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Major pains

  1. May 5, 2014 #1
    I don't know what I should major in, to keep it brief I've already took a year of calc, chemistry, a semester of ordinary diff eq, and physics.

    Right now Im in generic engineering and can branch out to electrical, industrial, bio medical, or mechanical or possibly transfer to another uni later with a few more options. But honestly I'm not to interested in engineering. What I'd really like to do is physics, but after reading around of how crappy academia is and how difficult it is to hold down a decent job I get discouraged. I just want an interesting career that involves science that has decent job security and pay. I'd rather be in the area of research and discovery then some schmuck working on some new break-pads for some massive corporation.

    I'm just not sure where to go.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2014 #2
    I am interested in physics too. Perhaps you can considered applied physics slash engineering physics. Physics is involved in quantum computing advances, material science, nanotechnology, and spectroscopy. Narrow in a specific branch of physics that has some fruit from it right now instead of just vaguely wanting the whole field.
  4. May 5, 2014 #3
    Well there is plenty of interesting topics in physics, but my favorites are astronomy/astrophysics and cosmology, however I only have a popsci level of knowledge in these areas and I would like to keep my self open till I get better understand of physics, and thats assuming I even go to physics.
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  5. May 5, 2014 #4
    i suppose that's safe, I still have a hard time figuring out what areas of science/engineering I want to do. Over time I figure it out. Generally the areas with a lot of funding seemed better to do then those without but if you're really passionate about something that will factor in too. gl!
  6. May 5, 2014 #5
    Go into chemistry and biology and help cure aging.
  7. May 6, 2014 #6
    Working on or designing new brake pads is research and discovery. Its research that has direct applications to saving lives. I wouldn't call those people "schmucks" at all...
  8. May 6, 2014 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    First, I agree completely with ModusPwnd.

    Second, if you are unwilling to work in academia, and unwilling to work in industry with the "schmucks", how exactly do you plan on getting paid?
  9. May 6, 2014 #8
    I guess I'm just pessimistic, my idea of academia is living off of cup noodles and cold pizza in a shared studio apartment for 15 years while being out competed by genius foreigners

    While industry is better I have view that I'll be working on something I have no interest on but little to know power to change, its a business after all, only for the project to be scrapped because the stereotypical evil clacking CEO has decided put funds just into lobbying around government restrictions or something.

    I guess I just have a warped view of the "real" world.
  10. May 6, 2014 #9


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    Something that might help here is to keep in mind that by chosing a particular field of study you are not necessarily consigning yourself to a particular set of jobs (or lack thereof).

    All careers are going to have elements that you enjoy and those you don't. The unfortunate catch is that you won't really know what these are until you've done them. At the stage of deciding on which subject area to pursue in post secondary education, you really only have interests to go on - that and the advice you get from others and perhaps your narrow scope of life experience. Of course, everyone else is in the same boat.

    So do your best to really explore the different options that you're considering. An engineer doesn't have to be a "schmuck" working as a corporate slave. You could, for example, look for positions with not-for-profit groups, or do volunteer work with a group like Engineers Without Borders. You could go into academia and focus on academic projects. You could use your skills to develop your own personal inventions and pursue those in an entrepreneurial sense.

    Similarly with physics, you're consigning yourself to a particular picture. The key point to take away from a lot of the more negative posts that you see, in my opinion, is that there's not going to be a cushy academic position waiting for you at the end of your degree. So if you decide to pursue physics, it's important to figure out a plan for how you are going to parlay that education into a career. Some people go into professional branches like medical physics or geophysics. Others develop programming skills that they can market. Others use their understanding of mathematics to go into "big data" or finanical modeling.

    Obviously not all of these opportunities are open to everyone, but I hope the general idea is at least clear. There will be opportunities that don't fit the conventional mold. And in some cases it's the people who pursue the unconventional routes that end up making the most significant impacts over their careers.
  11. May 6, 2014 #10
    I'm actually going into biology . Aging research is interesting.
  12. May 6, 2014 #11
    So, should I go with physics? This I what I want learn, there are many fascinating topics in physics, and In a perfect would without worrying about employment, working conditions, competition, loans, money in general it would go straight for it. But sadly we don't live in that world. If so, what should I do as a sort of quasi-back up, I'm thinking of maybe doubling majoring in math or at least taking lots of courses in it just to give me some elbow room if things don't go perfectly, I've tried some Compsci before and its not my thing really.
  13. May 6, 2014 #12
    I think you should change the mindset. Part of the power of science is control over nature. That sounds marketable to me. If you want to learn just to feel giddy about some tidbits of knowledge IMO you're not really seeing the power of science. Even physicists have to narrow in one some branch. Anyway I say go for it personally
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