Should I major in Computer Science, Physics, or Aerospace Engineering?

In summary, it is important to consider what you enjoy the most when choosing a career, and to factor in what tools and languages you are familiar with.
  • #1
unknown_9
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<< Mentor Note -- two threads on same subject merged. Please do not cross-post across forums here >>

I am passionate about Physics, Computer Science, and Aerospace Engineering. I am about to start my freshman year of college in the fall and have yet to decide which would be the most reliable career. If I major in physics I know that I would need a Ph.D. to participate in actual research, and I've read that Aerospace Engineering jobs are declining. Also I am open to double majoring. Thank you for any responses!
 
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  • #2
Start in engineering. There you will take engineering and physics as core curriculum, and you can easily add a computer science course as an elective. Once you have done that, reevaluate your preferences. You may find that you have a stronger preference for one or two than you realize at this point.
 
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  • #3
I'm about to begin my freshman year of college, and I am currently deciding what I would like to major in. Is a it difficult to find a career in CS? I also hear many different "average salaries" for a career in this field. My hope would be to have the title of software developer. What should I expect?
 
  • #4
A career in Software Engineering is all about accomplishments - although you also need an engineering degree.
In general, employers will look for a resume that shows a lot of successful experience using the specific software tools (C++, MFC, Code Collaborator, ...) that they use.
Even the interns we hire here are expected to have some experience in whatever position they will be working. In one case, for example, Python, C++, and Matlab. So we would be looking for someone who has created something of value with those tools.
 
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  • #5
At this point I think it's important to realize that you're not choosing a career. You're choosing an educational path. The two are related, but just because you study physics, or computer science or mechanical engineering, does not mean that you will end up as a physicist, computer scientist, or aerospace engineer. A lot of people get a year or two into one direction and then switch gears. A lot of graduates take what jobs are available when they graduate.

The first year of university will actually be common enough between those majors that you can probably switch part way through if you find that you have a strength or preference for one area over the others.

All of that said, unless you're pretty sure that you want to do physics or computer science, I would recommend defaulting to engineering because engineering programs tend to be professionally oriented degrees.
 
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  • #6
unknown_9 said:
I am passionate about Physics, Computer Science, and Aerospace Engineering.
How are you passionate for each one? Are you a member of your school's Physics Club? If so, what have been your favorite activites in the club?

What programming languages have you learned so far, and what are the best/most fun programs you have written so far? Have you written any games? Any smartphone apps? Any graphics-based GUI apps?

Are you a member of your local Model Rocketry club? What sparks your interest in Aerospace Engineering? Have you done an introductory flight in a private plane? (introductory flights with a pilot instructor aren't too expensive, and can be an inspiring start)
unknown_9 said:
have yet to decide which would be the most reliable career.
When deciding on a "reliable career", I think you should be sure to factor in what you enjoy the most. All three of the career paths you've outlined can lead to good and well-paying careers if you study hard, work hard, and do well in them. Because of that, it may be the most important thing to pick the path that you are truly finding passion and enjoyment in.
Choppy said:
The first year of university will actually be common enough between those majors that you can probably switch part way through if you find that you have a strength or preference for one area over the others.
I switched majors before my junior year, based on the classes that I enjoyed the most. I'm glad I ended up on the career path that I did. :smile:
 
  • #7
I like Dale's advice. Straightforward and safe.

You could even be learning programming languages on your own as you take those initial courses. This is a good idea, for all the reasons .Scott gives.
 
  • #9
THIS from Choppy:
you study physics, or computer science or mechanical engineering, does not mean that you will end up as a physicist, computer scientist, or aerospace engineer. A lot of people get a year or two into one direction and then switch gears. A lot of graduates take what jobs are available when they graduate.
 
  • #10
<< Mentor Note -- two threads on same subject merged. Please do not cross-post across forums here >>

Hello! I am currently enrolled in university and I am about to begin my freshman year. I am looking for a career that will allow me to be involved in either space travel, air travel, renewable energy, etc. I haven't decided about which majors would be most effective at helping me achieve this goal. I am going to double major regardless, so if anyone could recommend which double major would make me a more valuable member in these industries, it would be appreciated: Aero Engineering/Comp-Sci , Physics/Comp-Sci , or Aero Engineering/Physics.
 
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  • #11
This sounds a lot like "I don't know what I want to do. How do I get there?" "space travel, air travel, renewable energy, etc." is very, very vague. With vague goals, we can only give vague guidance.
 
  • #12
Vanadium 50 said:
This sounds a lot like "I don't know what I want to do. How do I get there?" "space travel, air travel, renewable energy, etc." is very, very vague. With vague goals, we can only give vague guidance.

Very good point. Let's say I wished to work In the aerospace industry direclty working with spacecraft design. Which of the 3 double majors would make me the most valueable?
 
  • #13
Too many topics and you're not sure what to pick. Start with Physics, Engineering, or both. Decide as you move along.
 
  • #14
This might be too simple, but have you tried just looking at the "careers" section on the websites of a company you might want to work for someday? What kind of degree are they looking for in their job postings?

My guess is that the jobs asking for a CS degree or software engineering experience will greatly outnumber the ones asking for aerospace engineering or physics.
 

Related to Should I major in Computer Science, Physics, or Aerospace Engineering?

1. Should I choose my major based on job prospects?

While job prospects can be a factor in choosing a major, it should not be the only consideration. It's important to choose a major that aligns with your interests and strengths, as this will ultimately lead to better job satisfaction and success in your chosen field.

2. Which major has the highest earning potential?

This can vary depending on the specific job and industry, but in general, careers in computer science and aerospace engineering tend to have higher earning potential compared to physics. However, it's important to consider other factors such as job satisfaction and work-life balance when making a decision.

3. Is one major more difficult than the others?

All three majors require a strong aptitude for math and problem-solving. However, the level of difficulty can vary depending on individual strengths and interests. It's important to choose a major that you are passionate about and willing to put in the effort to succeed.

4. Are there opportunities for overlap between these majors?

Yes, there can be opportunities for overlap between these majors. For example, computer science skills are increasingly important in the fields of physics and aerospace engineering. Additionally, many companies and industries value individuals with a diverse skill set and understanding of multiple disciplines.

5. Which major is best for someone interested in research?

All three of these majors can lead to research opportunities. Physics and aerospace engineering are more closely related to traditional research fields such as astrophysics and aeronautics, while computer science research can focus on areas such as artificial intelligence and data analysis. It's important to explore the specific research opportunities within each major and choose the one that aligns with your interests.

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