I’m a student who is currently undertaking a Master of Physics (coursework & research) at the University of Western Australia. I have also previously completed two Bachelor’s degrees: one in physics and one in electrical engineering (with honours). Next year, I am hoping to start a PhD in high-energy physics (HEP) somewhere in Australia, doing a highly theoretical topic (such as supersymmetry, string theory, etc.) with the long term goal of following an academic path in this area of research.
From my understanding though, it is VERY hard finding academic jobs relevant to this particular field. I’ve heard through the grapevine that you have more chance of becoming a professional athlete than becoming a professor in theoretical HEP which is honestly quite dejecting.
However, understanding physics beyond the standard model is undoubtedly my passion so I would really like to pursue a PhD in it to determine whether or not it can become more than just a hobby. I’ve heard of theoretical HEP PhD’s going into finance, etc. when finding an academic position proved fruitless, but if I’m being honest, that doesn’t sound all that appealing to me. If the academic path didn’t work out, I have always had a super keen interest in areas such as signal processing, control theory and data analysis. Which leads me to my main question:
In case I can’t find an academic position in theoretical HEP, do you think my EE degree and MPhys (both of which involved experimental research projects highly focused on signal processing and data analysis) would be sufficient credentials to land a job in engineering/signal processing/data analysis? Or perhaps if I’m lucky, even some area of industry research (if so, what areas)?
Further, do you think having a PhD in theoretical HEP, in addition to my other credentials, would be a benefit or a hindrance in securing these types of jobs?
Some potentially relevant information:
I have 3 months of work experience at an electrical engineering company
My EE research project involved analyzing audio signals using a DSP to achieve desired acoustic properties
My MPhys research project is about detecting gravitational waves which involves heavy signal processing and manipulating large sets of data (100GB+) using python
By the end of this year my MPhys research should produce at least 1 or 2 papers in the Physical Review Letters journal