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Where to go from here?

  1. Sep 23, 2014 #1
    I am a Physics Major who will be graduating within the year, but I am unsure on what to do next. It seems that there aren't a lot of 'Physics' jobs, unless I were to get a PhD, which I do not want to do. What else are my options? From my understanding I could go for a master's program in engineering (assuming I take some remedial classes at the start of the program). Is this smart? Are there any other master's programs that are lucrative and that Physics majors could succeed in? I'm at the end of my undergraduate life right now and I fear that I do not have any skills that employers are looking for. I would like to use my foundation in Physics to change that.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2014 #2
    The most popular non-PhD grad program in my class was in education. You have to define "lucrative". In my experience physics students and graduates often come from rich backgrounds and accordingly have high expectations for pay. But compared to the average american family income, even my fellow graduates in education make that all by themselves after only a year or two on the job.

    Engineering is a good option. In my case I had so many remedial required that I just started an undergraduate degree in engineering. Computer science comes to mind. Anything really if you are willing to take the remedials and re-gear to a new subject.

    Did you do any undergrad research that would lend itself to a particular grad program?
     
  4. Sep 24, 2014 #3
    I have not, but I am graduating next fall so I might have some time to change that. Should I even consider grad school without it?

    My schedule is pretty tight until now and graduation so I don't really have time to take remedial courses. Which field do you think would be the easiest to switch into? I have no problem learning on my own (computer science for example).
     
  5. Sep 24, 2014 #4

    analogdesign

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    Learning on your own is great. Convincing someone to hire you (or even give you an interview because you didn't check the right major on the application) is a different thing entirely.
     
  6. Sep 24, 2014 #5
    Are there not certifications I could get that are education independent and only require me passing a test?
    From my understanding only ME's need a bachelors in engineering to get certified while other engineering fields do not. Same thing with CS.
     
  7. Sep 24, 2014 #6

    analogdesign

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    What do you mean "certified"? If you mean a license as a Professional Engineer, you're right, you just need a BS, but also some number of years worked for a licensed engineer.

    There is no such thing as a license in CS. "Certifications" are passing some tests that will help you get a lower-level technician/IT type of job, but there are no engineering certifications that I'm aware of.
     
  8. Sep 24, 2014 #7
    There still must be some method of showing an employer "Here, look at what I have done, I am capable of doing this job", like the creation of my own Iphone app for a programming job. Certification was the wrong way to put it I suppose. I just remembered this term when I took a networking course and the option of getting CCNA certified was available.
     
  9. Sep 24, 2014 #8

    analogdesign

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    like I said, certifications like CCNA are primarily technician-level stuff. If you can get a personal contact in a company or a small firm, maybe you can get through the first hurdle and show them what you can do. The issue is that bigger companies often have an HR dept that screens resumes so even if you're a great programmer your resume never makes it to the hiring manager. It's a big problem.
     
  10. Sep 24, 2014 #9
    Okay, so should I give up on a getting a job in CS altogether? I would like to know my options, but I don't know who else to ask. What do you guys think?
     
  11. Sep 24, 2014 #10

    analogdesign

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    Oh I wouldn't give up on it, just be aware you have some additional obstacles compared to a CS major. If you're good and you network, you should do fine as a lot of physics majors end up in software. The key is networking. You can't just expect to graduate and send out a bunch of resumes. That tends to be an ineffective strategy. If you work your network, ask your professors, see if former students work in the industry etc, you should do fine.
     
  12. Sep 24, 2014 #11
    Okay, I appreciate the reply. I think my plan from here on out will be to learn a few languages over my breaks, and then really decide on whether or not I want to pursue engineering or CS. Do you think a masters in either engineering or CS will be helpful, or even plausible given my lack of undergraduate research?
     
  13. Sep 24, 2014 #12
    I don't think lack of research will hold you back. That is just one way to get some marketable skills, not the only way. You may have to (or want to) take some classes after graduating before your masters. Or you may be able to get in right away.

    I do think each are plausible and even possible and maybe even probable. ;)
     
  14. Sep 24, 2014 #13

    analogdesign

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    If you want to be an engineer or a competent career programmer I think an MS would be a good investment. If you get an MS then everything I said regarding your major will no longer apply.

    I had a co-student in my cohort at grad school who had a physics undergrad. He got an MS in EE and had about two extra quarters of remedial courses. He thought he had made the right choice getting an MS.

    Lack of undergraduate research might make it a bit harder to get into a PhD program but shouldn't be a big deal in getting a masters.
     
  15. Sep 25, 2014 #14
    Ah, okay. I feel much more directed as to what I need to be doing in order to better my life, and for that I thank you both.
     
  16. Sep 28, 2014 #15
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