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Job prospects for condensed matter physicists

  1. Aug 31, 2013 #1
    From reading this thread, it demonstrates a rather pessimistic view of physics (at least in relation to job employment). Would you say that similar job prospects are true, not only for cosmologists but even condensed matter physicists?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2013 #2
    If you have that kind of title ("condensed matter physicist"), then you have probably completed a PhD in the area. The job prospects are good. Having a PhD in physics of any sort gives you job prospects, but most who make it that far want more than just job prospects. They want a physics career with high pay. Getting a job as a professional physicist in your field is very, very hard.

    I did some condensed matter research for my physics masters. I've had a very difficult time finding a STEM job of any sort. But then, I only got a masters so that is not surprising.

    Also note that "condensed matter" is a huge sub-field. There many areas of condensed matter each with different job prospects. The area my labmates often found employment in was the semiconductor industry. In the US the semiconductor industry is one of the "20 industries with the largest projected wage and salary employment declines".

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t04.htm

    Regardless of that prediction about the semiconductor industry, I think that broadly condensed matter physicists are among the most marketable physicists there are. More marketable than cosmologists.
     
  4. Aug 31, 2013 #3
    The title may be slightly misleading. I'm actually only entering into first year undergraduate studies, but have recently began reading up on condensed matter physics (from my introductory physics textbook). So I was really just curious about job prospects in the field, as they compare to particle physics/cosmology.
    But anyways thanks for your response.
     
  5. Aug 31, 2013 #4
    Even at the undergrad level, I think doing some condensed matter research or taking extra classes in that area would be more marketable to industry than particle physics/cosmology. But it really depends on where you are trying to go. People who do undergrad research in particle physics/cosmology can have some marketable skills in programming and modeling.
     
  6. Sep 1, 2013 #5

    ZapperZ

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    There's one important piece of information that's missing here. Are you doing theoretical, or experimental work?

    The "employability" of an experimentalist is way different than the employability of a theorist. Doing an experimental condensed matter physics will force you to not only learn the subject matter, but also learn a whole slew of skills, including learning several different experimental techniques, learning about vacuum systems, learning how to do a bit of electronics, etc.. etc. A good Advisor will equip his/her students in such an area with a wealth of skills that are desirable for work in industries.

    Zz.
     
  7. Sep 1, 2013 #6
    Preferably, I'd want to do theoretical work (based upon my minimal knowledge topological insulators or Bose-Einstein condensates seem like interesting areas), although I know employability favors the practical facets of the subject.
     
  8. Sep 1, 2013 #7

    ZapperZ

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    Then make sure you equip yourself with strong computational/data analysis/etc. skills, because you may have to call up on those when you are looking for jobs outside of physics.

    Zz.
     
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