What are the intellectually MOST rigorous jobs?

In summary, Jobs, which require a good set of intelligence and hard work? seem to be mostly found in academic fields.
  • #1
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Jobs, which require a good set of intelligence and hard work?
 
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  • #2
I would put quantum physics at the top of my list, and then maybe electrical engineering and pure mathematics.
 
  • #3
avant-garde said:
I would put quantum physics at the top of my list, and then maybe electrical engineering and pure mathematics.

These are not jobs.
 
  • #4
fine, careers...
what do u have on your list, j93?
 
  • #5
I think the point that J93 was making was that you've listed academic subjects, which are not really jobs or careers (with perhaps the exception of electrical engineering).

While there are jobs that may sound impressive, intellectual rigor is largely a subjective quantity. A janitor could have an intellectually rigorous job, while an engineer who 'stamps' blueprints may not actually put in all that much skull sweat to get the job done. Ultimately, you get the rigour out that you put in.
 
  • #6
Outside of academia there are almost no jobs that requires more knowledge than the average high school student can master in half a year.
 
  • #7
Count Iblis said:
Outside of academia there are almost no jobs that requires more knowledge than the average high school student can master in half a year.

Where do you people come from saying garbage like this?
 
  • #8
daveyinaz said:
Where do you people come from saying garbage like this?


From academia. I know quite a few people who have jobs outside of academia who also have worked in academia or at least studied physics and or math at a very high evel. It is their opinion that while in some jobs people with advanced degrees are hired, you do not need the skills you have studied for to actually do the job.
 
  • #9
Count Iblis said:
From academia. I know quite a few people who have jobs outside of academia who also have worked in academia or at least studied physics and or math at a very high evel. It is their opinion that while in some jobs people with advanced degrees are hired, you do not need the skills you have studied for to actually do the job.

That's quite a different statement than saying that their jobs can be done by high schoolers... Most people I've seen agree they don't use everything they learned in college but I don't believe any of them would say that a high schooler could do their jobs.
 
  • #10
How could the most intellectual jobs involve working under someone elses directions? The most mentally demanding jobs are either doing academic research full-time with no teaching, or using your intellect to create a product and run a business.
 
  • #11
Not a parent, but being a stay at home mom/dad raising 2+ kids would probably be high on the list...
 
  • #12
Professor of Intellectual Rigor.
 
  • #13
A parent!? Hardly. I know we worship children and parents in our culture but it's hardly an intellectually demanding job. Physically, yes and patience-wise yes.
 
  • #14
Count Iblis said:
Outside of academia there are almost no jobs that requires more knowledge than the average high school student can master in half a year.
Outside of academia you could be a cryptographer (for the NSA most likely), a bond trader for a hedge fund, you could work for NASA, you could do R&D for a company, be a doctor, lawyer etc.
 
  • #15
qntty said:
Outside of academia you could be a cryptographer (for the NSA most likely), a bond trader for a hedge fund, you could work for NASA, you could do R&D for a company, be a doctor, lawyer etc.

Thank you qntty...I wasn't about to sit there and try to explain to the ignorant that researchers are not only found in the academic world or repeat the words of Choppy.
 
  • #16
MissSilvy said:
A parent!? Hardly. I know we worship children and parents in our culture but it's hardly an intellectually demanding job. Physically, yes and patience-wise yes.

Unless you want a superhuman project child who has a nervous breakdown in his twenties like John Stewart Mill. His father had a carefully planned training regimen.
 
  • #17
Anything taken to an extreme is demanding. Such seems to be the nature of extremes, but I'm just commenting 'in general'.

And back on topic, I think anything in research or 'innovations'-type fields would be quite demanding.
 
  • #18
avant-garde said:
Jobs, which require a good set of intelligence and hard work?

Every job I've ever had (all the part-time, sandwich shop/supermarket etc.) included can fit into this. Hard work is what you make of it, there are some jobs where you can get away without doing any work - but that's because someone else is lazy as well. I prefer to know I'm doing a good job. Using ones own intelligence is optional in some cases as well, but there's always a smart way to work! :)

What I'm building up to is the fact that I'm not sure what you're looking to get out of this thread? You've posted it in the academic guidance forum, does that mean you're looking to find a career based on how 'difficult and demanding' they are? or is this thread just for general chat?

I think the question is, as others have said, rather subjective. If you're looking for a general 'who has the most intellectually challenging job?' or something then i'll say: I'm a physicist, there's certain ways I like to learn things and deal with problems - I have a good friend that's a lawyer and through observation I'm almost certain I would struggle to get through an undergraduate degree in law nevermind be able to fit into a position.
 
  • #19
Waste management. You take a lot of sh*t from everyone.
 
  • #20
Maybe a job on wall-street or in stocks, need a shed load of intuition and being able to act on it, managers of corporations, project managers on practically any project doubtless won't be successful without a lot of intellect, i don't know, bieng successful in anything, perhaps.
 
  • #21
MissSilvy said:
A parent!? Hardly. I know we worship children and parents in our culture but it's hardly an intellectually demanding job. Physically, yes and patience-wise yes.

I'm guessing you don't have children.
 
  • #22
Lawyer is very demanding. You have to be on your feet when you are called to do so.

Computer programmers likewise need to think a lot and apply a lot of knowledge.

Bankers and directing positions are extremely difficult too, particularily the work and pressure one puts in before obtaining such a title.
 
  • #23
qntty said:
a bond trader for a hedge fund.

Shamanism and fraud hiding behind a mask of intellectual rigour.
 
  • #24
Howers said:
Lawyer is very demanding. You have to be on your feet when you are called to do so.

That is not intellectual rigour, it calls for similar skills to those of a car salesman..
 
  • #25
mal4mac said:
That is not intellectual rigour, it calls for similar skills to those of a car salesman..

That seems a bit denigrating, and based more on the stereotype of a lawyer than the reality. Being a lawyer requires a voluminous amount of knowledge and a great deal of work. It's popular, and amusing in a quaint way, to villify them, but hardly fair or precise.

A number of the responses seem to either be in jest or to be straying rather far afield from what I think the intent of the thread was; rather than continuing to toss obscure or ridiculous suggestions into the hat (Buddhist monk... contemplating Zen koans is brutal!), perhaps we could simply refine the question.

What occupations involving the study or application of physics, engineering, or math are the most intellectually demanding? A subjective inquiry, of course, but one that may prompt some interesting discussion if people are willing to elaborate on why they respond the way they do.
 
  • #26
A good lawyer needs to have an expansive memory(to recall a precedent, or anything that might help his case) and the ability to build a logical argument using a potentially shifting pool of facts, at least that's if you're doing non criminal. I guess if its criminal law you're talking about you might be right.
 
  • #27
Count Iblis said:
Outside of academia there are almost no jobs that requires more knowledge than the average high school student can master in half a year.

...Yeah, that isn't true at all. Are you still a student?
 
  • #28
Maxwell said:
...Yeah, that isn't true at all. Are you still a student?

As I explained above, this is true in practice for most jobs, even jobs where they ask for highly qualified people. You can take a high schooler, give him/her inensive training for a year or so and he/she will do just fine. Exceptions would be medical specialists, astronauts etc.

A friend of mine has a Ph.D in math and works for an insurance company. A Ph.D was said to be required when he applied for the job. But he says that his job only involves high school level math.
 
  • #29
Count Iblis said:
As I explained above, this is true in practice for most jobs, even jobs where they ask for highly qualified people. You can take a high schooler, give him/her inensive training for a year or so and he/she will do just fine. Exceptions would be medical specialists, astronauts etc.

A friend of mine has a Ph.D in math and works for an insurance company. A Ph.D was said to be required when he applied for the job. But he says that his job only involves high school level math.

I still don't see why you're so confident your statement is "true in practice for most jobs". What are you basing this statement off of? One or two samples?

You friend's situation is not even true for most math PhDs, so I don't see how you think it can be true for most jobs. It's not true in engineering, that I can tell you first hand. Especially for engineers with advanced degrees and are hired because of those degrees.
 
  • #30
Maxwell said:
I still don't see why you're so confident your statement is "true in practice for most jobs". What are you basing this statement off of? One or two samples?

You friend's situation is not even true for most math PhDs, so I don't see how you think it can be true for most jobs. It's not true in engineering, that I can tell you first hand. Especially for engineers with advanced degrees and are hired because of those degrees.

A sample of about 40 jobs of friends, family members etc. Most of what you need to know apart from what you've learned in high school to do the job, can be learned in about a year's time.

An uncle of mine is an engineer. When new engineers are hired he has to supervise them in the first few months. He often complains about the new recruits not knowing even the basic things. It was he who told me that you could take a high schooler, give him half a year's training and he'll do just fine. He claims that it is true for most jobs.

The more I thought about that, the more I agreed with him. Change the half a year to a year and it is almost universially true except for very specialized jobs like surgeons and plumbers.
 
  • #31
I'm actually starting to come around to this idea that you can train people for most jobs in a years time. When you think about it, a year is a LONG time to train for a single job. When you get your college education, you're training for work in an entire field in most cases, not just a single job. Although I think the caveat is whether or not someone with a high school education is intellectually mature enough to "think outside the box" at their job.

I digress though, I only really know one field to any decent extent!
 
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  • #32
Count Iblis said:
A sample of about 40 jobs of friends, family members etc. Most of what you need to know apart from what you've learned in high school to do the job, can be learned in about a year's time.

An uncle of mine is an engineer. When new engineers are hired he has to supervise them in the first few months. He often complains about the new recruits not knowing even the basic things. It was he who told me that you could take a high schooler, give him half a year's training and he'll do just fine. He claims that it is true for most jobs.

The more I thought about that, the more I agreed with him. Change the half a year to a year and it is almost universially true except for very specialized jobs like surgeons and plumbers.

So you're talking about entry level jobs. The original post, and your original claim, was regarding jobs in general. The original poster was inquiring after intellectually rigorous careers in general, not just entry level positions.

Let me tell you right away - a high schooler with a year of training won't be doing the same work as an engineer, physicist, or mathematician with advanced degrees working in industry (in their field).

There are jobs that just require you to have a degree, but that is a different situation.

It sounds like you are still in college and have not started your career yet. Obtain your MS or PhD, get a job in industry, and work for a few years. Then let me know if you still have the same opinion.
 
  • #33
I obtained my Ph.D quite a while ago and I'm self employed. I actually started working when I was 14 for my dad who was also an engineer like my uncle. I was far ahead with my math and physics. My father would be working on project involving thermodynamical calculations for powerplant designs and I would assist him with that.

I could help my dad, because I had mastered calculus, could compute integrals, solve differential equations, was able to write programs to do these things numerically, was able to solve nonlinear equations via iteration techniques, etc. etc.

I learned all that from my father's university books myself in just a few years (from age 12 onwards). I just spent a few hours per week studying math.

So, here you have an example of someone almost from primary school who was able to do a job for which university degrees are asked. And I didn't even get specialized training from my dad in engineering.
 
  • #34
Count Iblis, you are clearly not a representative example of all 12 year olds. Also, your education was not obtained via primary school, it was obtained by close interaction with a very well-educated tutor, your father. Few children as are fortunate.

It's totally laughable to extend your own personal experiences to the claim that "there are almost no jobs that requires more knowledge than the average high school student can master in half a year."

Do you know what average means? :rofl:

- Warren
 
  • #35
Count Iblis said:
I obtained my Ph.D quite a while ago and I'm self employed. I actually started working when I was 14 for my dad who was also an engineer like my uncle. I was far ahead with my math and physics. My father would be working on project involving thermodynamical calculations for powerplant designs and I would assist him with that.

I could help my dad, because I had mastered calculus, could compute integrals, solve differential equations, was able to write programs to do these things numerically, was able to solve nonlinear equations via iteration techniques, etc. etc.

I learned all that from my father's university books myself in just a few years (from age 12 onwards). I just spent a few hours per week studying math.

So, here you have an example of someone almost from primary school who was able to do a job for which university degrees are asked. And I didn't even get specialized training from my dad in engineering.

... all of that IS high school work. I was doing most of that in high school as well (calculus and programming). Not one thing you mentioned is something a mathematician, engineer, or physicist with an MS or PhD would be doing in industry for a company. They might use those tools and techniques, but certainly not as a focus. They are just expected to know it and use it if necessary.

To be completely honest, I'm not sure I believe you. I think you're making a lot of this stuff up in order to make your extreme opinion more acceptable.

What was your PhD in?
 

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