My name is Andrzej and I am going to graduate in July with MSc in physics from one of major Polish universities. Last holidays I thought a lot about my future and what transferrable skills I have that could get me a job after graduation. I identified that two main are:
- ability to code (a few courses related to numerics / C++ programming)
- analitical and critical thinking, good numeracy.
Therefore last academic year I was applying to a lot of jobs in two fields: IT and finance to try to squeeze something from my coding and analytical skills respectively. However, sadly, I got turned down from any of the positions I applied for. I managed to get invited to a couple of interviews but that was it.
In the meantime, I applied for PhD position at my university under the supervision of the same PI I am now finishing masters with. The topic is pretty interesting, however I do cannot imagine myself following an entirely academic career path. For example, I don't think I'll ever be able to lead my own research group.
I got this position without any major problems. The PhD position is fully funded. The stipend is 1800 PLN net (around 400 EUR) monthly. However as this is a stipend, they do not pay any kind of pension/insurance contributions. IT/finance jobs usually compensate better: around 3000 PLN (670 EUR) net and many times do provide pension and insurance.
Now the question comes: what to do? I think there are three possibilities:
- Go for the PhD and fully concentrate on it, and not write any IT/finance applications during the PhD.
- Go for the PhD and apply to IT/finance during the PhD; quit PhD once being hired for a decent position in commercial sector.
- Reject the PhD offer, graduate unemployed, apply for government benefits and fully concentrate on the job hunt for IT/finance positions.
Which option would you recommend? If option 2 or 3, do you know any really good pieces of advice how to increase chances of getting industry job with a theoretical physics MSc?
Zero is a good first-order approximation of my job experience: I did two unpaid internships, one during BSc, second during MSc, both in local research institutes.