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Physics degree - careers that involve programming?

  1. Nov 13, 2015 #1
    What are the chances of working in IT if you have a physics degree??

    How much do you have to work individually in order to gain the required programming knowledge??

    Are there relevant courses you can take as a physics undergrad?? Do you learn any programming language that is relevant to the IT industry at university if you study physics??

    I think I'm more interested in programming that involves technology (like robots or various devices that involve both computer science and physics) rather than making websites or what "regular" programmers do.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2015 #2
    Depends on which courses you take. If you are in the US, you have a huge liberty in which courses you take. So you could take several computer science and programming courses. This will help you. You could also try to do undergrad research in a computational project, where they expect you to program physical models. This will help. Doing an internship where you do programming will help you. Self-study and doing some project for yourself (where you e.g. try to make programs of physics stuff you saw in courses) will help.

    It's up to you really. You can end up with a bachelor in physics with minimal programming abilities, or with quite a lot of programming abilities.
  4. Nov 13, 2015 #3


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    Is there a reason why you don't take the most obvious and direct route and just major in IT?

  5. Nov 13, 2015 #4


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    I'm confused by this whole post, IT is more akin to networking than programming (at least what I'm familiar with, I could be wrong), IT skills would be more in the realm of CCNA and Security + certs, etc.

    It sounds like you want to be a programmer, not an IT or physicist. CS, software engineering, or maybe even EE or EP would be a logical major for you to do the above (The last two if you're also interested in robotics as well as programming). Like Micromass has said though, you can pick up these skills while majoring in physics (or anything really) and then sell yourself as a programmer to some entry level position. Although the more direct route would be to major in one of the above applied sciences.
  6. Nov 13, 2015 #5


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    I suspect the OP is in a country where everything computer-related is lumped together under a very broad term which is sometimes translated as "informatics", and here he tries to translate it as "IT" ("information technology"). But that term usually has a more restricted meaning in the US, as you note. I'd also include business-related programming (databases, etc.) under "IT".
  7. Nov 14, 2015 #6
    Yes. I was talking about "informatics", computer science. That's what I meant by IT.

    Also I'm going to study in the UK.
  8. Nov 14, 2015 #7
    I know it's not really a "practical" reason, but I really feel that studying physics will be more fullfiling in the long run. I mean, when I get older I won't have the time or the mental capacity to understand such a deep subject. I won't regret it if I will have to learn by myself some programming that I couldn't learn at university, but if I study Computer Science I will have many holes in my way of understanding the laws of nature, and I don't want this.

    My dream is to work at a big company and develop "tech stuff". Like working at Amazon and building/designing those drones or something like that. I don't think I would like being a researcher or a teacher, maybe it's not for me anyway.
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