically a negative bell curve. In like 5 years the average age of nuclear industry workers is going to go from 50 to like 30. It's crazy.

So if you get a degree in that field you're basically guaranteed a job. And the pay is crazy good. First job out of school with a B.S. I'm making 75k a year. Could very easily be over 100k within 5 years.

Though admittedly the field is pretty shaky though, kind of in decline. Probably won't last another 50 years but you could easily get a very nice 20- 30 year career out of it before it Peters out.
 
  • #12
Delta2
Homework Helper
Insights Author
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My advise is something that relates to computers. Already has been mentioned the software part of the computers (like developing programming skills along your physics study) but for the hardware part of computers, semiconductor physics, electronic physics and optical physics (specialization in optical fibers).
 

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