Life After Academia for a Physicist in Photovoltaics

Event Date: 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640

Event Contact: 

Refreshments served at 3:40


Charles Wickersham - Laser Process Development Engineer – First Solar, Inc.

Determining whether or not to pursue a career in industry, let alone finding a good fit, can seem an impossible prospect when all of one's mentors are tenured professors! What are some signs that a career in industry might be right for you? What should you look for in a potential employer? The answers to these questions led me to a job with the world's largest manufacturer of thin-film photovoltaics. With over 7 GW produced and 3 GW in contracted pipeline, First Solar utility scale power solutions are now cost competitive with conventional generation in many regions around the globe without subsidy. For this physicist turned engineer, First Solar's mission to enable a world powered by clean affordable solar energy has provided a stimulating, fast-paced environment rich with opportunities for growth. Please join me as I share what I learned at UC Santa Barbara and then at UC Berkeley that I found useful, and how I determined that industry was the right path for me.