1. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice

Software Engineering vs Pharmacy

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by deuce_plus, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. deuce_plus

    deuce_plus Membership Revoked
    Removed

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Non-Student
    EDIT: Before you read this I want to clear up one misconception right away. I have gotten many responses by folk on this form stating that these high computer science salaries are only for the elite or the top "1%" of programmers. I want to reinforce that this is absolutely NOT the case. I think this attitude is a psychological defense mechanism that current pharmacy students use to defend their current choice of career and debt path. I'm writing this as a public service announcement to hopefully convince folks that there IS ANOTHER way other than MASSIVE pharmacy school debt with questionable return on investment. If you work hard (it won't be easy) you could graduate with a B.S. in computer science and be earning 80k+ in most areas and 90-100k+ in key metro areas such as Boston, NYC, SF, LA, etc. If you continue to work hard after you land your first engineering job you can move up the ranks and be making upwards of 160k+ and depending on your stock compensation and your location you might even hit 200k+. The key "weed out" phase for programmers is actually before they become programmers at all! At all colleges throughout the country the biggest "weed out" is usually the intro courses in computer science. If you can crack the first couple of courses you likely have the capability to succeed as an engineer. It is really more about hard work and dedication than anything else. There IS a way other than MASSIVE and crippling debt

    On with the post:

    Software Engineering is HOT folks, RED hot, and it’s been this way since 2011/2012. I’ve been in the industry since 2005 and while we might be in a temporary bubble much like we were in 1999/2000, i think in 12 years from now the market will be BETTER than it is now. Just like the market was BETTER in 2012 than it was in the red hot days of 2000. In fact, the SW engineering job market mostly recovered by 2004.

    Comp packages for new grads in metro markets (boston, NYC, SF) are exceeding 100k/year. Experienced mid career level engineers in their early 30’s are pulling in comp packages of 160+ and in Silicon Valley that number is higher, more like 190-200k to adjust for the higher cost of housing in that location. Get in at a company like Google and you'll make even more!

    But the great thing about software engineering isn’t the salary or the fun working environment - it’s the lack of DEBT and the ability to enter the workforce at 22 years old at a strong salary out of the gate. A strong salary in your early 20s will allow you to better harness the power of compound interest and start your nest egg early which will pay off later in life.

    I’m 32 and i’ve been a programmer since 2005 right after graduating with my BS in comp sci. My net worth is ~ 500k and I rent so that doesn’t include any home equity. I’m a senior engineer and my current comp is over 160k/year and the strong salaries early on (I was making 65k in 2005) helped me build my nest egg. If i went the MD route i’d likely be significantly negative in my net worth and just be starting in my career. My work hours are 40hrs/week and i've never worked much more than that.

    Another great thing about software engineering is SATURATION and how the issue of saturation is much more difficult to attain in programming due to market dynamics. For mid levels (PA, NP, Pharm D, etc) saturation is becoming a SERIOUS issue.

    Take medical careers such as NP, PA, Pharm D, MD.. The demand for medical workers is a function of the size and demographics of the population. For example, you only need so many Physician Assistants per 1000 people. There is a fixed amount of work to be done per citizen on average. This has resulted in a dynamic where most of the desirable metro areas have become saturated and many of the open positions are now in rural and less desirable locales.

    For programming the dynamic is the complete opposite. You might naively think that the same rule applies — that there is a constant demand for things to be programmed and that once that demand is filled the profession would become saturated. But what if the demand was actually infinite? Why hasn’t it become saturated when the number of developers has exploded over the last 10, 20 and 30 years?

    Think back to the 1980s and 1990s as a developer. It is radically more productive to develop software now because the tooling has become much more advanced and the knowledge is so much easier to come by. Programmers used to keep stacks of books at their desk, now they find their answers online in a fraction of the time. The library of open source software has also expanded tremendously. Need a database? You have 10+ free options. Need an operating system? Linux will do. Need hosting and hardware? You can do it in the cloud for a fraction of the cost. There are literally thousands of free software packages that accelerate development times and boost productivity. Modern IDEs (integrated development environments) help catch errors and auto generate code to further enhance productivity.

    You might conclude that fewer developers are needed now with the massive productivity gains. Wrong. There are far more developers working worldwide than there were in the 80s or 90s.

    The space of possible things to program is only bounded by human creativity which is limitless. Software is layered on top of other software. The next generation of tools, frameworks, and applications, are built using the tools of the previous generation. For this reason I fully expect the number of developers working worldwide to continue to increase well until the next decade.

    Some of you remember the tech bubble of the late 90s and early 2000s and may conclude that tech will once again decline. True, there was a crash and it was difficult to get a job from late 2001 through 2003, but things turned around far quicker than many realize. By 2004 the job market turned and by 2005 and 2006 it was somewhat hot again. But during this brief crash there were other dynamics in play.

    The tech job market downturn of the early 2000s was also caused by outsourcing. You see the rest of the world hadn’t caught up yet and there were massive untapped populations of developers in India and other countries. This caused a massive wave of companies opening offices overseas and outsourcing firms like HCL or Infosys exploded which temporarily depressed wages and the job market in the US.

    By the end of the decade, however, the labor market in India and other outsourcing hubs began to heat up to the point where there weren’t enough developers to go around, forcing companies to either hire again in the US or find another country (such as Russia, Poland, etc.) Hiring and retaining dev in india is actually very costly right now. Salaries have risen and turnover is rampant due to the high demand. Many companies are looking to other countries like the Ukraine, Poland, or Russia to do their outsourcing now. All of these areas have literally EXPLODED with dev and companies have shifted to a strategy of having devs everywhere. Big companies like google and microsoft hire dev all over the world.

    There is a lot of money to be had in software in the next 10-20 years. No debt is required and only 4 years of college is recommended.
     
    #1 deuce_plus, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. MyRealNameIs

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    51
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    The post was too long so I didn't read any but if you bothered reading the forum, no one will disagree that any engineering>pharmacy, especially a computer one.

    In fact many pharmacists on the forum encourage students to pursue computer engineering if a stable job/good pay is what you are looking for.
     
  4. MouaBoy96

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    After reading this post, you are seriously making me question if I want to do pharmacy. I am a licensed, nationally certified pharmacy technician and I can't even find an entry-level position. If what you say that software engineering is really that good, then maybe I should consider changing my major...
     
  5. MyRealNameIs

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    51
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    Pharm tech job is obviously harder to get than pharmacist job. Getting nationally certified as a pharmacy technician is a joke. Anyone can study for 2 weeks to get it.

    Try some computer classes and see if you like it. I enjoy techs and I thought I would like it. But for me personally, I couldn't get into it. But I am sure it can be a great job if you enjoy coding. But like any job, you shouldn't choose it because it makes good money. You will be miserable.
     
  6. mayyyygz7

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    5
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    have you tried applying to retail places like CVS or walgreens? I got a job at a CVS with no retail or pharmacy experience.
     
  7. nutripharma

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    32
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    Either you haven't tried hard enough or your state has scarce opportunities. It might be a combination of both. The job outlook for techs and actual pharmacists are completely different.
     
  8. MouaBoy96

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    We don't have any CVS up here in Anchorage, Alaska. I've applied to almost all the
    walgreens/safeways in the city and haven't gotten a call back yet after two weeks..
     
  9. MouaBoy96

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    I agree with you, the certification test was fairly easy to me. Do you know of any tips to get me to help me stand out and be a better pharmacy tech job candidate?
     
  10. MyRealNameIs

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    51
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    Work at cvs or walgreens as a service assistant is always my advice if you can't get tech jobs. Let them know you want to work as a tech later. They will promote you when there is an opening.
     
  11. nutripharma

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    32
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    Do not wait for call backs, call them or see the manager and/or pharmacist in person.
     
  12. stoichiometrist

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    1,271
    Why was the OP banned?
     
  13. StudyLater

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,993
    Likes Received:
    1,250
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I have read the forum and disagree with that statement. In fact, it's just a fact that there are people that would disagree with that statement, as the statement is an opinion.

    Yes, the situation in your particular area applies to all regions of the United States.

    Hopefully the above statement seems like a sweeping generalization to you. There probably are openings in your area that you simply aren't aware of. Call every single retail pharmacy (do hospitals accept techs?) in your area (I'm assuming there's 50+ within 10-15 miles of you), and then get back to us.

    Also pharmtech opps != pharmacist opps - sorry for the pun. That's readily apparent to you, right? I'm just saying, because it seems like you were basically equating the two, which is like equating the ER tech job market to the ER physician job market. Two totally different positions/set of qualifications/job markets.

    I am slightly surprised there aren't abundant opps in Anchorage, though. I mean....it's Anchorage.
     
    #12 StudyLater, Aug 3, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  14. MyRealNameIs

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    51
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    Huh? It is not an opinion. It is a FACT backed by actual data. If you are looking for a job with good pay and security, computer science is better than pharmacy. Anyone that disagrees is delusional. Of course, people don't choose their job solely based on that.
     
  15. stoichiometrist

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    1,271
    The difference between computer science and pharmacy is pretty black and white now, similar to the difference between pharmacy and a liberal arts degree. The exception is if you live in a rural or economically depressed area where there are few jobs for computer science graduates.
     
  16. StudyLater

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,993
    Likes Received:
    1,250
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Please provide the data source.

    Pharm has good pay down. Security would depend on region. Also, job security is something different from potential for future employment. Generally people focus on the ladder. Yes, we hear about unemployed pharmacists left and right. But pharmacists losing jobs left and right? That hasn't been as pervasive a topic of discussion.

    Also, future prospects are going to be regionally determined as well. Making sweeping generalizations on a national scale isn't super helpful. Some people don't give a flying f*ck about being in a city center. For others it's the end of the world if they've got more trees than cars in their neighborhood. Personal preferences could play a huge role in potential for employment. Ironically, your preference for "good weather" or a "good school system" or a "beach" could cost you several months of lost employment while job searching, and it often costs you in the form of lower wages when you actually do land a position. Obvious, I know, but I'm just saying that there are so many things to consider here, not just "pharmacy is f*cked kbye." Prove to me there's not a single opening in the US (not just within a 20mi radius of you) that'd quickly accept a licensed pharmacist and I'll happily oblige and say comp sci is definitively a better career for all people.
     
    #15 StudyLater, Aug 4, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
    nutripharma likes this.
  17. MyRealNameIs

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    51
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    Lol
    Seriously, a single opening? Do you even know how many pharmacists graduate each year? That is just such a stupid argument.

    Stop arguing about things I never said. There are pharmacist jobs. Otherwise, I would be crazy for applying to pharmacy school. I just simply said if you are only going for pharmacy for pay and job, you are not choosing the right field. The extra 2-4 years of schooling is not in your best interest.

    Pharmacists are getting fired. Not in hospitals, but in retail. When is the last time you saw a pharmacist at your retail pharmacy over 50? Actually, I don't think there is a single one in my district. Its a big deal considering most pharmacists will end up at a retail.

    The added benefit of computer science is there are opportunities to work from your house. So the job does not choose where you want to live.

    I will concede that if you are the minority that love living in rural areas with no amenities except nature, pharmacy is a great option. I should've said "most"
     
  18. El Trombopag

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    102
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    Many days I feel like I'm wearing the wrong white coat...
     
  19. stoichiometrist

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    1,271
    If you're okay with working in retail and moving to a rural area then pharmacy might be okay. If you want to live in a major city and retail is not for you, and your goal is to maximize your lifetime earnings, then computer programming is a no-brainer.

    Pharmacist take-home pay is dropping rapidly due to 1) falling gross salaries, since employers can pay less due to too many pharmacists and 2) rising tuition results in higher student loans, which eats significantly into take-home salary.
     
  20. stoichiometrist

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    1,271
    Bumping this thread. You really need to consider the return on investment of a PharmD with them costing $200k+ in student loans and 4 additional years of your life in school in exchange for a relatively poor quality of life compared to other professions of being on your feet for 12+ hours with no breaks, dealing with belligerent and sometimes violent oxycodone addicts, corporate threatening to throw you out and replace you with an even hungrier new grad if you don't meet metrics. This is if you can even land a job in the metro area of your choice. You could be forced to move to the middle of nowhere to build a new life due to the lack of jobs in urban and suburban areas.

    There ARE professions that offer a great quality of life, pay six figures, are hiring like crazy, and require a bachelors degree or less. Pharmacy is not one of them.
     
  21. cdpiano27

    cdpiano27 Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Messages:
    602
    Likes Received:
    2
    Other possibilities are getting a PhD in pharmaceutics or pharmacy outcomes research. Pharmaceutics would be useful for PK jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, and pharmacy outcomes would be HEOR. I believe both are good options in industry. Go to the cheapest possible place to get the PharmD (in-state flagship school) and then do a PhD in either area from that school. Another options is biostatistics. In undergraduate take Calculus I, II, III, one or two semesters of linear algebra (one applied the other theoretial), two semester of proof based real analysis, two semsters of undergraduate calculus-based probability and get nearly all A's with any major, take GRE, get top scores in everything, and apply to PhD programs in biostatistics or statistics. If you are not a mathematics major, then those prereq classes above are extremely important to get nearly all A's in to be competitive. For those considering computer science but want to stay in the life science area, biostatistics involves programming and data analysis in clinical trials and the pay starting out now in pharma after PhD in statistics / biostatistics is now $110-120K base with 10 to 15 percent target bonus. At each job wait three years to get promoted. If you don't, then apply to another company to get the promotion. Do this and 8 years later, you can get close to $200K base, 18 to 23 percent bonus (depending upon compay), and stock options / restricted stock. For a PhD in statistics or biostatistics you are usually either admitted with graduate fellowship or RA or not at all, or admitted to the masters program without funding. If you get a masters in statistics, then you will be limited to being a SAS programmer in pharma industry. The pay is lower, and more jobs are contract-based, but the pay is still decent. Probably around $90K out of school with masters degree. and then of course you can either get internally promoted after 3 years at the same company, or not, then change jobs. With PhD in statistics, you can also be a professor too. Therefore, the PhD route can be very good, if you are choosing the right area. Keep in mind that most jobs are either in NJ (big pharma), Boston (some big pharma, biotech companies), San Diego (smaller biotech companies), San Francisco (lots of small companies and Genentech and Gilead here as well). There are all CRO (contract research organizations) where the pay is lower and you are more likely being a client to the pharma (and serving their outsourcing needs); these are companies such as Iqvia (formerly Quintiles), PPD, ICON, Medpace, etc. It could be easier to break in from CRO (especially if one is trying to enter with masters degree as statistical programmer). The CROs pay substantially lower but are also located in lower cost of living area (for example, lots in RTP area of North Carolina (Iqvia, ICON, INC Parexel, etc.). I believe if one wants to stay in the life sciences (which getting a pure computer science degree may not allow, but also could if you go into computational biology, etc). but likes the quantitative side, then PhD in statistics or biostatistics, or PharmD / PhD (with PhD in health economics or outcomes research), or even PhD in pharmaceutics (for the PK side), could be the way to go. Bioinformatics (although it has a job market) involves genomics and omics data, and is yet another option.
     
  22. redfish955

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2018
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    48
    Status:
    Non-Student
    Just about any engineer at a fortune 500 company should get to 90k a year. They vary by quality of life, cost of living, and location. Some are located in small towns, some in over priced cities, and some in really cool locations but the jobs are super competitive to get. The fields dealing with computers are paying way more than the other fields right now so I expect them to become saturated over the next ten years. An engineer at Boeing is earning like 110k a year and the same one at apple is earning 165k a year. I just don't see something like that lasting long term. If your interested in Engineering the best thing to do would be pick out a dream job at a dream company. Take into account, cost of living, quality of life, desk/lab/field/customer interaction/ect. Then go all out to get that job. Research the requirements to get that internship there. What does it take to get that first job there. If you don't land that job right out of school apply for technician roles at these companies. Most of these companies need a pretty well rounded person to run tests, operate 7 figure equipment, and ect. They will pay around $25 an hour starting out and you will be able to apply for roles internally year round. IMO midwest companies offer the best balance of quality of life and cost of living near big cities. The biggest issue with a lot of engineering is that these companies require you to specialize at a very high level a lot of the time. Some of these specialties will translate to other companies but a lot of them will not. So, if you get laid off mid or late career there is a good chance your earnings will take a big hit for 4-6 years even if you find another job.
     
    #21 redfish955, Jun 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  23. Robbin

    Robbin Pharmacist

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2018
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    As I have pharmacy Best Pharmacies Oklahoma and Broken Arrow Pharmacy. I am working as a pharmacist but also i am too interested in technology. According to me if you really want to earn more and want good job COMPUTER SCIENCE is better than a pharmacy. Pharm acy is a little bit tough also its not easy to be a specialist pharmacist. But you can be good software engineer if you are interested into technology. Because IT field has more opportunity and jobs than Pharmacy.
    Thanks.
     
  24. DagS132

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    36
    Have you tried going to the pharmacy and talking to the pharmacist? I did this for 2 weeks straight, every day, and got 3 calls for interviews.
    Try this thread GUIDE on FINDING A Pharmacy Technician JOB for Pre-Pharmers (for dummies)
     

Share This Page