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Old 01-28-2010, 04:29 PM   #1
jacob1484
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Default tired of my programming job/path.. microbiology/biochem/something???

so I'm starting to dislike my current career path (software development)... Maybe its because of the company I currently work for or maybe I just need to find something else to do. I like the idea of going back to school for microbiology or biochem but I'm really not sure if... well... I'm not sure of anything at this point.
Going back to school would be difficult with my wife and 6 month old son to pay for/take care of at the same time so it would definitely have to be worth it.


anyone care to chime in?
have a similar experience?
etc?

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Old 01-28-2010, 05:13 PM   #2
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Eh, I'll chime in for ya... While I don't have any experience with programming, I can certainly provide some feedback concerning your possible new career... I have MS and Ph.D. in Medical Sciences, which is pretty much equivalent to a lot of biochemistry programs. If you're looking to go that route, I would suggest thinking it through before you jump ship. If you get a BS in biochemistry, you might have trouble finding more than just grunt/gofer jobs. People with MS and/or Ph.D are a dime a dozen, so a lot of the jobs that BS holders could get promoted to are now being held and fought over by MS and PhD level candidates. I'm not trying to dissuade you from pursuing a biochemistry career, it can be a very rewarding career path. My suggestion would be to find a program that might allow you to do a dual BS/MS program, I know there are programs out there that will give dual BS and MS credit to some of the upper level BS classes, therefore it's only an extra couple semesters to get the MS. Having a MS will help you a lot if you decide to do something on the business/sales side of science.

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Old 01-28-2010, 05:18 PM   #3
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As a generality, to make any decent money in the biological science fields, you need a Masters or PhD. I guess you have a lot of soul-searching to do. On one hand, everyone wants to enjoy what they do. On the other hand, you need to figure out why exactly you don't like software development before making a decision that big. My $0.02. Good luck.

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Old 01-28-2010, 05:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jacob1484 View Post
so I'm starting to dislike my current career path (software development)... Maybe its because of the company I currently work for or maybe I just need to find something else to do. I like the idea of going back to school for microbiology or biochem but I'm really not sure if... well... I'm not sure of anything at this point.
Going back to school would be difficult with my wife and 6 month old son to pay for/take care of at the same time so it would definitely have to be worth it.


anyone care to chime in?
have a similar experience?
etc?
Very similar experience here. Is it the environment you work in or programming in general?

I enjoy programming, it still is a very large part of my occupation but, I was tired of writing the same kind of code over and over. I would have to port over the same code to different hardware platforms. All of the new and interesting stuff went to the senior guy who constantly complained about being over burdened. I also had no input what so ever about how something should be done. If I had an idea and shared it with the group it was shot down in flames, only to resurface a month later as the VP's idea. (Almost like that commercial with the hand gesture variations)

Eventually I had a falling out with my immediate supervisor, he had beef with a relative of mine and somehow I became his punching bag. The last straw was when he had given me a poor performance review. I sucked it up and made sure I kept busy and above reproach at all times. It also put me on probation. Six months later I was reviewed again and given an absolute abysmal review. I produced a copy of both of our schedules for the last 6 months and I had an increase of 15% in my productivity. When compared to his I was 600% more productive. Needless to say the conversation got heated. I told the VP that he had 3 choices, either move to another supervisor, transfer me to the systems department, or I will be forced to resign.

I was transferred to the Systems Engineering group 2 weeks later. Best thing to ever happen to my career, as an engineer I am more well rounded and less myopic now because of it.
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:38 PM   #5
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my wife works for a bio-tech firm in clinical and all management and above have at the very least Masters

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Old 01-28-2010, 05:47 PM   #6
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I don't know what you're going to need going to school, but my situation might be relevant. I just graduated college with a mechanical engineering degree last May and got married within the month. When I graduated I kind of knew that I wanted an electrical engineering degree and an advanced degree, but I decided to work for a couple of years and then go on to more school. Unfortunately, between the bad economy, Michigan's economy making the bad economy everywhere else look great, and my lack of out of state connections, I only managed to get one phone interview and one in person interview (both with the same company) out of 80+ applications. I didn't get the job. SWMBO had a similar experience and similarly was deciding that she'd rather go into student affairs at a college than go into business. So we both have applied to grad schools and she is going for a master's and I'm going for a doctorate. Most doctorate programs will provide decent funding. Probably not what you're used to, but more than we are getting right now with our temporary/starbucks/nannying style jobs. If she gets an RD job through her program, some schools even offer health insurance, free food, furnished apartment, and full tuition+stipend.

That being said, all we know so far is that she got into the top school she applied to, so it's pretty uncertain right now.

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Old 01-28-2010, 05:52 PM   #7
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so I'm starting to dislike my current career path (software development)... Maybe its because of the company I currently work for or maybe I just need to find something else to do.
Watch Office Space for starters. If you still want to quit you may be on to something.

Joanna: So, where do you work, Peter?
Peter Gibbons: Initech.
Joanna: In... yeah, what do you do there?
Peter Gibbons: I sit in a cubicle and I update bank software for the 2000 switch.
Joanna: What's that?
Peter Gibbons: Well see, they wrote all this bank software, and, uh, to save space, they used two digits for the date instead of four. So, like, 98 instead of 1998? Uh, so I go through these thousands of lines of code and, uh... it doesn't really matter. I uh, I don't like my job, and, uh, I don't think I'm gonna go anymore.
Joanna: You're just not gonna go?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Joanna: Won't you get fired?
Peter Gibbons: I don't know, but I really don't like it, and, uh, I'm not gonna go.
Joanna: So you're gonna quit?
Peter Gibbons: Nuh-uh. Not really. Uh... I'm just gonna stop going.
Joanna: When did you decide all that?
Peter Gibbons: About an hour ago.
Joanna: Oh, really? About an hour ago... so you're gonna get another job?
Peter Gibbons: I don't think I'd like another job.
Joanna: Well, what are you going to do about money and bills and...
Peter Gibbons: You know, I've never really liked paying bills. I don't think I'm gonna do that, either.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:12 PM   #8
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+1 on needing a M.S. or a PhD in the sciences

I finished my Ph.D in Chemistry a little over a year ago. Grad school in the biological/chemical sciences is a long and arduous journey. If you really want to do it, go for it. My wife and I got married my first year of grad school, money has been very tight for the past 6 years. Very hard to support two people on a grad student stipend.

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Old 01-28-2010, 06:14 PM   #9
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PhD Biochemist here. [Hence, in part, the user name. We love to put Bio in front of everything!]

You are not going to make tons of money in the sciences. It is really only something to consider if you know you really enjoy it.

And the poster above was correct when he said their is a glut of PhDs on the market. I have just gotten through hiring someone for an entry position (BS) in my lab. The number of PhDs I had applying was amazing! Times are tough, grants are hard to get, and there are more PhDs on the market than can get University jobs, so they are having to apply for jobs like mine.

Not to say don't do it! It can be done. Just be careful to carve out a niche for yourself.

Maybe with a software background you could go into bio-computing? (See how we love the bio ) Not sure if that is any better, but I do know that computers, networks, and databases etc are vital to modern science. Probably 5 or 10 years ago that would have been the field to get into?

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Old 01-28-2010, 06:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CodeRage View Post
Very similar experience here. Is it the environment you work in or programming in general?

I enjoy programming, it still is a very large part of my occupation but, I was tired of writing the same kind of code over and over. I would have to port over the same code to different hardware platforms. All of the new and interesting stuff went to the senior guy who constantly complained about being over burdened. I also had no input what so ever about how something should be done. If I had an idea and shared it with the group it was shot down in flames, only to resurface a month later as the VP's idea. (Almost like that commercial with the hand gesture variations)

Eventually I had a falling out with my immediate supervisor, he had beef with a relative of mine and somehow I became his punching bag. The last straw was when he had given me a poor performance review. I sucked it up and made sure I kept busy and above reproach at all times. It also put me on probation. Six months later I was reviewed again and given an absolute abysmal review. I produced a copy of both of our schedules for the last 6 months and I had an increase of 15% in my productivity. When compared to his I was 600% more productive. Needless to say the conversation got heated. I told the VP that he had 3 choices, either move to another supervisor, transfer me to the systems department, or I will be forced to resign.

I was transferred to the Systems Engineering group 2 weeks later. Best thing to ever happen to my career, as an engineer I am more well rounded and less myopic now because of it.
I got stuck in a similar position a couple years ago, and I want to emphasize that the people you work with and the management structure above you are probably more important than what you're actually doing.


Try a job at another shop and see if it helps. It could just be a ****ty supervisor/work plan thats causing problems.
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