Alumni Answers: Transition From Physics to Engineering (Beemnet, Physics 2020)

Alumni Answers: Transition From Physics to Engineering (Beemnet, Physics 2020)

Dear Zofia,

Hello! I was wandering what you think of the transition from pure Physics to Engineering studies. Do you think it is better to seek out for engineering experiences while at UD? Thank you, Beemnet (Physics 2020)


Hello Beemnet,

I absolutely think seeking out engineering while at UD would be great if that’s the direction you want to go. I think networking with engineers (try going to local events, you can find them on LinkedIn) can be very helpful. I also suggest working to learn relevant skills (such as proficiency in a CAD program and using micro-controllers such as Arduino). If you can find an engineering internship you will be really well off.

I chose to go to grad school afterwards because I didn’t know I wanted to do engineering until after UD. However, I was able to get an engineering internship the summer before grad school. I could have just continued to try to find work related to engineering, and might have even been better off that way. In engineering, often having practical experience is more valuable than schooling. Personally, grad school was not as useful to me as I would have hoped.

There are also companies that have programs for people with science backgrounds to transition to engineering. My company, National Instruments, will take physics grads (among other engineering disciplines) and give them the training and work experience to transition to R&D, systems engineering, marketing, and sales. I don’t personally know of other companies that do this, but I’m sure there are similar positions out there. If you are interested in National Instruments, please let me know.

Getting internships while in school would be the best possible thing you could do, though it can be tough to find them. This was something I didn’t do enough, and proved to make my job search much harder.

I hope that helps. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions.

Zofia K. (BS Physics, 2012), ELP Engineer at National Instruments

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