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   Job market situation for different sci/eng backgr.
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   Author  Topic: Job market situation for different sci/eng backgr.  (Read 2466 times)
nittanylion302
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Re: Job market situation for different sci/eng bac
« Reply #5 on: Jun 8th, 2006, 9:18pm »
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on Apr 21st, 2006, 3:21pm, guest wrote:

Incidently, I heard there's a pretty high demand for pharmacists with a J.D.

 
 
really? could you please elaborate?
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Bruce
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Re: Job market situation for different sci/eng bac
« Reply #6 on: Jun 10th, 2006, 1:58pm »
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I have a B.S. in CS and can give you a little bit of info on that job market.  To begin, once you acquire 3 years of experience as a software developer, you can find several jobs that will pay you $80K-120K per year.  That is close to the starting salary of the average patent lawyer.  Plus, in talking to my colleagues, most of us rarely have to work more than 50 hours per week.  45 hours per week is about average.
 
So, with just a BS in CS you can make what the average first-year lawyer makes with a much shorter work week.  Additionally, most of the CS people I talk to actually enjoy their jobs.  They get to work on solutions to real-world problems which is fun.  I know one CS major who chose to become a patent agent, and he mostly does technical writing all day.  He is not as enthused about his job as my friends who actually program and design systems.  
 
I was thinking about going to law school, but after I did the math and talked to my patent agent friend, I decided against it.  I'm currently making $90K, so three years of law school would cost me $270K in salary plus the cost of tuition (~$40K).  That's $310K I would be foregoing to get a job that would pay about the same as I am making now or slightly less.  $310K is an assload of money.  Plus, I don't even think I would like being a patent agent.  Of course, I could work part-time while going to school, but then I would have to kiss my 45-hour work week goodbye.
 
The main benefit to being a patent lawyer is that your salary upside is greater than just being a programmer or engineer.  As a salaried engineer or programmer, you top out at around $120K no matter how much experience you get.  However, you can generally make more if you become a consultant or are able to start and run your own successful business.  From what I can tell, it looks like patent lawyers can keep increasing their salary with each additional year of experience.  It looks like $180K after six years of experience is doable.  However, to get that extra money, you have to work much longer work weeks (not to mention the $300K most programmers/engineers give up by going to law school).
 
So, for many EE and CS people, the monetary incentive to become a patent lawyer is just not there.  Many of these guys would have to take a pay cut to become a patent lawyer.
 
The biotech world appears to be different.  With just a BS in bio/chem, it looks like you can only make around $30K or so starting out and the starting salary doesn't increase nearly as much as an EE/CS person's does.  Plus, most of these jobs involve lab work which may not be too fun (i.e, working with dangerous substances and what not).  From my internet research, even with a PhD in bio or chem, these guys only make around $50K to $60K starting out.  Some of these guys do post-docs which pay even less.  Plus, there jobs usually involve research and writing, so they may not enjoy the work that much.
 
So for the bio/chem guys, the incentive to go to law school is much greater.  They can stay in their post-docs and hope to find a position as a professor somewhere, or they can go to law school for 3 years and then start as a patent lawyer making 3x what they were making.  Also, I get the impression that their is an over-supply of bio/chem PhDs in relation to the amount of research and professor positions that are available.  Thus, competition for those positions is high and pay can stay relatively low.  In EE/CS, there is still somewhat of a shortage of people even with BS degrees (especially if you have the right skill set).
 
Here's a quick summary chart of why I think there are more bio/chem people on this board than EE/CS.
 
BS in CS/EE: $80K-$120K salary after only 3 years experience, work is enjoyable because get to solve real-world problems; 40-50 hour work week; generally top out at $120K regardless of experience
 
BS in CS/EE + JD: start at $80K-$120K after 3 years of law school; 45-60 hour work week; can make $180K+ after 6 years; Work is generally not as enjoyable as straight EE/CS work
 
PhD in bio/chem: low pay as a post-doc (less than $50K); lab work involves research and writing which may not be enjoyable to some; may have to work long hours even though pay is low; over-supply of PhDs makes it tough to get a tenure-track professor position or good job in industry
 
PhD in bio/chem + JD: can immediately double or triple pay after three years of law school; may be working about the same number of hours as was without JD; Work may actually be more enjoyable than post-doc work
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Isaac
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Re: Job market situation for different sci/eng bac
« Reply #7 on: Jun 10th, 2006, 2:20pm »
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on Jun 10th, 2006, 1:58pm, Bruce wrote:
IHere's a quick summary chart of why I think there are more bio/chem people on this board than EE/CS.
 
BS in CS/EE: $80K-$120K salary after only 3 years experience, work is enjoyable because get to solve real-world problems; 40-50 hour work week; generally top out at $120K regardless of experience
 
BS in CS/EE + JD: start at $80K-$120K after 3 years of law school; 45-60 hour work week; can make $180K+ after 6 years; Work is generally not as enjoyable as straight EE/CS work

 
I think the upper end salary projection for EEs with three years of experience is more than a little optimistic while the upper end starting salary for JDs is a bit pessimitic.   Large law firms are offering 135-150k to start even for JDs without a technical background.
 
Also as a senior engineer my work week was much closer to 50hr than 40hrs.
 
Obviously the question of which types of work are enjoyable is  personal one.
 
I'm not sure there are more life science posters here than engineers, but either way, I wouldn't conclude anything from the number of posters.
 
« Last Edit: Jun 10th, 2006, 2:23pm by Isaac » IP Logged

Isaac
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Re: Job market situation for different sci/eng bac
« Reply #8 on: Jun 18th, 2006, 5:30pm »
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With regard to Bruce's post (above).  That sounds like a pretty plausable reason why there's a difference in the demand for CS/EE and other undergrad majors.
 
Incidently, you don't have to work the 70 hour work weeks if you don't want to.  Although, a lot of lawyers do work crazy hours, it's not manditory.  There are jobs out there (quite a few) that don't require that time comitment and pay fairly comparable saleries (maybe a 10-20K differernce -- that's a 5-10K difference after taxes).  Moreover, there are quite a few people at the big firms who take 2-3 hour lunches and go to the gym or whatever.  There's also people who wait until the staff leaves then they leave and complain about how many hours they put in.  It's also possible to do work on a laptop (from home or the train) and bill for that.
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roadrunner
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Re: Job market situation for different sci/eng bac
« Reply #9 on: Jun 29th, 2006, 2:50am »
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Bruce, is your company hiring?  Shocked
 
You forgot:  "and at age 40, they fire you and never let you work in the software industry again."  Also, I really don't know where you're getting those salaries from.  The only friend of mine who survived in the software industry after the dot.com bloodbath is making about $60K per year and is working sixty hour weeks to keep his job.  He's got about fourteen years of experience at this point.
 
The last place that talked to me was offering $54K per year, but they (fraudulently) got an H1-B worker straight off the plane from Mumbai instead (because they "couldn't find a qualified American worker" -- I guess my time spent at the same company doing the same job three years earlier, for twice the pay they were offering at that time, didn't count).
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