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Job Skills What to do this summer for a future in engineering?

  1. Mar 30, 2015 #1
    Currently I am a sophomore physics undergrad, and I want to do some type of engineering/applied physics work after college. I'm OK with going to grad school for engineering.

    The reason I'm not just majoring in electrical or aerospace engineering in college is because I go to UChicago where we don't offer engineering.

    Now for this summer I have basically two options:

    1) Continue working in the research group at Fermilab I've been working in since spring of freshman year. This is very hands-on work with electrical, programming, and SolidWorks work.

    2) Work an internship at a financial firm where I will be a programmer and analyst and then return to the research position for the following school year. This internship has significantly better pay.

    Then next summer (the summer after my junior year) I plan to go into an engineering internship that will hopefully lead to a full time position.

    Now I know my position isn't the best one to be in, it was caused by my laziness and not being on top of things when it came to looking for engineering roles, but these are my options.

    If you were in my position, which would you take?

    To be honest I'm not really even set on what I want to do after school. Engineering sounds like what I have enjoyed the most, so that's what I am leaning toward. However, I also want to explore other options such as finance, since I'm not sure how I feel about them.

    I just want to know if you guys think that working a programming job at a finance firm is just completely shooting myself in the foot, and leaving myself with no chance of scoring an engineering internship/job in the following year?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I think variety of experience is more helpful.
  4. Mar 30, 2015 #3


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    If focus on getting an engineering undergrad degree , if u want to get into engineering. What are you majoring in now at U Chicago?
  5. Mar 30, 2015 #4
    I'm majoring in physics.

    We don't have any engineering majors here, so majoring in engineering is not an option.
  6. Mar 30, 2015 #5


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    So why are you going to UC if you want to become an engineer and that is not an option at UC? This does not all make sense.
  7. Mar 30, 2015 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    I don't think that matters for the question at hand. Sure, a different school might be better, but the specific choice regarding the internship is clear: go for the new experience.

    @student335 Nobody is going to care that you spend one summer more or less in the same research lab, but having a variety of experiences will give you a broader view of yourself, your career, and the world. You are still figuring out what you want out of life, and this is a very easy way to learn a bit about yourself and the world.
  8. Mar 30, 2015 #7
    I really enjoyed physics in high school, and still do today. Even if I went to a school with an engineering program I still would have wanted to major in physics because I enjoy it a lot. I just want to work in something more applied after college, rather than going into a PhD program. I do not think I did something that uncommon.

    Also the University of Chicago was close to home, offered me an unbeatable financial aid package and an incredible physics program. It was a clear choice for me. I wasn't going to turn it down because I thought that maybe I would consider a major in engineering.

    Perfect, that's what I was thinking too.

    And I was thinking I could use the programming experience I learn here to somehow help me out in future engineering applications.
  9. Mar 31, 2015 #8
    You might want to look into accelerator physics at UC, accelerator physics is one of those disciplines that bridges the gap between physics and engineering.
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