Career counselling: Do you want to be a physicist?

  • Usha Albuquerque, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 15, 2016 18:52 IST
The study of physics helps develop a number of skills such as problem solving, computation skills and modelling. (Shutterstock)

I am a Class 12 student and will appear for the Joint Entrance Exam next month. I realise that I don’t want to pursue BTech. I want to go for a master’s degree followed by PhD in physics. I want a work profile wherein my talent, creativity and innovation are utilised. Is this a good idea?

- Rahul Bansal

A physicist studies materials, and how they are affected by sources of energy, such as electricity. A study of physics leads to an understanding of the physical world and opens up several career avenues. Some careers that require a strong background in physics include astronomy, meteorology, bio-engineering, bio-physics, electronics and telecommunications, cosmology, geology, hydrology, oceanography, mathematical sciences and space sciences. Physics also covers the areas of engineering, computer science, electronics, geology, mathematical sciences, material sciences and nanotechnology. In addition, it helps develop a number of skills such as problem solving, computation skills, modelling and the ability to think laterally.

You can pursue BSc in physics followed by MSc in any of the specialised fields. You can also take up BTech in an engineering discipline. If you are looking for a career in research, you can prepare for admission to the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, which offers a five-year integrated BSc/MSc programme in different fields of science – physics, chemistry, biology, material sciences and environment science.

You must try to identify the kind of job you would like to do – whether in teaching, research, with a technical organisation, in industry, in computers or IT, or even a corporate job in business management. It depends on your interest areas, the kind of person you are and the environment in which you would like to work.

I studied commerce with maths in Class 12. I plan to take up English (hons) and prepare for the civil services exam, but I want to join another course before my coaching starts. Which course should I take up?

– Charvi

It is difficult to say which is the best subject for graduation when preparing for the civil services exams. You must select subjects which are scoring and which provide alternative career options in case you are unable to qualify the civil services exam. Selection for the civil services takes place in three stages – a preliminary examination, a main examination, and a personality test/interview.

The preliminary exam, consists of the CSAT or the civil services aptitude test which has two common papers. One will test you on current events of national and international importance, economic and social development and general awareness.

The second paper will be an aptitude test to select candidates suitable for the government sector. It will have aptitude, data interpretation and English language comprehension skills, which is on the lines of MBA entrance tests in India. A degree in economics or commerce may be a backup.

Send your queries at ­hteducation@­ or to Career Counselling, HT Education, 1st floor, HT House, 18-20, KG Marg, New Delhi-110001. The columnist is director of Careers Smart, and author of the Penguin India Career Guides Vol 1 and 2

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