# Physics Jumping to engineering

1. Aug 14, 2018

### alterBlitz

Hello, I'm a recent graduate with a BS in engineering physics but I basically screwed up with major selection. I should've done some kind of engineering, but I couldn't settle on a type and had a very poor experience in statics and dynamics, so I thought "what the hell I'll do physics". So I did but in the process I realized grad school wasn't for me. Unfortunately, I didn't give myself much of an indication of what is for me, having failed to do any internships while in school. So I have a couple questions:

Can I actually break into a field of engineering? Can I actually do the work or learn what I need to on the fly for an entry level engineer position? If not, can I still secure internships?

I'm guessing some fields are easier to get into than others. What field of engineering would a physics grad have the best chances in?

2. Aug 14, 2018

### StatGuy2000

To the OP:

First of all, before any of us can tell you what field of engineering would you have the best chance in, you haven't stated what skills you have acquired while completing your degree in engineering physics.

If I was an employer, my question to you would be -- what can you do? What experiences (if any) do you have that is relevant for my business/organization? You stated you failed to pursue an engineering internship -- do you have any other type of work experience? Can you program?

You need to tell yourself (and us) what you have learned, done, and are capable of learning/doing.

3. Aug 14, 2018

### Staff: Mentor

Sounds like ME would not be a good fit, but EE probably would. How much of circuits and E&M and programming have you had so far? What kind of summer jobs have you had? Have you built any projects like circuits or robotics?

4. Aug 14, 2018

### FactChecker

You might look into Operations Research, often part of the Industrial Engineering department. I switched to it from pure mathematics and I consider it to be the best career decision I could have made. They were interested in me with a math background. Other Engineering departments told me to check back after taking years of undergraduate engineering classes. It is a delightful mixture of mathematics (linear and nonlinear optmization), computer science (descrete event and continuous simulation), statistics (data analysis, Monte Carlo techniques), and other interesting subjects. In any case, good luck with your search.

5. Aug 14, 2018

### Qurks

How many jobs really exist in Operations Research?

6. Aug 14, 2018

### FactChecker

I'm not sure that I can put a number on it. But I think there are a lot of jobs that involve some mixture of optimization, computer simulation, statistics, etc.

7. Aug 14, 2018

### alterBlitz

Besides a brief stint as an IT Intern in high school, my work experience is limited to 7 years in my family's restaurant. I'm basically the kitchen assistant manager. I can program a bit: I know some python and a little java. My bad statics/dynamics experience I think was unrelated to the material but more because it was a summer class I kinda blew off with a professor on his last class before retirement.

I have a year of physics lab too.

Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2018
8. Aug 14, 2018

### StatGuy2000

If your only work experience is limited to the family restaurant and the IT intern, and a year of physics lab, you don't have much to show to a potential employer (besides continuing work in the restaurant business). Have you worked on any personal projects related to programming or engineering on your own (e.g. open source code, robotics, circuits)?

My suggestion for you is to pursue a MS in an engineering discipline -- whichever engineering discipline that interests you, whether that be electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering/operations research, etc. Either that, or possibly beef up your programming and pursue a MS in computer science (if you like programming and considering going into software development).

And while you are pursuing your MS, definitely pursue an industrial internship, as this would provide you with the relevant industrial experience that can help you in landing future employment.

Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
9. Aug 14, 2018

### alterBlitz

I don't really have any substantial personal projects. I wrote some little DnD programs for rolling dice and rolling characters but that's about it.

Regarding MS programs, my GPA is pretty poor at university--2.69. But I was a transfer student and so my cumulative GPA is 3.16. Could I get into a master's program?

10. Aug 14, 2018

### Qurks

Your post is a bit timely considering my recent post on engineering physics but anyway your GPA might cause a problem. Basically all I can think of is doing a distance degree with lower admission standards and trying to ace the GRE.

11. Aug 14, 2018

### alterBlitz

As it is I have about 65k of debt. I don't want to add to that. I need to find an alternate career path perhaps.

12. Aug 14, 2018

### Qurks

Distances masters can be had for 20k, doesn't matter that much considering.

13. Aug 15, 2018

### StatGuy2000

If those are higher, then you might still have a possibility of pursuing a MS in an engineering field (if you count out the possibility of scholarships or funding, which will likely have to come out of further student loans -- you are likely to be paying an additional $20000-30000 in tuition and books, and so you would have a total of$85000-95000 in student loans altogether to finish such program). I know that sounds high, but if said degree can lead into a career opening, then I would at least want to take that into consideration.

I would suggest that you speak to the various engineering departments and explain your situation, and ask about the possibilities.

14. Aug 15, 2018

### verty

Have you tried to get an engineering job? I would do that, try and see what the responses are.

15. Aug 15, 2018

### Qurks

He could maybe get a job as a technician, no way he's going to get hired to do actual engineering.

16. Aug 15, 2018

### verty

Well maybe he can do that. I just think he should work for a year before doing his Masters, to be sure that it's what he wants to do, given the debt, etc. If he works as a technician, he can get an inkling of what the engineers around him are doing.

17. Aug 15, 2018

### Dr. Courtney

All job markets are local. In areas where demand is high and supply is low, a graduate with your degree has a better chance.

Think of your resume in terms of "What are my best skills for my local market?" rather than "What can I do with this degree?"

18. Aug 16, 2018

### StatGuy2000

I don't believe a distance masters program exists for engineering, at least in Canada. Perhaps the situation is different in the US?

19. Aug 16, 2018

### Qurks

Then you are very uninformed. They are all over the place both in the US and the UK. Arizona, Ohio, Idaho, NJ, UCLA, Imperial-College London, there are more.

20. Aug 16, 2018

### symbolipoint

What I would typically wonder for an ONLINE MASTER'S in ENGINEERING is, what is the laboratory situation? Student should need to handle materials and equipment directly, live, somehow.