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Medicine vs. Engineering (Career Advice)

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    Hello could I please have some career advice?

    I really like science-y subjects and am considering a career in either Medicine or Engineering so have taken Double Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics A Levels to cover both these bases- however I want to focus on either one or the other soon so I can gear towards a more specific goal!

    I would say I definitely like biology more than physics, and I enjoyed my work experience at a local hospital however the competitive element of medicine is what's putting me off and I've just been offered an engineering scholarship so I kind of want to do both but that would involve spending about 11 years at Uni haha

    How can I figure out which career field I want to enter?

    (Oh and a lot of people have said "oh just combine the two and do Medical Engineering" but I'm not sure whether that's something I would necessarily like )
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    I suggest that you try to gain work experience in both of these fields. Particularly if you are considering medicine, as a hospital / medical attachment is a pre-requisite in many medical schools.

    You can decide then which career path you would like to follow :yep:
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    Well it seems to me you would be more interested in medicine as of your interest in biology.. medicine will be more biology and engineering physics and chemistry and almost no biology at all!!

    But yes for medicine courses as Vulpes has said work XP is a prerequisite is many medical schools so have work experience in both and that should help you make up your mind for definite!
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    Go on ItunesU and watch some engineering videos and some biology videos and see which ones you prefer.
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    become a petroleum engineer

    change to petrophysics

    ag 40-50 earn £900+ a day
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    or become a medical consultant and earn that when you're 27.

    Medicine is probably better paid than engineering. Both can easily earn 6 figures if you want to though, you just have to decide who you sell your soul to. (and engineering consultancy can easily be £3000 a day, without doing petrophysics - how much do you think India is paying electrical engineers today to tell them what is wrong and what to do about it...)
    Anyway, enough frivolous and uninteresting chat about money, lets get down to the problem in hand.

    You're at a crossroads. you can go either way. I recommend doing the work experience angle. You've got to find out what these careers involve.
    I can tell you about engineering, being a fully qualified engineer myself. With regards to medical engineering - well, you could, but it really isn't the best of both worlds in my view, not at all.

    So yeah, engineering. Most people approaching it from GCSEs/A-Levels think it's about interesting physics puzzles, a bit of lab work, and plenty of building stuff. WRONG! It is, and it isn't.

    It's a LOT of mathematics, a lot of thinking, a lot of equation manipulation and then maybe 5% of your time will actually be hands-on. And that might just be pressing "run" on the computer simulation rather than actually building something. So yeah, glamorous - the overall projects we work on are, yes. giant shipping, jet engines, power stations, the smartphone and the internet, but the nitty gritty, the hard work that goes into it, making it work properly 99.9999% of the time, thinking of all the possible ways that other people can mess it up and then preventing them doing so, to a limited budget, to the right regulations and standards, sustainably, whilst still squeezing out a profit at the end? THAT is engineering. The people that build these things are technicians, not engineers. The engineers design the innards (not those sweeping curves and ergonomic cases that graphic designers put on things), they simulate, test and attempt to break it in every way they know how. So if that sounds like a hard life, if you don't like problem solving, if you can't work in a team where none of you understand the entire system by yourselves, then simply - don't do engineering.

    That said, I find it brilliant. Using mathematics to manipulate, define and control a 2 tonne lump of metal into a device capable of propelling a passenger airliner at just below the speed of sound more efficiently than we've ever managed in the last 60 years? And then getting your passengers to just trust that it will work, without even seeing the insides, let alone understanding the principles? - yeah, that is the sort of engineering challenge I enjoy. If you do your job well, you will not get praise. no one will even be aware that you exist, but you know full well that thanks to your efforts, people are living better lives. If you fail, then people know that it was your fault, they'll be calling for your resignation, saying that you willfully endangered those very same lives.

    So it's a serious business. Not for the faint hearted.

    That definition also applies to medicine. the difference between medicine and engineering, is that for medicine, I didn't have to explain why.

    Stu Haynes, MEng MIET MIEEE
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    or become a medical consultant and earn that when you're 27.
    Do you even know what a medical consultant is?
    Assuming your 18-19 when you start your degree you'd be at least 30-31 by the time you can even hope to become a medical consultant. Consultants earn 70k-100k a year assuming they work at least 9 months a year they probably work alot more they'd be earning £270 a day not even close to £900. For petrophysists/petroleum engineers with 10 years experience in the industry 31-33 years old assuming no internships throughout the degree can easily expect to get in the range of 900-1250£ a day + bonuses jobs like this are frequently advertised and they arent even in the middle east where petengs are grossly over paid. A peteng earning £900 a day wil typically work 6 months for around 165k sometimes they work longer for less sometimes less for more (i personally know one who gets alot more than 165k) but the average is much higher than that of a consultant. iBanking potentially smashes both of these careers. If moneys your motive medicine is not the way to go. If you love the subject/helping people go for it if u want money theres alot of degrees that pay more in the uk and are usually alot less stressful

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Updated: October 5, 2012
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