What is more difficult rocket science or theoretical physics

Job prospects in physics [Page 19]

"So it would be very helpful if you could (honestly) keep us up to date on how you started your career (if it
so far). "


Hello everybody,

here in the thread nothing has been written for a while, but maybe someone reads all this stuff after all. Since I was asked, here is an overview of the status of my application process:

8 applications, 3 rejections, 2 so far without feedback, 2 job interviews at the company, 1 appointment for an (informal) interview at a scientific conference. Already received a first concrete job offer. A salary expectation of 65,000 euros per year as a starting salary is generally accepted. The job offer is a technically interesting development job with a high proportion of software.

As an update on my background: PhD completed a few months ago with "magna cum laude" (standard grade), number of publications so medium, good but not extremely good grades, no industrial internship except for 2 months soldering in a small dump after graduation (lol).

So much for the subject of "Oh dear, physicists have no job prospects", "Unprofitable art", "Hands off", or, as one forist wrote, "I doubt that it will work with the average graduate". It's just not true. My friends and acquaintances were similarly "terrible" and none of them are high-flyers.

If you are flexible thematically and geographically (within Germany), then it is no problem at all to find something neat and interesting. I am only aware of difficulties in the following cases:

1) After completing your doctorate, you stay in research for years. It is indeed a risk. The only sensible career goal is a professorship, almost everything is precarious and, above all, temporary employment and at some point the switch to industry will be difficult. Only to be recommended if you are so passionate about it that you really don't want anything else.

2) You have just got through your studies with a bang, without any interest, let alone developing an understanding of the content, and you are also incapable of social interaction and approaches of professional appearance.

3) You are very closely focused on a very specific specialty. This can lead to a few months of unemployment.

Are the job prospects better on average with some engineering courses or with IT? Maybe. If it's just about job prospects, you should probably study business administration anyway.

If you just want to optimize your job prospects as much as possible and are basically not really interested in why a moving bicycle does not fall to the side, a rainbow is colored, a flash shines, an MRI device generates an image (etc. etc. etc.) .) Please keep your fingers off the subject. If you do not enjoy sitting with 5 gifted students for whole afternoons over difficult mathematical and physical tasks, please do the same.

But anyone who is interested in physics and has a mathematical talent can and should study the subject with confidence and without fear of the future. It is a demanding course of study and can only be mastered sensibly if you have a bit of passion for it and also like to puzzle. Otherwise it is pure torture.

So, dear youngsters, high school graduates and drakes: take courage!
Nick_  📅 11.06.2018 17:54:35
By physik_oder_soHello everybody,

[...]

1) After completing your doctorate, you stay in research for years. It is indeed a risk. The only sensible career goal is the professorship, almost everything is precarious and, above all, temporary employment and at some point the switch to industry will be difficult. Only to be recommended if you are so passionate about it that you really don't want anything else.
Staying in research is undoubtedly a more difficult path. There is hardly any other career path for physicists at universities than a professorship. In contrast, there are (few) permanent positions below the professorship at institutes and research facilities. As always, however, the same applies here as to whoever takes this path should be passionate about science.

A later change to industry or the education sector is quite possible, especially in Germany. Often there are already relationships with companies; be it through former employees or through joint projects.
From unknownhere in the thread nothing has been written for a while, but maybe someone reads all this stuff after all.
So I will certainly read it ;-)

From unknownSo much for the subject of "Oh dear, physicists have no job prospects", "Unprofitable art", "Hands off", or, as one forist wrote, "I doubt that it will work with the average graduate". It's just not true. My friends and acquaintances felt the same way
"terrible" and none of these are high-flyers.
Career opportunities, especially for generalists like physicists, are ALWAYS snapshots. A lot can change within a year. Example: 2008 before the financial crisis: Physicists are sucked away from the job market or bothered by headhunters in the office (that's how I felt at the time). 2009: Financial crisis and hiring freezes - if someone was hired, then only highly specialized people who fit the profile exactly - physicists largely without a chance.

It is actually the case that the economy is booming at the moment (!) And therefore people are hired who are rather unfamiliar with the subject and have little experience in a specific area. Especially physicists. BUT: That can change again quickly. The people who are influenced by positive contributions today and who study physics like so many others could very well find themselves in a completely different job market in 5 years' time.



Edited 3 times. Last on 6/15/18 8:55 PM.
From FhG physicists Career opportunities, especially for generalists like physicists, are ALWAYS snapshots.

That, with all due respect, applies even more to specialists. Of course there are counterexamples (there will be a shortage of doctors as long as the medical degree is subject to restricted admission). But as a specialist in the technical field, you have to be lucky enough that your own specialization is currently in demand. If that is not the case (anymore), you also have a problem. As a physicist with a broad technical background and a solid methodical approach to problems, one has good prerequisites in a world in which one does not even know which specialist knowledge will be in demand in 10 years.

At the companies where I introduced myself, it was just well received that I looked into different areas in my thesis.

From FhG physicists 2009: Financial crisis and hiring freezes - if someone was hired, then only highly specialized people who fit the profile exactly - physicists largely without a chance.

Yes, but it wasn't just physicists who had this problem. Apart from that, there is an artificial contrast between "physicist" and "specialist". As a physicist, if you have completed a master’s thesis and a doctorate, you are also specialized in something - and with your technical background you have good prerequisites to specialize in something else later. A combination of scientific depth and practical application was important to me personally, and my physics studies and the subsequent doctorate were exactly the right thing.

From FhG physicists The people who are influenced by positive contributions today and who study physics like so many others could very well find themselves in a completely different job market in 5 years' time.

Or maybe not. Nobody knows what the future will bring. But this is not a special physicist problem (see above). In my opinion, advising high school graduates who are enthusiastic about physics against their studies due to the alleged lack of job prospects is simply going too far. It is of course correct that a career as a scientist is a very rocky road - people have to be aware of that. But there are a multitude of opportunities to acquire specialist knowledge in the context of lectures and, above all, final theses, which - in connection with the broad technical background that you have underestimated - is in demand in business. After graduation, a doctorate is a good way to find out whether you want to work in science for the long term.
Physics and so  📅 06.07.2018 12:44:48
To @physik_oder_so:
What exactly did you study? Physics as a full subject? Because when you write “with a relatively high proportion of software” I ask myself where the IT knowledge comes from to cope with this. Do you have any recommendations as to which courses you should attend on the side or which “skills” are still necessary, apart from pure physics?
The question of generalist vs. specialist is old-fashioned and so often not true. Just because you are an engineer or in the technical field, you are de facto not a specialist. Often the subjects themselves have focal points and specializations. In civil engineering, for example, there are differences in the type of activity, e.g. constructive or numerical and according to area of ​​activity, building construction, civil engineering (special civil engineering), traffic route construction, urban water management, geotechnical engineering, traffic planning, etc.