Steve Bougerolle steveb at
Thu Feb 6 19:24:43 PST 2003

On Fri, 2003-02-07 at 11:08, Rob Park wrote:

> Ok, but what can you actually _DO_ with a Physics degree?

A whole lot of different things.  Physics graduates generally rate near
the top of the list of people who easily find jobs.  They work in a lot
of different tech industries as well as computing and also often get
hired for business jobs or jobs which require math skill.  Because
Physics is seen as a tough subject, Physics grads are automatically
assumed to be people who can work hard and solve difficult problems
(which is mostly true).

However, I don't want to go on too much with that sort of thinking
because it's not really important - I'm just answering your question
directly.  When you're young it's tempting to think that qualifications
and labels like "computer graduate" really matter, but they don't.
Employers want to know that 1) you are reliable, 2) they can work with
you and 3) you can do your job.  They don't basically care what degree
you have; it's just a shortcut they use to evaluate you IF they don't
have any better information (or if they are fools, of course, and to be
completely honest there are a few anal types out there who do worry too
much about such trivia).

What you'll find, if you're smart and/or lucky, is that you get all the
best jobs by knowing people who can give them to you, because no
sensible person will hire someone who MIGHT be able to do the job when
he already knows somebody who he's SURE can do who what he wants.  Given
that it should be obvious that it's really a counterproductive waste of
time to get the "right degree".  

So, what you really want to be doing in university is to find the people
who do what you like and getting to work with them NOW so they recommend
you for better stuff when you graduate.  You can finish with a 4.0 GPA
in computing but if the grades are all you have, you'll still lose jobs
to a Physics grad with a 3.5 GPA when the professor he worked for calls
up one of his old buddies at some place like Nortel and says "I've got a
good computer guy here who's graduating this year, do you need anyone?"

(This is not to say that good grades don't matter or that it's not at all
relevant what subject you study, of course; just don't get carried away with

Steve Bougerolle
Creek & Cowley Consulting

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