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Physics How to decide on my career path?

  1. Nov 9, 2017 #1
    I do like science a lot and I am good at it when i study. I also enjoy research as i have had 2 research internships which i enjoyed. But recently, for my physics 103, i had a professor that seemed to like have answers to everything, and it made me somewhat uninterested in the subject for whatever reason. Like he was very heavy on math (theoretical physicist), and when i'd ask him questions about quantum physics starting with "why", he would kinda dodge them and be like "it's what it is". While i totally agree with him that it's what it is, i still think there is a reason that we can figure out. He is super smart though and idk.
    It makes me a bit uninterested to be in his class..he goes way too fast and doesn't follow the book and doesn't even test us on much of the things he talks about.

    Now back to the real question....i'm confused about my career path. I want to pursue science but i am worried about the money aspect. I might need to support my family through some things and i am afraid that with a physics major i may not be able to do that on a timely manner. My question is...given that i am unsure about my passion about this subject now, and given that i need to make money faster, should i perhaps go for computer science (which i also enjoy and have background in) instead? Or is double majoring a good idea?

    What excites me about physics is the fact that nothing is for certain, and we can always questions things and there is always a why. What i love to do is experiments and measurements. Sure math is great too but i have to work on my math skills more. I think perhaps i got a bit discouraged from physics due to the heavy math in quantum mech and relativity. I admit that those are my weaknesses and that being discouraged by it is cowardly. But for whatever reason, i really don't like that we seem to "have answers to almost everything", because it makes things less interesting perhaps, i don't know.

    I also want to be able to help people with my job and don't know how doing research in physics can directly help people.

    Please give me some pointers, as i am applying for transfer to universities ( i am in community college right now), and i want to make the right decision. Also, i am 25, if that makes any difference.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2017 #2


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    Science Advisor

    You might consider some kind of engineering also. In engineering you get to use your science and math background, but apply it to real world problems like designing products or structures.
  4. Nov 9, 2017 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    If you need to start earning serious money soon, then a computer science major (programming) or engineering (as phyzguy suggested), would probably be better than physics, provided of course that it's something you enjoy doing, so you can keep on doing it without feeling "trapped" in it.

    The problem with a physics bachelor's is that it doesn't really lead to jobs in physics immediately. For that, you pretty much have to go to grad school for a Ph.D in physics, or a master's in something else like engineering. Ph.D students get enough money to support themselves, but not really a family. It would probably be at least 5-6 years after finishing your bachelor's, before you get a real job. I was at a normal age for going through the process, and I didn't get my first real job until I was 29.
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