(Submitted March 09, 1997)
I hate to burden your mail box with a possible already asked question, but
I am at a critical crossroad in my life. I am an undergraduate attending a
local university. I have always had an intense love of mathematics and
astronomy and my current major (physics) reflects that. I would like nothing
more than to work my way to a Ph.D and spend the rest of my days as an
astronomer. My question is this: am I pursuing a degree in a dry field? Will
there be any jobs? I have spent many hours wrestling with
this dilemma and am now seeking advice. Thank you for your time.
You ask a question that every one of us who work in the field of astronomy
has asked themselves at one time or another. And there is good reason to
worry about future job prospects....but then again, you have to ask
yourself "would I be happy doing anything else?"
The job market has been, is, and will probably remain very difficult in
astronomy. However, it is also a very exciting time for astronomers -- with
lots of missions on-going and soon to be launched. There will always be
jobs available for those who are talented, eager, and hard-working. This is,
I believe, true for all fields...not just astronomy.
You are wise to get your degree in Physics, however. It will afford you
many other job opportunities than just astronomy. (I am biased about this
....I got my degree in Physics).
Hope this is of some help to you. Good luck with whatever you decide.