Job opportunities with a Physics Masters

  • #1

I'm thinking of getting into computational science / scientific computing. If anyone here works in the industry and would like to tell me about their work (now or in the past) I'd appreciate it. Even if you don't work in the field, but have a computational science related degree, I'd love to hear about your job.

Ideally I'd love if you could just pimp your job. If you don't have time for free form prose, here are some specific questions: What's your academic background? What do you work with, and where? What's your current project? Do you like your job? What about job security? Prospects for advancement? Salary? (that's perhaps a sensitive question, but a ball park figure is perhaps possible?) Age discrimination? If you could go back several years, would you still try to get into this field? Finally, any advice you can give for us still in school?


Answers and Replies

  • #2
Currently I am attending WentWorth Institute of Technology, its a 4 year school and I am currently on my to getting a degree in Bachelor Science in Computer Engineering Technology just finishing my first year.
What worries me is the technology part, I was thinking to transfer to Electrical Engineering (because I am worried about the job demand for computer engineers, and the degree says Electrical Engineering Technology) and while looking on monster for the types of positions that are offered for Electrical Engineers I kept seeing requirements of a bachelors in Electrical Engineering.

My question is will the technology part of my degree prevent me from getting hired for a job later on whether it be in electrical engineering or a field closer to computer engineering? and is the technology part looked down upon?

I realized the technology part after a week in my first semester and was planning to become certified as an Engineer by the state after I graduated, but now I am worried that I wont even be able to land a decent job.
  • #3
I am going on exchange in the UK in the september 2010 - feb 2011 semester. I am in 3rd year B eng (mechatronic) / B Adv Sc. (physics)
I would like to find a summer internship / vacation work over in the UK or maybe in Europe but I have no idea where to look being in Aus. Can anyone suggest some companies that do internships that are related to phys, eng, it or maybe finance/investing?
I realise there will be tonnes that do it but I don't know where to start. I have EU citizenship so that shouldn't be an issue, but I won't be able to do a face to face interview.
Any ideas?
  • #4
Hello people, I am new in this forum, and have been reading very posts and I am really liking here. How I have observed, the people here have experience in their areas and are very educated.

Well, I am an student of FATEC-SP, I do my undergraduate in mechanical technology, and want to know how the companies of EUA, Canadá and Europe see technologists and foreigners.

Here in Brazil there is prejudice against technologists, so an engineering degree turns out to be vital for the professional.

There are additions in engineering at universities in these countries? Technologists are valued?

Sorry for my english. :smile:

  • #5
I'm thinking about what course I'm going to do at university, and Physics has always been interesting to me.

Anyway, I'm wondering what sort of jobs you can get if you come out of university with a masters in Physics? I'm thinking of either doing straight up physics or theoretical physics at the moment (I don't actually have to decide between the two until year 2 of the course), but since the careers advice office at our school is pathetic, I'd though i'd come here.

I don't really have a clue as to what I could do with a physics degree to be honest. I was thinking something like CERN, but that's the only thing I can think of. I'm really in to Physics, but I haven't really got much knowledge on different research groups etc.

Also, what's the money like for these sort of jobs?

Thank you.
  • #6
Hi, I am about to make one of the biggest decisions in my life I love physics furthermore, I am in love with nuclear physics and the quantum field and.. I want to major in that ( doing 2 majors) but the problem I have is .. what sort of job can I get after finishing a degree like that? will I starve ? I already possess a degree in Audio Engineering.. which is a total crap, mostly is directed to the creative media business and I feel is a hollow waste of time, I entered expecting more physics... but for my surprise it was more about music. Anyway i want this so bad.. but I'm afraid I wont get a job. What do you guys recommend what are your experiences? I live in New Zealand by the way.. and I'm very keen to live anywhere else.. pardon my english I'm a native spanish speaker.

Thank You!!!
  • #7
I'm a mechanical engineer but only on paper, I think..
I just finally defended my thesis which focused on nanomaterials. It was heavy on the nano-fabrication and material characterization. I also felt like I did more chemical engineering than actual mechanical engineering.
I haven't touched pro-e or solidworks or even an instron in months.
The closest to mechanical eng work I did was making composite plates for a side project.
Now I'm confused about what kind of jobs I can expect to get with my experiences :(
I really enjoyed what I did for my masters. I love being in a lab running tests.
But a lot those lab jobs seem to be geared towards people with actual ChemE or biomed degrees, I don't feel like I can compete.
I would be ecstatic for a 'real' ME type job too. (I mean doing a lot design and mechanical behavior testing that sort of stuff) But I'm now a bit rusty in that department!
Any suggestions? What should I do? Re-read my old textbooks? :P

-A bit lost in Massachusetts
  • #8
I'm a junior undergraduate health physics major/ nuclear engineering minor and am currently looking for a job. I am interested in working at a cyclotron that makes positron emitters for hospitals.

What kind of credentials do cyclotron institutes look for in employees? Is there any room for someone who strictly knows radiation and safety, or is it pretty much required to have a knowledge of chemistry/pharmacy/intense physics as well?

Are there any certifications available to students online that would make one more attractive to cyclotron insitutes?

Thanks in advance for your time and/or answers
  • #9
I got my PhD in physics last year, and have been working since the fall.

I've been interviewing again, and I have one official offer on the way, one unofficial offer, and two perfect fit interviews coming up.

One position is a postdoc, another is coding/programming position, and the other two are industry positions directly related to the field I did my PhD in.

which path will provide the most stable career?

1) The postdoc position will open doors to academic positions. (I have some connections at a teaching university who have expressed interest in hiring me after a postdoc. They tried to hire me to teach while I was writing my thesis, but I turned it down. )

2) The programming position? There's always a demand for programmers, and this is an opportunity to get some more experience.

3) The big name companies? The specific skill set I developed while doing my PhD are necessary for the big companies now, but what happens once I finish the project? They axe me? The plus is the bigger salary and interesting projects.

Anyone have any advice on this matter?
  • #10

I have the following problem probably you can give me some comments because of
your experience. When I start a job in physics and I think that the task is not related
to my present knowledge so I worry too much. Previously I got a postdoc and I was
under pressure almost all the time. I start thinking about the duration of the project
(which is commonly for one year) and I think that maybe after one year my contract
wouldnt be renewed and several other things more.

I really like doing research I mean reading scientific papers, looking for information,
developing mathematics, learning. I also like teaching.
But my problem is that I am thinking always about the time and the number of papers
I should publish. Most of the time when I receive a new project I get stressed because
I think that I wouldnt be able to perform the tasks. I think I wouldnt have these thoughts
if I didnt have the time and publications factors present. One of the things I think
is what would happen if my contract is not renewed, where would I go?

I wanted to ask you if you have been in a similar situation before and if you have some

  • #11

I am currently doing my PhD studies in US and I am thinking about going back to my home country in the future (probably not right after PhD)

And I'm wondering about opportunities to still work in US remotely. (For example, to work several years in some company and then ask them for remote job from home country for lower money. Or to find a job in the University in home country and do research into American lab).

Do you know about this kind of opportunities in industries suitable for PhD-Physicists or in Science?
  • #12

I'm curious if anyone here has insight into how the Canadian job market scene is for current physics grads, either with or Masters. I'm entering a soon with the goal of Masters (no phD for me... maybe much much later).

I see lots of information on the American situation - do any Canadians know if this is relatively accurate for Canada too? Is there much cross-border penetration or are there some barriers that keep them distinct?

The common assumption is that what's true for America is true for Canada, but it isn't always the case. Anyone with exp I am all ears!

Thanks in advance.
  • #13
I am currently in my third year of BA Psychology, and recently I came to amazing revelation that I might (or more likely almost certainly) will have a very tough time doing Social Work or any other form of Human-Relations Extensive job that's commonly associated with Psych undergrads. I am majoring in Psychology mainly because I like the subject, but unfortunately I've also haven't found anybody majoring in the subject (at least at my school) who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome. Therefore, I am making the safe bet that people with Asperger's Syndrome are extremely hard to find in Psychology Majors unlike in hard science majors like Biology, Engineering, Math, and etc. I am guessing could be due to the fact that people with Asperger's tend to avoid majors which led to jobs that are unsuitable to them aka jobs that require considerable social interaction like most Psych major-related jobs.

Ultimately, my main problem right now is that I feel very out-of-place majoring a field where most of the jobs are my Kryptonite so to speak. However, despite my difficulty in social-interactions, I have learned through my Psychology courses (as well as experience) the appropriate and inappropriate types of behaviors for various social situations. Anyways could somebody tell me what kind of Psych-related jobs I could do with my Asperger's Syndrome which preferably don't require to much Human-Interaction?
  • #14
I graduated with my bachelors in aerospace December 2011 and have had absolutely zero success in finding an aero job. A little of my personal stats: overall GPA is 3.2 and senior term (hardest) was 3.66 which I specifically include on my resume which may or may not be the right idea (hey look at what I did!). I have no internship experience coming out of school but have even tried applying for some. The problem is, companies like Boeing require you to be enrolled in school while applying for internships so I can only apply to whatever I find available.

I do not really know how competitive the field is when it comes to finding a job, but I'm assuming I don't land jobs because there are more qualified people. So, to anyone that has experience or knowledge in the aerospace job market: would getting a masters close to assure me a job in aerospace. I specifically wanted a propulsion job but I kind of gave up applying to only what I "wanted". I know there are always non-specific career opportunities but applying for lets say an actuary job just for money doesn't seem too enticing at this point.

*Please note your experience or knowledge-source (whether it be: I'm a 5 year mechanical engineer veteran...) for credibility.

  • #15
Here goes: I am a final (4th) year Physics undergrad doing an exchange year at a top 10 UK university. My awarding institution is a relatively unknown university in Spain (however the place is a big name in observational astrophysics).

I have no practical/experimental physics experience at all, but I believe I am walking away with some decent knowledge of scilab(think matlab) and FORTRAN programming, but nothing beyond a basic course in numerical methods and a senior year project using a Monte Carlo. Nothing much in the way of optics labs, nor anything like thin films or observational astronomy. I am taking a course in electronics this year however, but very little lab content.

I also have a 2-year degree in environmental chemistry, 2 years of undergrad chemistry, and some experience at a wastewater analytics lab but that was 4 years ago.

I am a US resident so I am qualified to work non-governmental jobs in the US. I am considering the following regions as its where my SO is applying for grad school: Minneapolis MN, Manoa HI, Cleveland/Columbus OH, Tempe/Tucson AZ, Rochester NY, to name some.

I was originally intending on applying for grad school but I just don't think I am up to it anymore, so I am willing to try something different, anything but teaching high school. I would like to know what I can do with my physics and chemistry knowledge and lack of relevant work experience. Private tutoring is something I'd like to do even if its only on the side.

I have had a gander at the AIP "companies hiring recent physics bachelors" page and have seen many IT/telecom companies hire physicists, but I am guessing they hire people with serious programming or lab experience, am I wrong?

What kind of jobs should I aim for to get started? I do not care about being underemployed in the beginning, I am looking for something that I do right off the bat to get settled in a place and later move on if I don't find it rewarding enough.
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  • #16
Good afternoon,

Hi may name is Ja'far, I recently honorably discharged from the USAF. I'm currently studying to become a chemical engineer. I was wondering if it is hard for recent chemical engineer grads to find jobs over in Germany. I want to move there upon graduating or 2-3 years later. Should I look for german companies that have a market in the US and transfer or apply to a master program in germany and eventually find a job while in school. Anybody with experience with working over sea would be very valuable to my research into this topic.

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