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Programming jobs related to astronomy

  1. Oct 23, 2013 #1
    I am currently a math major and I have one more year before graduating with a bachelors degree. There aren't many career opportunities for a math major -- with only a bachelors degree -- other than being a teacher or going to graduate school; which I heard is very challenging and has a lot of pressure in publishing and tenure politics. So, after I obtain my math degree I am going to go back to school and obtain a computer software/programming related degree. My question is there any programming or software engineer jobs related to astronomy (I love astronomy with a passion)? For example, building cameras for astronomers or programming an optical system. If there is, is it in high demand?

    Thank you for your time!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2013 #2
    The Space Telescope Science Institute, which manages the Hubble Space Telescope and will manage the James Webb Space Telescope, hires programmers to work on astronomy related jobs. Though, due to the excess of PhDs in physics, astronomy, and cosmology, I believe you will be competing with the aforementioned PhDs for these positions as the STSI prefer graduate degrees and astronomy experience or knowledge. Are you going back to school for a graduate degree in computer science?
  4. Oct 23, 2013 #3
    A friend of mine was the lead programmer for the Discovery Channel telescope built by Lowell Observatory. He has an undergrad in physics, and he specialized in grad school with a masters in optics and electrical engineering.
  5. Oct 23, 2013 #4
    Thanks for your responses.

    Jozape - If I must go back to school for a graduate degree then I will do so but my preferred choice is to just get an undergraduate computer science degree. Do you think that will suffice?

    Ben Espen - I have a math degree, can I do the same thing in going back to school with the concentration of optics and electrical engineering?
  6. Oct 24, 2013 #5

    I don't see why not. You might have more pre-reqs to fulfill, but in principle there is no obstacle to specializing in something like telescope control systems. Here is a relevant publication so you can gauge your interest level: http://spie.org/x648.html?product_id=857557#!
  7. Oct 24, 2013 #6
    I like astronomy too but there is no hire in my area
  8. Oct 24, 2013 #7
    Thank you Ben!
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