Should I Learn LabVIEW for My Career in Applied Physics?

  • Thread starter Spurious J
  • Start date
In summary, this introductory LabVIEW training course is available through my school and includes an NI CLAD test at the end. It is widely used in industry and is worth taking the time to learn.
  • #1
A LabVIEW training course is being offered through my school, complete with an NI CLAD test at the end.

I've used the program but always looked down on it, assuming it was backwards or something, because of the graphical display, I guess.

I'm wondering, how widely used is it in industry and is it worth taking the time to learn?

I'm planning on making a career in some sort of applied physics field, microwaves with Raytheon or plasma engines at Aerojet, something along those lines.
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  • #2
My college has a LabVIEW class as a required course, and according to them, there are a lot of jobs in industry that use LabVIEW. One of the guys in my class used LabVIEW at NIST as an intern over the summer.

That being said, a search on shows only 4 hits for "labview" within 30 miles of my zip code (near Baltimore, MD), but 19 hits for "matlab."

On the other hand, you mentioned Aerojet. Check out this job posting: [Broken]
Requires the ability to read electrical schematics and be highly competent working with computers, controllers and running software programs (Labview is desirable)

Emphasis mine... Aerojet uses Labview. It might be worth learning.
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  • #3
Labview is the de facto standard for controlling measurement equipment in labs, so yes it is definitely worth learning. That said, it is perhaps more common in academia than in industry (although it is fairly common there are well).

(note that I am not saying it is the BEST environment for doing this, but is it by far the most common).
  • #4
Unfortunately, it is used just about everywhere and it is definitely a software worth learning if you want to work in a lab. Your feelings of it being an ***-backwards software package are shared by many (including myself) but yet we are forced to use it.
  • #5
Hmm, what are your thoughts on this? Can you really learn a significant amount of LabView from a mere 8 hours of lab work?

Dear Physics Majors,

Some of you may be interested in taking this LabView Training course.
If you complete 8 or more sessions with satisfactory homework grades you also get to take the $300 NI CLAD Certification test for free.

This is not a regular UW course.

margot We are offering the LabVIEW training class again this Winter Quarter. Please visit the online registration if you are interested:



Location and Time:

The lectures will take place in Sieg 232 on Tuesdays from 12:30am-1:50pm. Lectures start the second week of the quarter (3/28). Enrollment is 45 seats. Lab sessions will be held Fridays from 9:00am-10:00am also in Sieg232.Summary:

Ten Week Introductory LabVIEW course. Experience with data acquisition will be provided. CLAD certification exam offered during finals week after satisfactory completion of course. Special topic lectures will be provided at request.Description:

This course will take you through the fundamentals of the LabVIEW environment in preparation to use it as a powerful T&M tool. Each week will have one 1.5 hr lecture and a follow-up homework assignment afterwards to re-emphasize the lecture material.At the end of the sessions, anyone who has completed eight or more sessions with satisfactory homework grades will be eligible to take the NI CLAD certification test. This test is normally $300, but NI is offering it for free given satisfactory completion of the course.
  • #6
Simfish said:
Hmm, what are your thoughts on this? Can you really learn a significant amount of LabView from a mere 8 hours of lab work?

8 hours of lab work plus 12 hours of lectures, the way I read it.

If this is properly structured and run, you should learn a lot more than in the same amount of time on your own. I would expect the "lab work" would be focused on using labview, not diluted with the usual time-consuming hassles "real" lab work.

And you get a piece of paper that says you have learned something. A cynic might say that certificate is more useful than actually learning anything, in todays dumbed-down job market.
  • #7
Ah, thanks very much for the reply!

Another question: Do you feel that LabView also helps with your knowledge+intuition for physics in general? (as in, do the benefits of learning it also transfer to non-Labview related things?) I'm into astrophysics, so it will be extremely unlikely that I would ever use Labview for anything. But I'm still very interested in the stuff.
  • #8
SimFish, that's the class I took. Justin did a good job teaching it, but I got too busy at the end and wasn't able to finish. I audited it here and there the next quarter and found that he had really improved the course. I'd recommend it.
  • #9
Oh wow I see - thanks for the info. Are you a physics major? What year are you in?
  • #10
I think it would be more useful to learn c++. With Measurement, and Visual studio hardware and guis are easily programmed. I think Labview is more of niche market.
  • #11
Spurious J said:
SimFish, that's the class I took. Justin did a good job teaching it, but I got too busy at the end and wasn't able to finish. I audited it here and there the next quarter and found that he had really improved the course. I'd recommend it.

Yo what do you learn in that class? What are the homeworks on, etc. I want to know if I should sign up for it next quarter.
  • #12
Labview is a very good software package worth learning. I would suggest you learn it especially if you are into instrementation and FPGAs.
  • #13
If you want to work as an experimentalist, or do any type of work involving instrumentation, data acquisition, etc. then LabVIEW will be well worth your time.

I learned LabVIEW as an undergrad at an REU. When I joined a lab in grad school, I spent a good deal of time learning a lot of new stuff- how to work with lasers and optics, MATLAB, Comsol, but I knew LabVIEW already. So, I was able to make contributions to the group in that regard, right from the beginning. (Without LabVIEW, I would have been entirely useless was I first started! :rolleyes:)

I consider it one the most important skills I got from my REU.

1. Is LabVIEW a widely used programming language?

Yes, LabVIEW is a widely used programming language, particularly in the field of scientific and engineering applications. It is used by over 350,000 users worldwide and is the preferred language for data acquisition, control systems, and test and measurement applications.

2. What are the main advantages of learning LabVIEW?

Learning LabVIEW offers several advantages, including a user-friendly graphical programming interface, powerful data analysis and visualization tools, and compatibility with a wide range of hardware and devices. It also has a large and active community of developers and users, providing support and resources for learning and troubleshooting.

3. How difficult is it to learn LabVIEW?

The difficulty of learning LabVIEW depends on your previous programming experience and the complexity of the applications you want to build. For beginners, the graphical programming interface can make it easier to learn and understand compared to other text-based languages. The LabVIEW community also offers extensive resources, tutorials, and training courses to help users get started.

4. Can LabVIEW be used for all types of scientific applications?

LabVIEW is a versatile language that can be used for a wide range of scientific applications, including data acquisition, process control, simulation, and analysis. It also has specialized toolkits for specific industries, such as biomedical, automotive, and aerospace, making it suitable for various scientific fields.

5. Is learning LabVIEW a valuable skill for a scientist?

Yes, learning LabVIEW is a valuable skill for a scientist. It is a widely used language in scientific and engineering industries, and proficiency in LabVIEW can make you a more competitive candidate for job opportunities. Additionally, the skills and knowledge gained from learning LabVIEW can be applied to various scientific fields and can enhance your problem-solving and data analysis abilities.

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