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Physics or engineering? (Spain)

  1. May 20, 2015 #1
    I know this has been asked a lot, but I have to ask myself for an opinion factoring my own background:

    I'm a 18 year old high student from Spain, who has to choose his career in the next few weeks. I used to think I would study engineering at university, but during those last two years at high school I've been changing my mind significantly.
    First of all, what is taught at engineering doesn't really interest in the way physics does. Indeed, I mostly wanted to study engineering because since I was a child I've been disassembling and reassembling computers and all kinds of electronics (including recent Arduino projects) and the jobs a engineer can get are more similar to this "vocation" I had (building and designing electronics).
    However, in those last two years I also realized that physics classes REALLY interested me. Knowing how the world really is and how it works. As a child I was also interested in astronomy, though now I have found other fields in physics that interested me even more.

    So I'm more or less sure that physics as a career would be more interesting and fun than engineering, but what would I do after college? What does a physicist do exactly? Would I really struggle to find a job in my field? This uncertainty is what scares me most, as if I choose to be an engineer finding a job shouldn't be too difficult and I could also study physics though books and/or courses even if I wouldn't get any official acknowledgement.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2015 #2
    A physicist performs research, usually at a university. Know that the vast majority of physics majors never become professional physicists. In fact, most physics PhDs never become professional physicists. So the answer to your bolded question would be yes, getting a job as a physicist is hard. If this is what you want to do I suggest reading the "so you want to be a physicist" thread pinned to the top of the Academic Guidance forum. It describes the process from getting your first degree, getting into graduate school, getting your papers publised, presenting at conferences, finishing your phd, looking for and succeeding in post docs and then finally looking for a permanant position.
  4. May 20, 2015 #3


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    Are you allowed, in your region, to earn a degree in Physics and also enroll in some engineering courses, or to earn a "minor" in engineering along with your degree in Physics? As for actually finding a job later, one would need to be familiar with how "human resource managers" assess candidates for jobs in your region.
  5. May 21, 2015 #4
    Well, that's a shame. A job at something that I partially like seems better than a job at a different field to the one I studied, so I may just stick with a engineering degree. I have had read that pinned thread though.

    No. Or at least, none that I'm aware of (so probably there isn't an equivalent to that here in Spain). I could study a physics degree first and engineering afterwards (and I wouldn't need to take again subjects that I've already studied in the prior physics degree so I could finish it faster), but that would leave me with no master at all after 6 years (at best).
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