1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Those of you who found a job with just a B.Sc in Physics

  1. Apr 24, 2015 #1

    grandpa2390

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This question has been asked, but the thread is kind of old, so I am starting a new one.
    I am going to be graduating soon. and I will have to find a job. Just curious where and what I should be applying to.

    I got a Physics degree because I wanted to keep my options open. I don't care what I do, I just want a decent paycheck. whether it be engineering, finance, whatever. Please don't mistake this for arrogance (like i see people respond in other threads), I am not claiming to be more qualified than people who degreed in those fields, I realize the job search will tough, and that there will be a learning curve with whatever job I get, but that's ok. as long as I can find something making decent enough money to live and pay off student loan debt. :)

    So, if you found a job with a bachelor degree in Physics, what was your job title. and what did you do?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2015 #2

    grandpa2390

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I like what this guy says. Question is how do I find these companies. I mean. I met a few of them when I worked at Sam's Club. I know they exist in my area.
     
  4. Apr 24, 2015 #3

    vela

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor

    Just last week, a professor from a local university noted that the applied physics graduates from his school generally didn't have a tough time finding jobs. His students found jobs in engineering, with biotech companies, etc. He advised not mentioning "physics" if possible. The main impediment, he found, was getting past the human resources people, who think if you didn't major in engineering, you're not qualified for an entry-level engineering job, for example. If you can, contact hiring managers directly.

    The professor mentioned that some companies were hesitant to hire the physics graduates initially (the campus he works at is relatively new), but afterward, they told him they wanted to hire more of his students. He felt it was because companies wanted to hire someone who could bring in a different viewpoint and look at a problem with a broader perspective. The main issue for you would be to get past preconceptions of the people doing the hiring and convince them that your education provided you with skills that will help them.

    You might want to talk to the professors at your school and see if they can give you advice for getting a job locally. Sorry I can't offer you specific advice, but I wish you luck in your job search.
     
  5. Apr 24, 2015 #4

    grandpa2390

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    no that's good advice. I have a professor that I have a good relationship with. And this is a specific example of success rather than the vague advice we generally received when we chose to go into physics 4 years ago lol. :)

    I just wish I had worked harder in my younger days and my gpa was higher. Though my professor says not to be too concerned about it. Until I get my foot in somewhere, I can't help but be.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  6. Apr 24, 2015 #5
    I worked in a restaurant as my first job out of undergrad and grad school with physics degrees. I don't have much advise for you besides going back to school for a graduate degree of some kind. Many of my fellow grads with only a BS went on to teach and got graduate degrees in teaching.

    After studying some engineering I now work in a fab as a process engineer. We get physics BS applicants for our technician positions occasionally, and we interviewed one once. But they usually lack the experience that less educated people have and their education isn't really useful to us. Its tough. Keep trying and don't let yourself stagnate. Work on developing some real, marketable skills.
     
  7. Apr 24, 2015 #6

    grandpa2390

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well I am taking electrical engineering classes. My degree program has concentrations. you can choose to concentrate in physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, etc.

    I mean it isn't equivalent to an engineering degree, but having circuits and digital systems, etc. should be of some benefit... right?
     
  8. Apr 25, 2015 #7

    grandpa2390

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    That's it! I am going to force myself to learn Python (unless somebody has a different recommendation). I am determined that upon graduation I will find a job doing something, whether I love it or hate it. I can find a career I like after I am debt-free.
     
  9. Apr 27, 2015 #8
    Python is definitely a good language to learn, it's syntax is relatively simple and it can be paired with other languages like C++ and Fortran. This coursera course can get you started in the right direction:

    https://www.coursera.org/course/scicomp
     
  10. Apr 27, 2015 #9

    grandpa2390

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    excellent. thankyou

    I need to take two upper level Physics courses. which would be most beneficial to an industry job after graduation.

    Phys 4201 - Introduction to Mathematical Physics
    PHYS 4205 - Application of the Fourier Transform
    PHYS 4211 - Intro to Computational Physics
    PHYS 4322 - Introduction to Acoustics
    PHYS 4507 - Gravity and Magnetics
    PHYS 4521 - Modern Optics
    PHYS 4801 - Nuclear and Reactor Physics
    PHYS 4901 - Condensed Matter and Matris Physics
     
  11. Apr 28, 2015 #10
    Most of those may have a small benefit in a particular industry. . . but honestly, none sound all that useful. If I was in your position I guess I'd take computational physics and CM.

    In general, physics BS programs aren't designed to provide employable skills. They could, but they generally choose not to. So if you have the opportunity to take some classes outside those two as well, that could supplement your education. Also want to be looking at what you do outside of class.
     
  12. Apr 28, 2015 #11
    As to the title of the thread, I got my first job after my BS by asking around in the physics departments. This was a while ago (and there was a lot of luck involved), but it should still be a viable option, and it's pretty inexpensive.
     
  13. Apr 30, 2015 #12

    grandpa2390

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    well, what kind of job did you get, and what did you do? How did you contribute in your job?
     
  14. Apr 30, 2015 #13
    If you want money go into finance. Learn some computational skills and go that route. The problem today is that companies are not willing to teach anyone on the job and they expect extremely esoteric (or at least a very narrowly defined skill set). I remember when I was job hunting I saw an add for "5 to 10 years in oil extraction corrosion engineering". Who the hell has that kind of experience? I work in the naval industry and we don't have specialized corrosion engineers yet we deal with corrosion problems on a regular basis.

    I think the smartest thing to do is call companies regularly and inquire about available positions. I would recommend keeping the company employee count below 500. I work for a government contractor and all I do is paperwork. So much for a 60 grand engineering degree.
     
  15. Apr 30, 2015 #14

    grandpa2390

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    so you don't make 60 grand? :( that's the whole point of engineering. too start out making at least 60 grand a year.

    Ok so you say to learn some computational skills. I am going to take computational physics over the summer. Are you also recommending a minor in Finance or Economics? My university offers both and I don't know the difference. Of course my instinct says that finance (since that is what you said).

    I am going to attempt to find some kind kind of online teacher or helpful community for computer science because I need personal help. at least to get me on the right track and then try and do computer science. I know just enough about computer science that I am bored and don't pay attention for half the semester. and by the time I realize new information is being introduced, I miss it. And now I can't continue because though I aced the first half of the semester, I scraped by at the end and wouldn't stand a chance in part 2 of the series. I'm gonna try MIT open courseware

    Thank you, and any more advice and clarification is sincerely welcomed and appreciated.

    OH! and I live in the New Orleans, Louisiana area. That might affect whether finance is an available option. I am not sure. I know there are plenty of engineering opportunities, and factory/industries.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015
  16. Apr 30, 2015 #15
    I work with chemists and materials engineers with that kind of experience, corrosion is actually a multi-billion dollar industry. I also work for a government contractor and I agree that that's where lots of the jobs at lots of national labs and research facilities end up going; I'd suggest looking up smaller companies that act as sub contractors or contractors to government authorities, they can lead to some lucrative jobs. I admit there were periods where I was doing nothing but reports but I've also got to do lots of interesting testing, modeling, and simulation as well so I've put my engineering and physics degrees to decent use. Your individual miles may vary.
     
  17. Apr 30, 2015 #16

    grandpa2390

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    that sounds great. honestly, at this point, I do not care what I do. as long as the work pays decent enough, and is steady/secure. And doesn't involve flipping burgers (unless it is at a company barbecue... lol) I don't mind sitting around all day doing paperwork, or punching data into a computer. not if it pays decent enough. :)
    thnx
     
  18. Apr 30, 2015 #17
    No, I make more than 60 grand a year, but it is still a lot of debt for a new grad. It doesn't matter how highly paid you are if your income to debt ratio is less than or near 1. 60 grand is a very high starting salary for all except the richest parts of the country. But if you just want money you'd be foolish to go into engineering. Go into finance. Work on wall street. Pick up a copy of "The intelligent investor" and build your portfolio. Only suckers work a 9 to 5 to get wealthy.
     
  19. May 1, 2015 #18
    I worked in a lab. My job was somewhere between that of a lab tech and a researcher. The work was actually very similar to what a physics grad student in an experimental field would do, but it didn't overwhelm my life like grad school does.

    I've since changed careers. Now I make 5x as much now as I did at that job, I'm treated better, I have more autonomy, I have more learning opportunities, and I have more room for growth. It was an awful job, but it was sure better than nothing, and you might have better luck than I did. Best of luck to you.
     
  20. May 1, 2015 #19
    Strongly disagree with all of this. Most jobs in finance are either high paying sales jobs (with fanicer names) that are very stressful and utilize a very different set of skills than those with physics degrees have, or they are low/medium paying grunt jobs that would bore most physics students to tears. There are some really interesting quantitative jobs out there, but someone with a BS in physics doesn't just walk into them.

    The financial sector has been bleeding jobs for years. I don't understand this forum's obsession with it, and don't recommend most of it to those looking for work.
     
  21. May 5, 2015 #20

    StatGuy2000

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    This forum is obsessed with the financial sector because there have been people (like former PF poster twofish-quant) who graduated with a PhD in physics and/or similar quantitative fields (math, applied math, etc.) and ended up working in quantitative jobs in finance. So naturally, people who have completed a BS in physics will think this could be a potential career path open to them, considering that there really isn't any other obvious career paths that a BS in physics will open up, apart from elementary/secondary school teaching.

    If as you state above that the financial sector has been bleeding jobs for years (which is not the case in Canada, where I'm from, as far as I'm aware, btw), then it may be worth asking what career paths should a BS in physics look into, if as you state above, physics programs don't offer any obvious marketable skills.

    I know that in your case you became an actuary, but the actuarial field isn't necessarily an obvious career path for physics grads -- it may make more sense to earn a BS in math, applied math, statistics, or operations research rather than fields (assuming that there isn't an undergraduate program in actuarial science, as is the case in a number of Canadian and American schools).
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Those of you who found a job with just a B.Sc in Physics
  1. To those who hire (Replies: 7)

Loading...