Schools Which university to go to for a physics degree?

StatGuy2000

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I am not sure you are listening to me. Even when the jobs do not say require a PhD, that is what they are looking for. That's the level of experience they want, even if they do not use that language. That's certainly who your competition is. That's who they are hiring. In my estimation (I am not an astronomer, but my department has several and I am an APS DAP member who has reviewed telescope proposals) none of these jobs would open up had you had a BS in physics rather than applied math. None.
@Vanadium 50 ,with respect to the first job post that the OP linked to, you are flat out wrong that the job requires a PhD -- the scientific software engineer position specifically states that their required requirements are for a "Bachelor's degree in Astronomy, Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, or other relevant engineering or science field." So the OP would have the bare minimum qualifications degree-wise with respect to that position.

Another position that the OP linked to involved an Instrumentation Specialist position, which specifically stated that the applicant must have a "Bachelor's degree in Engineering, Physics, and related field" in addition to previous job experience. None of these positions are the kinds that would either require a PhD, nor would employers be looking for PhD holders specifically.

Granted, I'm not certain that a physics degree on its own would make the OP more competitive in these positions either -- if anything, a degree in electrical engineering may be more useful instead.
 

Vanadium 50

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@Vanadium 50 ,with respect to the first job post that the OP linked to, you are flat out wrong that the job requires a PhD -- the scientific software engineer position specifically states that their required requirements are for a "Bachelor's degree in Astronomy, Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, or other relevant engineering or science field."
My message #16 is pretty clear about that job...

Job #1 says right out they accept Physics or Mathematics, and since you didn't get it with Applied Math...
So it's hard for me to see where I am "flat out wrong".

Many or most of the candidates for these positions are, in fact, astro PhDs who for whatever reason, did not get faculty jobs. That's the pool. Yes, the occasional EE will get an instrumentation job (but not the BlackSky job). now and again. But this is quibbling. My main point is that the OP will be no more qualified for a single one of these jobs if he gets a second BS in physics. Quibble with details if yoy must, but as far as advice goes, that's what mine is.
 

Dr. Courtney

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I am not sure you are listening to me. Even when the jobs do not say require a PhD, that is what they are looking for. That's the level of experience they want, even if they do not use that language. That's certainly who your competition is. That's who they are hiring. In my estimation (I am not an astronomer, but my department has several and I am an APS DAP member who has reviewed telescope proposals) none of these jobs would open up had you had a BS in physics rather than applied math. None.
My experience is that jobs that absolutely require a PhD state it explicitly in the ads. There are some jobs where a PhD is not an absolute requirement, but that attract sufficient PhD applications that applicants without one are at a severe disadvantage. But I've seen applicants without a PhD get hired for these - usually these are permanent positions with more modest salaries (relative to PhD salary expectations) and a history of failing to keep PhDs around for more than a couple years. The hiring managers want employees who they are more likely to retain once they are familiar and productive in the position, and they are tired of being a short term stepping stone for PhDs.
 

StatGuy2000

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My message #16 is pretty clear about that job...
I missed your message on #16.

Many or most of the candidates for these positions are, in fact, astro PhDs who for whatever reason, did not get faculty jobs. That's the pool. Yes, the occasional EE will get an instrumentation job (but not the BlackSky job). now and again. But this is quibbling. My main point is that the OP will be no more qualified for a single one of these jobs if he gets a second BS in physics. Quibble with details if you must, but as far as advice goes, that's what mine is.
I think this is the crux of where I feel you are wrong -- I'm not convinced that most of the candidates of the positions are in fact astro PhDs. If anything, my expectation is that there is a large candidate pool of people who have Bachelor's or Masters degrees with engineering or physics degrees who are looking for positions in, say, instrumentation, image processing, or software development type jobs.

Now will the OP be more qualified for any of these jobs with a second BS in physics? I'm not certain of the answer, but if his contention (note: I believe the OP is male, given the handle name) is that he is being rejected for these positions because he does not have a physics degree -- as he stated earlier in this thread -- then by that token, he would be more qualified for these positions after completing a second degree in physics, in addition to his applied math degree and his experience in software development and his coding skills.

How competitive would he be in comparison to someone who has an engineering degree or a physics PhD is unknown -- some employers may not want to hire a PhD for whatever reason, whereas others may look exclusively to physics PhDs.
 
@Vanadium 50 I am sorry but you are wrong that these positions require PhD. I looked at some of the employers LinkedIn pages that have similar roles and none of them stated that they had a PhD. Only a bachelors in physics and one other had a computer science degree. Granted I have only seen three profiles for those job titles in LinkedIn, as there aren't many with those titles on LinkedIn.
But I do agree with you on the BlackSky jobs as I have also looked at their employment and all of whom I was able to find were PhD.
 

Vanadium 50

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Fine. I'm wrong. Go ahead with your plan. You know best.
 

Dr. Courtney

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Fine. I'm wrong. Go ahead with your plan. You know best.
I tend to agree with that assessment of being slow to heed advice when all the PhDs giving advice are in agreement. But we're not in such strong agreement in this case. I don't think the OP's odds of those jobs is zero without a PhD. Are the odds worth the time, expense, and effort to get the BS in Physics? I'm not sure, but that's a different question.

So, getting good advice and having a sober assessment of the job probabilities is valuable. But one also has to remain open to following one's heart. Moving from jobs more strongly related to comp sci to jobs more strongly related to astronomy and physics is MUCH more likely with the Physics degree, even if the OP never lands one of the ones in his top 5 or top 10 list. The OP is a grown up, he can weigh the advice, the costs, the risks, his hopes, his dreams, and his bank account and make a decision.

AstroGuy, if you go to UGA, touch base with me again after you post a couple semesters of As in your physics classes. I may be able to put you in touch with the right people there to open some astrophysics/astronomy doors. But those doors are much less likely to open with Bs than they are with As.
 
So, getting good advice and having a sober assessment of the job probabilities is valuable. But one also has to remain open to following one's heart. Moving from jobs more strongly related to comp sci to jobs more strongly related to astronomy and physics is MUCH more likely with the Physics degree, even if the OP never lands one of the ones in his top 5 or top 10 list. The OP is a grown up, he can weigh the advice, the costs, the risks, his hopes, his dreams, and his bank account and make a decision.
Indeed, I have weighed all my options and I came to the conclusion that this path will help me best moving forward toward my career goals. If I don't reach my career goal, even with all of this effort and cost, then it will indeed make me sad but I won't mind it since not even trying is worse to me than being rejected again. I really dislike my current job as a web developer so not attempting to at least try is not an option for me even if the risks are high.

AstroGuy, if you go to UGA, touch base with me again after you post a couple semesters of As in your physics classes. I may be able to put you in touch with the right people there to open some astrophysics/astronomy doors. But those doors are much less likely to open with Bs than they are with As.
Thanks a bunch!! I will do the best I can and I will definitely report back.
 

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