I am new to this forum.
Welcome! Great to see more people in this forum.
I am 30 years old. I have done bachelors in computer science and working as a data scientist. I developed interest in natural sciences especially in physics. I want to transform my career into physics research/academia. I am looking for a transition into masters in computational physics/physics data analysis kind of programs across Europe. (fine with traditional programs too). But before I commit I want to have some self check process whether I am able to do it. So I thought of trying physics gre.
OK, I assume you have been 8-9 years away from school. You are not alone, I too have been working in the industry for three years.
In order to be convincing that you want to change career to academia, I suggest you mention that you are looking for doctoral degree instead.
Even though you are applying for Master's now, mentioning the PhD as your goal helps clear suspicions/doubts that you might be one of the applicants from workforce that merely looks for a job promotion with a degree upgrade.
For Physics, I think such worldly motive is not as favorable among the serious universities.
Also, more funding are allocated with doctoral program while Master's are almost definitely self-supported, partly due to the above.
Good news is with pGRE you would be able to support that intention with widely accepted aptitude measures: opening your doors not just to europe but also to US programs.
My questions are,
How long should I prepare for gre physics if I were to take one? I am working full time and how many hours of studying and how long it needs to be done? I will be joining the private study centres like JEE preparation centres in our country, which are somewhat equivalent to physics gre.
pGRE is administered three times a year. Sept/Oct/April. So for you, the closest one is on April 2019.
It surely depends on the strength of your current physics knowledge and how demanding your current job is, but three months should be an acceptable period to reach a realistic score.
Let's say you only have time in the weekends for this preparation. 3 months = 24 days of preparation. maybe 2.5 hours each in the morning/afternoon, this translates to 120 hours of study. Sounds about right.
1. Register Now.
I found procrastination a major problem with a test few months away, but by committing myself to the test date and paying the fee, I forced myself to make constant preparation through fear of wasting the $150.
2. Get yourself a study plan.
If you join a preparation centre as you mentioned, make sure to consult them for a detailed study plan.
This means what chapter/topic to study in week 1/2/3/4 and measure your pace at all times.
Does different educational background impact my studies/career? Can I be successful in both? This self doubt is troubling me.
Transitioning to academia generally means full-time research. So I'm afraid you have to focus in one.
Part-time PhD while maintaining a job in a different field is not considered a serious career change, more of an degree upgrade attempt as I mentioned above.
Degree in computer science and applying to computational physics seem OK to me. You only have to tailor your application with supporting materials about your physics aptitude (such as by providing good pGRE score).
How are the research opportunities for computational astrophysics/particle physics in future?
I would be much grateful if someone advice on these question.
It shall vary depending on the universities. This field stays active up to this moment, so I think it will be alright.
Hope you find the answer useful.
There are many experts here. Enjoy this forum!