Quote Originally Posted by rhinosaur View Post
I have a grad school buddy at CoorsTec, making high-tech ceramics.

My background is in Chemistry / Materials Science as well. I was making / helping to make thin films up until about 6 months ago. Now I make cleaning products. Technically it's the same industry (semiconductors) but my new job is not at all related to what I was doing before, and it's fine. I consider it a lateral move. Non-compete / NDAs are almost never enforced. Just don't go taking IP to a competitor.

Half the time in this industry I'm amazed by how much I didn't learn in school. Professors are clueless.

I thought about doing computer science instead of chemistry when I first started undergrad, but at the time I thought the job market would get saturated by the time I finished school. Obviously it didn't. However, I'm still glad I went with chemistry because I don't have to sit in front of a screen all day. For my job I can still dabble with scripting and relatively simple programs, so I still get some exposure to programming.
Another MSE on here? Who'd of thought. We are rare. I expected most on here if any to be in computers/electronics.

Coors Tek? That's cool. Colorado would be wonderful.

My first job out of school was examining patents in electrochemistry. The majority were in semiconductors: plating the interconnects and polishing and what not. Then I got into a start-up using molten salt electrolysis. The initial technology was discovered at General Electric in the late 60s and early 70s. It was cut because I guess they did not see enough dollar bills attached to it at the time. It's very cool though, you can form high end intermetallics. Space materials! My old boss had acquired most of the old IP associated with it.

Then I moved to industrial ceramics: steel plants, coal boilers, petrochemical refining, incinerators etc. It's not quite as interesting technically. Most of the projects we work on have a high chance at success and are not very forward thinking. We just kind of fill in holes/gaps in our product portfolio. The work is steady and the pay is pretty good for my region in the US.

Funny what you said on school professors. I think the same thing myself often. They fall in love with a technology and analyze and do calculations to a ridiculous degree. Nevermind the technology is in no way commercially feasible. There are some good ones in my area also though that are more realistic. Also, the funny thing about school vs. industry is in school you cheat and fail. In industry cheating is acceptable and encouraged (competitor analysis)!

Not having to sit at my computer all day is what I like the most. I left the patent office because I was getting stir crazy sitting their staring at a screen all day.