I just found out that I have won a course of my choice in one university contest. From a rather long list of IT-related training to offer I have found only two that actually took my interest. One is full four semester course that claims to prepare me for CCNA Routing and Switching, another is one that prepares for Java Certified Programmer I and II and lasts one year (to my knowledge I fit the prerequisites on both, if you think otherwise also let me know!).
My networking background is lacking and aside of going through parts of an old edition of CCNA prep book that's a hand-me-down from my brother I have never done anything more advanced than setup a home network with backup server or internal mail server. To my surprise it worked very smoothly despite the fact most of the tools that I have used were notch above Linux builtins.
My Java background was largely developed as a hobby and I never got any real training when it comes to object oriented design. It can be boiled down to "I knew enough to go through this Java multithreading course without much of a hassle and contribute to one or two projects with bug fixes". Hardly solid, but give me a break ;).
In addition, I don't think that in my preferred line of work (physics research) either will be of much help. As far as I am now, money does not feel like a motivating factor but if you feel otherwise please include it. If I would, for no reason that I am aware of at the time of writing, not want to pursue academics and seek a job outside what track might 'look better' on someone with strong maths and physics background?
What would you choose in my place and why?
If you are doing physics research, learning a programing language would be more beneficial to your career then learning how to setup a network. IMHO
You could build your own physics app.