To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

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vk22
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To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
dukeblue219
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by dukeblue219 »

Which one does he have a passion for?

Both require a ton of time and dedication. He'll burn out trying to force one of those fields just to make money if he doesn't enjoy it.

Im a little concerned by the association of CS with entrepreneurship. CS is a deep, theoretical field with a lot of math. It really isn't "how to make a tech startup."
mighty72
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by mighty72 »

If the motivation is money then medicine is a not the way to go. I have seen too many kids who decide to drop out in pre-med as they come to realize that how long of a journey it is to get to big money.
Computer Science from a good school will get you to big money quicker. You don't have to do start-up, we see many posts here of people in late 20's, early 30's earning 400-500k.
Now if the kid is truly interested in being a doctor, I say go for it.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by Taylor Larimore »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
vk22:

We don't need doctors "motivated strongly by money in making choices."

Please suggest other choices.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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100factorial
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by 100factorial »

The medical field is changing. I would suggest that he identity and follow his passion (aside from making money). Going into medicine primarily for the money may lead to unhappiness, and is unfair to the patients he will be serving.
mudphudder
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by mudphudder »

If he's strongly motivated by financial success then the delayed gratification of medicine might not sit too well with him.
TheNightsToCome
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by TheNightsToCome »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:07 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
I think a high school sophomore is likely to change his mind about career choices a dozen times before finishing school. Having written that, if the motivation for med school is money, then it's a terrible choice.

He'll need to endure med school, residency, and fellowship working long hours, including nights and holidays, doing something he doesn't like in the hope of a future payday. He is now about 17 years away from that payday, but physician reimbursements might be much lower by then.

If he is motivated by money then computer science is the better path, but he might want to consider a career in finance, i.e., investment banking analyst --> MBA --> back to IB vs hedge fund vs private equity, etc. If he studies CS/data science as undergrad, he may become a good candidate for a quant shop.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

I think they should follow their strengths. Sure money is nice - but when you have spend a large amount of your time doing something you don't like - or not being liked by anyone you work with (because you are the dead weight or the "useless boss" or the person who everyone else needs to clean up after) I would think live would be kind of sucky. Unless of course you are clueless to your surroundings and have little or no empathy for the people around you (or the people you are suppose to be cooperating with).


What kinds of things did this person do in HS - that they enjoyed - inside and outside of required school work? That would be the place to start...

If the person is still in HS - it might be wise to counsel that they start looking at what the daily work life of people in the medical profession consists of - and what the daily life of IT (or back office) people looks like.

Why not combine the two?

I'm guessing IT people who work for a medical related employer would need some "medical" kinds of knowledge in order to be a better IT worker.

Just because you know how to code or connect devices doesn't mean you have a whole lotta useful to the work world knowledge.
jayk238
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by jayk238 »

Theres no ‘big money’ in medicine save for a few fields.


In todays society wealth and making big money has far surpassed the average physician income. There are still ways to make big money-certain fields like plastics but the opportunity is exceedingly rare. Another way is dual physician income. Certain cardiology fields and surgical specialties too. Nevertheless if you are talking about half a million+ for real ‘big money’ in todays expectations then you need either banking or tech.

If you want to live in a nice city forget about medicine altogether unless you are a big time research professor in medicine fully tenured at a large institution making money as a practicing doc, big time r01 grant, publishing books etc.

Dont get me wrong. I live a very comfortable life as a single earner primary care doc for my family. But i dont make big money and we are very much living a middle class lifestyle.

As a doctor he will get strong job security and a decent wage. But not big money.
Last edited by jayk238 on Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:52 am, edited 3 times in total.
exodusNH
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by exodusNH »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
I wanted to be a brick layer when I was 5.

When I was a sophomore, I wanted to be an astronomer or astrophysicist. I wanted to get a PhD.

Due to a combination of fatigue (nearly 2 hours of commuting between home and school), working by necessity, and my parents divorcing, by the time I (barely) graduated, my state school wouldn't accept me and to try again the next year.

After 4 years of a gap year, I went to that state school and graduated with a CS degree, a 3.989 GPA, and a recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship. (1 of only 4 CS students in the country that year and the first at my school.)

A lot changes when you're young.

Money should never be the motivating factor. Perhaps a small subset of people can be great at their career when their prime motivation is money.

As someone who has interviewed many programmers over 25 years, I always ask questions to find out why they got into the field. I want to see a passion for the field.

That's too much about me. Let's get to your question.

If the student has a passion for CS, that's the direction I would steer them. If they also have an interest in medicine, I'd see if they could layer a "mini pre-med" course load on top of the CS program. Being a developer with an understanding of medicine could make them very valuable to a firm that works on software for the medical field.

My friend's sister has a CS degree, but used that as a basis to become an IP lawyer. In this case, your student would use their medical knowledge to be a programmer, or perhaps even start their own company that makes software for that market.

Starting your own company is not for the faint of heart. I think it was the studio behind Angry Birds that had something like 60-70 failures before they hit upon that.

Your student will need some sort of fallback onto marketable skills for the inevitable string of failures. It would be best if they weren't just going through the motions.
bighatnohorse
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by bighatnohorse »

I think "good social skills" might be the key here.
Either career choice can provide good income and should not be the deciding factor.
livesoft
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by livesoft »

A lot of medicine of the future will be computer-science based. Since MD is not an undergraduate degree, I see no problem doing both CS and MD. I know many MDs who never practiced medicine, but did research which pays rather well.
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Beehave
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by Beehave »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:27 am
I think a high school sophomore is likely to change his mind about career choices a dozen times before finishing school. Having written that, if the motivation for med school is money, then it's a terrible choice.

He'll need to endure med school, residency, and fellowship working long hours, including nights and holidays, doing something he doesn't like in the hope of a future payday. He is now about 17 years away from that payday, but physician reimbursements might be much lower by then.

If he is motivated by money then computer science is the better path, but he might want to consider a career in finance, i.e., investment banking analyst --> MBA --> back to IB vs hedge fund vs private equity, etc. If he studies CS/data science as undergrad, he may become a good candidate for a quant shop.
+1. If money is the object, address that financial goal directly as suggested above.

As described, this student should be exiting their undergraduate education aimed at earning big bucks having under their belt some course work in accounting, speech, presentation skills, writing, logic, programming skills and finance. This should lead to an MBA and career in finance.

This student should target internships with appropriate financial institutions. Possibly the internships will lead to employment, and then the employer may fund the MBA.

The undergraduate education should be rounded out with electives in great books and ethics and anything else of interest or passion.

If the student changes their mind along the way, so be it, and they can change the curriculum path.
protagonist
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by protagonist »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
Life as a physician is very different than life as a computer scientist, and would probably attract a much different personality, unless he was going to be a research physician.
I would think that he would ultimately figure out which path was more appealing to him based on lifestyle decisions, how much interpersonal interaction he wants at work, commitment to health care, etc, etc. It is probably a difficult decision for a 15 year old to make, since it is probably a rare 15 y o who knows himself that well. Why does he need to decide his career choice at age 15?
That said, a CS degree would, I would think, make him very competitive for med school, and it would also give him a bit more time to figure out how he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Maybe it would take him in a different direction entirely. Once you commit to being an MD it is very difficult to abandon ship (cognitive dissonance after all that hard work).
aardvark62
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by aardvark62 »

Depending on the school he eventually attends, (2) may be very masochistic and could very well require a 5th year to complete. Most Comp Sci programs don't fulfill the requirements for Med School, as they don't require biology, organic chemistry, and other related courses. Personally, I'd shoot for a good undergrad with both Comp Sci and pre-Med options open. The number of aspiring doctors I met freshman year in college quickly diminshed by junior year, after weed-out classes were taken.

If pure money making is the motivation, then Ivy-League economics, finance, math, or engineering (e.g. Operations Research and Information Engineering at Cornell) are the way to go, IMO. Wall Street scoops these undergrads up.
Topic Author
vk22
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

I have had conversation on money.
He says, if a doctors motivation is only to help people, why wouldn't they do it for free or close to it?
He says why would a doctor need to get $300 or 500K in compensation?

In his opinion, most people are motivated by money. "Passion is a function of what one knows" (he's taking calc in school, so all is a "function" :)
He will only know both fields if he actually lives it. He didnt like chemistry before, but once he learnt it, he does now.

His passion is to solve problems and make most money with it! How do I do that is his question to me.. hard work is no problem for the right return, so I surmise.

He also asked how much money I make and why so less : ) I truly want to help him...thanks for all the insights so far and any more to come.
Last edited by vk22 on Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
stan1
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by stan1 »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
Does he have a chance to get into a Top 10 computer science program with good career pipelines? If so that sounds like a good path to start. if he's 16 now he may decide to take a completely different path at 21. A CS degree will give him a lot of flexibility as a technically focused entrepreneur. It sounds to me like his interests really are not in patient care which is generally what an MD does. He also may not have interest in another 15 years of education and internship. Does he come from a family of MDs? Maybe that's not the path for him.
Topic Author
vk22
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

stan1 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:24 am
vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
Does he have a chance to get into a Top 10 computer science program with good career pipelines? If so that sounds like a good path to start. if he's 16 now he may decide to take a completely different path at 21. A CS degree will give him a lot of flexibility as a technically focused entrepreneur. It sounds to me like his interests really are not in patient care which is generally what an MD does. He also may not have interest in another 15 years of education and internship. Does he come from a family of MDs? Maybe that's not the path for him.
no MDs in his family. He can get into top CS school I think. He wants to learn more about BS/MD short program. His school counselors dont know much. His parents suggested private college counselor. They want to talk to Solomon consulting, but appear to be $25K or so.
mighty72
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by mighty72 »

To OP, ask him how long before he starts earning via MD route? Does he know the answer.
BS/MD is still 6-7 years, biggest advantage is that you don't have to apply again. Then min 3 years of residency which will probably get him 150-250k job in today's dollars. If big money is desired then add 3-4 years of fellowship. So, in all it is 13 years before big money comes in and most likely not above 500k.

Take up CS, top 10 school and faang will get 140k+ easy in 4 years. With 9 years of experience, if he is as good as you say then we are looking easy 400k+. Even at 140k starting in tech and assuming full scholarship and he is a million dollars ahead from the MD path including any money he gets during residency and fellowship.
MarkRoulo
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by MarkRoulo »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
He is a high school sophomore, so has three more years of high school, then four more for a bachelors degree and maybe six if he goes for a masters degree.

So ... we are speculating on whether programming jobs seven to nine years out will still pay like they do today AFTER OVER A DECADE of smart/talented/hard-working kids piling into computer science? Is this correct?

But also ... what would the kid do differently over the next three years if he chooses now to pursue either of these options? I'm guessing that his high-school activities will be pretty similar in either case, right?
livesoft
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by livesoft »

MarkRoulo wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:51 amHe is a high school sophomore, so has three more years of high school, then four more for a bachelors degree and maybe six if he goes for a masters degree.

So ... we are speculating on whether programming jobs seven to nine years out will still pay like they do today AFTER OVER A DECADE of smart/talented/hard-working kids piling into computer science? Is this correct?
Maybe not. My son's friend dropped out of HS early to start working in a start up as a software person. Got their GED soon after before anyone else graduated from HS. Never went to college. At age 20 was managing a software group and was getting the appropriate compensation for that job as well as a successful career.

It is possible that the student under discussion is just as talented and traditional paths are not for them.
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Topic Author
vk22
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

MarkRoulo wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:51 am
vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
He is a high school sophomore, so has three more years of high school, then four more for a bachelors degree and maybe six if he goes for a masters degree.

So ... we are speculating on whether programming jobs seven to nine years out will still pay like they do today AFTER OVER A DECADE of smart/talented/hard-working kids piling into computer science? Is this correct?

But also ... what would the kid do differently over the next three years if he chooses now to pursue either of these options? I'm guessing that his high-school activities will be pretty similar in either case, right?
In high school he will try to shadow a doctor/volunteer in hospital, or engage in biology type school research work - if BS/MD option.
If CS, he will try to create apps or work on CS entrepreneurship extracurricular.

He likes both, but dont have time to engage in all of these.
TheNightsToCome
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by TheNightsToCome »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:30 am
stan1 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:24 am
vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
Does he have a chance to get into a Top 10 computer science program with good career pipelines? If so that sounds like a good path to start. if he's 16 now he may decide to take a completely different path at 21. A CS degree will give him a lot of flexibility as a technically focused entrepreneur. It sounds to me like his interests really are not in patient care which is generally what an MD does. He also may not have interest in another 15 years of education and internship. Does he come from a family of MDs? Maybe that's not the path for him.
He wants to learn more about BS/MD short program. His school counselors dont know much. His parents suggested private college counselor. They want to talk to Solomon consulting, but appear to be $25K or so.
As a med student and resident I worked with 2 colleagues who graduated from the UMKC 6-year BA/MD program. They were both well-trained and seemed to enjoy their time at UMKC.

https://med.umkc.edu/six-years-two-degrees/
blastoff
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by blastoff »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:12 am I have had conversation on money.
He says, if a doctors motivation is only to help people, why wouldn't they do it for free or close to it?
He says why would a doctor need to get $300 or 500K in compensation?

In his opinion, most people are motivated by money. "Passion is a function of what one knows" (he's taking calc in school, so all is a "function" :)
He will only know both fields if he actually lives it. He didnt like chemistry before, but once he learnt it, he does now.

His passion is to solve problems and make most money with it! How do I do that is his question to me.. hard work is no problem for the right return, so I surmise.

He also asked how much money I make and why so less : ) I truly want to help him...thanks for all the insights so far and any more to come.
It's all relative within whatever your local circle winds up being.
I work with MDs that make 7 figures that feel they are leaving money on the table and doing something honorable.
Some of them would kill themselves if they only made 500k.... do they really care about saving kids?
Human nature is an interesting thing.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by Ron Ronnerson »

Both paths, as well as many others, can lead to money. However, settling for just wealth can cause people to feel unfulfilled or even unhappy as time goes on. Life is long and doing something that isn’t enjoyable for several decades just for the money doesn’t sound a great way to go about things.

I would focus on interests and strengths and also think about my lasting legacy (a high schooler may need help with that last part). A 14 or 15 year old could also easily find that his motivations change over time and if he ends up in a career that is not well suited for him, he may have regrets. While it is important to think about how much a job pays, making that the sole focus is not the best idea, in my opinion. Also, why limit himself to just these two choices? For example, if he’s calculative and loves money, maybe he could be a CPA who helps people save on their taxes while simultaneously growing rich himself.

I would also tell him that a money-making machine exists (aka investing). Many people don’t know nearly enough about it. The people on this forum have all sorts of careers but investing is a big part of what helped many of them become rich. Show him some compound interest tables and I’m sure his eyes will pop out. Living below your means and investing regularly have a proven track record. So he might as well pick something he likes (at least to some degree) and get rich at the same time.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by MJS »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:12 am I have had conversation on money.
He says, if a doctors motivation is only to help people, why wouldn't they do it for free or close to it?
He says why would a doctor need to get $300 or 500K in compensation?
To pay back enormous debts. To compensate for 17-20 years of low earnings. Because they are on-call 24/7.

...

His passion is to solve problems and make most money with it! How do I do that is his question to me.. hard work is no problem for the right return, so I surmise.
If he does like medical problems, investigate a combined Public Health + CS + biz program: 1-2 years in a PH Masters instead of 15 years to become a physician for roughly the same income. If he doesn't actively enjoy medical issues, don't waste time or money on acquiring that expertise: it won't substantially increase income.

Ah -- Does he consider an MD to confer high status? Is that as important as wealth? Or wanting to be someone who contributes to the good of the community and to humankind?
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by Hebell »

Medicine is so much more than caring about patients. I have known those that became doctors in medicine, after an undergraduate career in both physics (electromagnetics) and computer science. Individuals with both passions will find themselves with abundant opportunities in the creation of medical devices and prosthetics. They may also use the math to go into epidemiology, genetic modeling, and so forth. They may also be interested in the actuarial aspects of medicine, to improve our hospitals in outcome-based decision making. There are so many opportunities for fusion of both disciplines. The gentleman I knew that started in electromagnetics and went into emergency medicine, eventually became an astronaut, and went into space.
MrJones
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by MrJones »

Taylor Larimore wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:22 am vk22:

We don't need doctors "motivated strongly by money in making choices."

Please suggest other choices.
This a thousand times.
BernardShakey
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by BernardShakey »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
I won't weigh in on the merits and challenges of the two fields, however I will comment on the #2 option in your post.

Gaining acceptance to a reputable medical school is highly competitive. One of the key factors is undergraduate GPA, with competitive students in the 3.7-4.0 range. If enrolled in a top CS undergraduate program (take UC Berkeley for example), the competition for grades is very high. As a CS major at such a school, it may be difficult to maintain the required GPA for med school admission.

Yes, the uniqueness of the CS degree relative to the ubiquitous Bio degrees may give him leg up on med school admission but only if that GPA is competitive enough. Data shows that MD applicants who major in Humanities and related fields actually have the highest acceptance rates as they are able to keep their grades up while taking the necessary science pre-reqs. They also tend to do well on reading-intense section of the MCAT exam which is a challenge for many students.
An important key to investing is having a well-calibrated sense of your future regret.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by phxjcc »

Hasty Generalization Fallacy

The hasty generalization fallacy is sometimes called the over-generalization fallacy. It is basically making a claim based on evidence that it just too small. Essentially, you can’t make a claim and say that something is true if you have only an example or two as evidence.
InMyDreams
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by InMyDreams »

Would it be possible for him to interview a pre-med advisor at a local college? Or interest interviews with MDs doing something of interest to him? I'm wondering if an MD is needed for what he wants in life. What about a bio-medical engineering approach? Does he want hands-on medical practice? Or does he want to be in a lab developing new robotics or new computer applications.

There are MDs who enter research and do not do a residency after med school. Seems like getting a broader view of career choices could be useful.

And he's a sophomore in high school. Some people are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up when they're a sophomore in college...
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by familythriftmd »

Seems like probably should do CS to MD route, given that he likes money and he would realize how much money he could make in computer science than MD with less opportunity cost sometime at a job fair in undergrad. Then he can choose not to apply to MD if he realizes he's in it more for the money than helping people. People already burn out of medicine even if they started for the right reasons.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by Afty »

I made this exact decision in college during the dot com boom. I had been pre-med up to that point, but as someone else said the weed-out classes had taken a toll on me, and meanwhile I was spending my free time messing around with my computer. I had completed my pre-med requirements but had really soured on the idea of going to med school. I decided to switch my focus to computer science, using all my electives to take CS courses. It was quite a difficult decision as both my parents were physicians, and I had always planned to be a physician. But looking back, this was definitely the right decision for me.

I would set aside the money aspect of this. He'll do fine moneywise in either career. Which one interests him more? What does he do in his spare time, and could he make a career out of that?

It does seem that there is much more variance in computer science careers than for an MD. My sense is that an MD's salary might vary 5-6x from the lowest paying to the highest paying specialties/positions. A software engineer might earn $50-60k at the low end, and be Jeff Bezos at the high end.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

MrJones wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:22 am
vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Indian American.
Curious, what's the significance of ethnicity?
He told me everyone in the Indian ethnicity wants to be a doctor or CS! So, I sort of remembered it.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

MJS wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:17 am
vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:12 am I have had conversation on money.
He says, if a doctors motivation is only to help people, why wouldn't they do it for free or close to it?
He says why would a doctor need to get $300 or 500K in compensation?
To pay back enormous debts. To compensate for 17-20 years of low earnings. Because they are on-call 24/7.

...

His passion is to solve problems and make most money with it! How do I do that is his question to me.. hard work is no problem for the right return, so I surmise.
If he does like medical problems, investigate a combined Public Health + CS + biz program: 1-2 years in a PH Masters instead of 15 years to become a physician for roughly the same income. If he doesn't actively enjoy medical issues, don't waste time or money on acquiring that expertise: it won't substantially increase income.

Ah -- Does he consider an MD to confer high status? Is that as important as wealth? Or wanting to be someone who contributes to the good of the community and to humankind?
MD carries higher social status in my opinion. I will convey, in addition to your other great points! thank you
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

phxjcc wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:30 am Hasty Generalization Fallacy

The hasty generalization fallacy is sometimes called the over-generalization fallacy. It is basically making a claim based on evidence that it just too small. Essentially, you can’t make a claim and say that something is true if you have only an example or two as evidence.
Profound! how do I practically use this? I am not smart enough to catch your drift
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

InMyDreams wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:32 am Would it be possible for him to interview a pre-med advisor at a local college? Or interest interviews with MDs doing something of interest to him? I'm wondering if an MD is needed for what he wants in life. What about a bio-medical engineering approach? Does he want hands-on medical practice? Or does he want to be in a lab developing new robotics or new computer applications.

There are MDs who enter research and do not do a residency after med school. Seems like getting a broader view of career choices could be useful.

And he's a sophomore in high school. Some people are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up when they're a sophomore in college...
I am not in the medical field. Where I can read more about MDs who enter research? Maybe I will find a pre-med advisor as you said.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by namajones »

100factorial wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:23 am The medical field is changing. I would suggest that he identity and follow his passion (aside from making money). Going into medicine primarily for the money may lead to unhappiness, and is unfair to the patients he will be serving.
+1

Also, going into computers means sitting on your tail all day, every day. Not for everyone--unhealthy and solitary work.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by InMyDreams »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:53 am
InMyDreams wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:32 am Would it be possible for him to interview a pre-med advisor at a local college? Or interest interviews with MDs doing something of interest to him? I'm wondering if an MD is needed for what he wants in life. What about a bio-medical engineering approach? Does he want hands-on medical practice? Or does he want to be in a lab developing new robotics or new computer applications.

There are MDs who enter research and do not do a residency after med school. Seems like getting a broader view of career choices could be useful.

And he's a sophomore in high school. Some people are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up when they're a sophomore in college...
I am not in the medical field. Where I can read more about MDs who enter research? Maybe I will find a pre-med advisor as you said.
MDs, please speak up. I've met a couple of research-only MDs - two in Bioinformatics, another who was doing a post-grad research-fellowship-thing in pathology before he moved onto a Real Job.
Last edited by InMyDreams on Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by TheNightsToCome »

InMyDreams wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:32 am And he's a sophomore in high school. Some people are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up when they're a sophomore in college...
As a 15 yo, my thoughts didn't stray much beyond girls and sports, especially girls.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by HawkeyePierce »

namajones wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:57 am
100factorial wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:23 am The medical field is changing. I would suggest that he identity and follow his passion (aside from making money). Going into medicine primarily for the money may lead to unhappiness, and is unfair to the patients he will be serving.
+1

Also, going into computers means sitting on your tail all day, every day. Not for everyone--unhealthy and solitary work.
Standing desks and walking meetings solve this. This career is also far from solitary.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by InMyDreams »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:03 pm
InMyDreams wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:32 am And he's a sophomore in high school. Some people are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up when they're a sophomore in college...
As a 15 yo, my thoughts didn't stray much beyond girls and sports, especially girls.
Different strokes, different folks...I do think that circumstances and expectations can make some teens more focused on lifetime goals than others. This may well be the case here.

Since his monetary-motivation has been mentioned: there are other threads on BH about ROI for an MD degree - not just the cost of med school, but the 4 years of additional study followed by a paid (but salaried) residency. Hence my question - does he need an MD degree to do what he wants to do. If he wants to do hands-on medicine, then the answer is yes. If his focus is research - well, better defining that would be useful.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by phxjcc »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:49 am
phxjcc wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:30 am Hasty Generalization Fallacy

The hasty generalization fallacy is sometimes called the over-generalization fallacy. It is basically making a claim based on evidence that it just too small. Essentially, you can’t make a claim and say that something is true if you have only an example or two as evidence.
Profound! how do I practically use this? I am not smart enough to catch your drift
You cannot generalize about a question with so broad a scope of domain.

An MD degree and subsequent licensing has a breadth of opportunities: everything from pure academia research through "plastic surgeon to the stars" to a full time "doctors without borders"-type worker in the third world. (Or a senator and presidential candidate)

A CS degree likewise has a breadth of opportunities: from NASA/JPL work, through FAANG multi-millionaire (by the time he/she is 30), to completely altruistic work for non-profit organizations or foundations (radio tracking databases for endangered species, eg.)

I think you are looking for a guarantee of success and there are no guarantees; as in: none.

You will hear horror stories of residency 24 hour on-calls, you will hear horror stories of 24 hour shifts to restore major systems crashes.

You may hear "I saved a life/made someone walk again" stories and "I solved a murder/found a missing person" stories.

In the end, it is which choice gives the largest breath of possibilities.

Have the subject of the inquiry answer that question, and that answer becomes the solution to the problem presented.

ETA: It is therefore only answerable by the person involved.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by stoptothink »

InMyDreams wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:02 pm
vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:53 am
InMyDreams wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:32 am Would it be possible for him to interview a pre-med advisor at a local college? Or interest interviews with MDs doing something of interest to him? I'm wondering if an MD is needed for what he wants in life. What about a bio-medical engineering approach? Does he want hands-on medical practice? Or does he want to be in a lab developing new robotics or new computer applications.

There are MDs who enter research and do not do a residency after med school. Seems like getting a broader view of career choices could be useful.

And he's a sophomore in high school. Some people are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up when they're a sophomore in college...
I am not in the medical field. Where I can read more about MDs who enter research? Maybe I will find a pre-med advisor as you said.
MDs, please speak up. I've met a couple of research-only MDs - two in Bioinformatics, another who was doing a post-grad research-fellowship-thing in pathology before he moved onto a Real Job.
I work with 3 MDs who do not practice medicine. One got MD in a foreign country and moved to the U.S. a few years into practice, just decided they didn't want to continue practicing so didn't bother getting licensed in the U.S. The other two finished school and realized they really did not want to practice medicine. One of them does health science research with me, the other two work for the other arm of our company doing R&D and product development in the health products industry. They all enjoy what they do, but none will likely ever earn what the average family physician does.

Also, my boss is an infectious disease physician who never practiced medicine after fellowship. He went into research and is now the CMO for a large corporation. He doesn't do research now, but oversees all the research done in the different arms of our company. Makes well into 7-figures.

Not putting words in their mouth, but my perception is that they all found out quickly that they did not enjoy treating patients.
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

InMyDreams wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:05 pm
Since his monetary-motivation has been mentioned: there are other threads on BH about ROI for an MD degree - not just the cost of med school, but the 4 years of additional study followed by a paid (but salaried) residency. Hence my question - does he need an MD degree to do what he wants to do. If he wants to do hands-on medicine, then the answer is yes. If his focus is research - well, better defining that would be useful.
I dont know enough about research areas that pay the same as an MD with same prestige. I will try to learn or send him off to someone else to learn. thanks for this
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by vk22 »

phxjcc wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:11 pm
vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:49 am
phxjcc wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:30 am Hasty Generalization Fallacy

The hasty generalization fallacy is sometimes called the over-generalization fallacy. It is basically making a claim based on evidence that it just too small. Essentially, you can’t make a claim and say that something is true if you have only an example or two as evidence.
Profound! how do I practically use this? I am not smart enough to catch your drift
You cannot generalize about a question with so broad a scope of domain.

An MD degree and subsequent licensing has a breadth of opportunities: everything from pure academia research through "plastic surgeon to the stars" to a full time "doctors without borders"-type worker in the third world. (Or a senator and presidential candidate)

A CS degree likewise has a breadth of opportunities: from NASA/JPL work, through FAANG multi-millionaire (by the time he/she is 30), to completely altruistic work for non-profit organizations or foundations (radio tracking databases for endangered species, eg.)

I think you are looking for a guarantee of success and there are no guarantees; as in: none.

You will hear horror stories of residency 24 hour on-calls, you will hear horror stories of 24 hour shifts to restore major systems crashes.

You may hear "I saved a life/made someone walk again" stories and "I solved a murder/found a missing person" stories.

In the end, it is which choice gives the largest breath of possibilities.

Have the subject of the inquiry answer that question, and that answer becomes the solution to the problem presented.

ETA: It is therefore only answerable by the person involved.
thanks. I understand your point better now
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by Northern Flicker »

Recommend the book, "Do What you Love, the Money will Follow"

https://www.amazon.com/What-Love-Money- ... 0440501601
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by InMyDreams »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:35 pm
InMyDreams wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:05 pm
Since his monetary-motivation has been mentioned: there are other threads on BH about ROI for an MD degree - not just the cost of med school, but the 4 years of additional study followed by a paid (but salaried) residency. Hence my question - does he need an MD degree to do what he wants to do. If he wants to do hands-on medicine, then the answer is yes. If his focus is research - well, better defining that would be useful.
I dont know enough about research areas that pay the same as an MD with same prestige. I will try to learn or send him off to someone else to learn. thanks for this
Both of those (pay and prestige) are both more difficult for a degreed MD who did not pursue a residency. But it also goes with another post - paraphrasing, it's not (just) the degree that makes your career, it's what you do with what you've got. My comment about the ROI on an MD degree is also trying to get at this. Does he really need an MD to do what he wants?? Medical school and residency are a long, hard slog. I don't doubt his diligence, but if he doesn't want to do hands on medicine, is it his best path?
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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by FoundingFather »

vk22 wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:16 am Hi All,

I am advising a high school sophomore on deciding his career choice. He wants to go for either
(1) a BS/MD option, which is very competitive or,
(2) Computer science undergrad, then MD

Good student, smart with very strong work ethic, good social skills, entrepreneurial, motivated strongly by money in making choices. Indian American.

Will a medical degree in a strong specialty work to his motivation of making money? Or should he stick with CS and try to be an entrepreneur?
I agree with much of the advice that has already been given. As an MD/PhD in pediatric hematology/oncology doing a mix of patient care, research, and teaching at a large academic center, I have lots of thoughts on this topic, but I also agree that too many generalize their experiences into a rule.

Here are some general thoughts:

1) The medical field is huge and different areas of medicine have very different cultures and ethos. I think that he should shadow at least three different individuals in the medical field (maybe one in research, one in clinical practice, and another in a different area of clinical practice). Then do the same in the computer science world. It should become clear to him which way he leans. If not, continue to shadow and explore as he pursues required classes, both in high school and college.

2) I have went into a subspecialty, because of my passion for this patient population and type of medicine, that doesn't pay as well as most areas of medicine, so that may cause me to be biased, but I don't think that there is enough money in medicine to make up for how long and hard the training is. Between medical school, PhD, residency, and fellowship, I have done 15 years of training after my undergraduate degree. That is a lot of years of basically no pay. I have a brother that dropped out of college and now makes mid 100s as an electrician, never working more than 50 hours a week. I have worked 80-100 hours a week for months and years for no pay. Yes, eventually, the money is good, but that frail promise feels very hollow at times. I would think it would be best to pick a different field if money is the goal.

3) There are a lot of intangible benefits that exist in medicine - satisfaction in helping patients and saving lives, social status, pride in being an expert, leadership opportunities, the social interaction with patients, mental stimulation as the science evolves, etc., that I think are a huge part of why people choose medicine. He may find that a career rich in these rewards is enough for him to still choose medicine, even if the money isn't enough.

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Re: To be or not to be - MD vs Computer science

Post by Wannaretireearly »

My only thought is the competitiveness to get into *any* CS program is ridiculous. My observation is West coast/UC's. I think it's the same for Engineering too, not sure.

I'm a CS major who never did any CS before college. Those days are long over! What has the kid done to show CS aptitude? Programming + Math success I'm guessing? If so, take the CS path imo.

BTW, there are so many other STEM/Engineering fields. The obsession with CS seems midboggling. And I know I'm part of that...
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