Senior Software Engineer/Architect Looking To Go To Medical School

Hello, I am a 37 year old Senior Software Engineer/Architect with over 15 years experience in the Software Development IT field, and I am now looking to go to medical school, I am shooting for Fall 2010 for acceptance so you can say I am at the beginning of this journey, but like everything else in my life I have no plans on giving up and will enjoy the challenges. I have no medical experience in my background or patient interaction what so ever, I have no volunteer work, either paid or unpaid, medically related or not; but my goal is clear, my determination is there and my motivation has never been higher, any advice you can give me I am will to hear. I have come to this site to surround myself with likeminded people that I can learn from and help when possible.

I am a true geek, for example I don’t plan to take the MCAT until April 2009 but I have already purchased every MP3 based learning system known to man (Gold Standard, RapidLearning, and Osmosis to name a few). I have two 500 GB Hard drives field with Medical Related Podcast, MP3, and Videos. I carry a 160 GB Classic IPod filled to the max with the latest podcast, audio lectures, and videos that I can find on the web. I read 90% of mu course books online using a screen reader called ReadPlease which allows me to read books at three times the normal reading speed. But that is just to give you a glue of my personality.

Currently I am studying for my Respiratory Therapist Degree and plan to take my CRT and RRT the first of 2009, why you may ask; well it complicated but it fits into my plans and will help me achieve my goals in the long run. I live in Upper Marlboro Maryland, but spend 90% of my time on the computer.

Well that is little about me, I am very open and love to meet new people and build relationships that can last a life time, feel free to contact me and maybe we can share, learn, and grow together. During my software career which I am still in I had a motto which was “Develop with Heart, Deliver with Pride” basically it meant that you poured your heart and soul into developing an application in the beginning and you will be able to deliver that application with pride (meaning a feeling that it will perform as expected) I now need a new one for this journey which has many smalls steps, a lot of processes and procedures.

good luck with your plan and your dream. I do suggest you get out and get some sense of the medical world before you sink in to deeply. Volunteer work is a good place to start. Or you might find a local doc to shadow for a while. You are about to make a really big investment of both time and moey and it would be ashame to do that and discover that you really don’t like being a doc after all. (of course - if the world of electronics and techno stuff is what floats your boat then consider radiology - you can hide in the dark and not deal with a lot of patients)

good luck with the plan - but do find out what you are getting into. It is a wonderful adventure and so far a really cool ob - but definately not for everyone.

PS - if you do go ahead as planned some volunteer time will look really good on your resume - and will assure the interviewers that you have a sense of what you are getting into.

Steve Y - (another former semi engineer who did make the jump)

as a further note - this is perhapes a good time to thorow out a few words of wisdom I got from my biochem prof way back when I first started taking courses again and the thought of med school was just a day dream:

Every Medical pro should have 3 qualities

  1. a thirst for knowledge

  2. a strong sense of compassion

  3. a great deal of comfort wth the human body

    looking back 9 years… He was very right.

Hey Steve,

Thanks for the feedback , I might have left you with the wrong impression so let me clear it up, I knew going into the medical field from a IT field I would need to demonstrate to the board that I was clear about what I was doing and that I fully understood the client patient relationship and the expectation medical professional have to live up to.

So I started the Respiratory Therapist program here at my local college where I have a majority of the course work completed and only need to finish the Respiratory Care specific classes to get my degree in Respiratory Therapy, but here is the catch before I will be award the degree part of the program requires me to complete 720+ hours of clinical work of which I have complete 200+ in the system. So I last statement about not having any clinical work or patient interaction was misleading as of six months ago this has changed. I currently work with three preceptors at the local hospital where I shadow RRT’s normal on 12 hours shifts over the weekend from 7pm – 7am.

So yes I agree with you that would not be too smart to jump into a career that I had not clearing research but that is not the case. I have three orientations setup to attend this week; at three of the local hospitals, for some reason each hospital requires a volunteer orientation and background investigation before you can volunteer at the hospital so I am also on top of that as well.

So my plan is to have completed and have been working as a RRT prior to setting for my first interview with a medical school to show that I understand the field of medicine and clearly know

what I am getting into.

How does that sound?


I also have done a lot of research into Eczema and Asthma as well as designing a new system using my software development background that is a early warning system for asthma patients mainly children something I have been working on for about a year, this system is built up of both a physical device and a web based application, hopefully that also raises a few eyebrows in the interview as well. I want to make my entire application package irresistible to the board by covering as much as possible.

Hi there, and welcome. I, too, am a software engineer by profession, albeit quite different than IT - I wrote embedded software for implantable medical devices.

I read through the thread but was unable to glean your motivation and raison d’etre for switching careers.

I think even before you research the medical field, you need to research your own self and be comfortable with the decision you are taking.

Either way, good luck!

Well that is a good question and fortunately I have a good answer, or at least I think it is a good answer, but first let me say that I like the fact that you asked the question as it gives me a reason think and articulate my ideas and convey my idea to others. I am writing a essay to try to put my thoughts down on paper and will post it later but to put it short and sweet, my daughter was placed on life support twice at the age of 6 years old and just this year at the age of 9 years old due to extreme asthma attack complicated by pneumonia, each time it was a touch and go and the feeling of helplessness that you feel at the bedside of someone your responsible for taking care of is so scary I cannot express it in words, all the while the doctors are telling you that if you had only saw the signs earlier, you could have done x,y,z. I made a promise that if she walked out the hospital this time (February of 2008) I would learn everything I could about asthma, heart, lungs, pneumonia to prevent this from ever happening again to my daughter. I went home started working on a asthma early warning system, I started researching how to become a Respiratory Therapist to become my daughter’s first line of defense and the more I learned the more I wanted to learn, soon I was helping kids at the bus top, I was giving other parents advice on how to deal with asthma and the eczema that seems to always follow. I wanted to learn more as the more people I helped the more I wanted to help and the more I wanted to know to help even more people. The bottom line is that I have always had a passion to become a MD and now I have the motivation to do it and a reason that I am reminded of every morning I wake up to take my daughter to school. That is the short version the long version is coming soon.

I am not saying I am going to solve or cure asthma, eczema or pneumonia but I will no longer be a Spectator in the fight against helping people breathe, because when you cannot breathe nothing else matters, and if I can help another child take one more breathe that helps them live another day then the years that I have to put into this process, the time it will take the effort that it needs and the money it will cost is nothing compare to that.

Here is an example hold your breath for one minute and then tell me is there anything else on your mind other then when you will be able to breathe again, no imagine that there are 100s of children in your neighborhood alone that are feeling like that right now, the only difference is they don’t know when that next breath is coming or sadly to say if it comes at all.

Well that is my story what do you think?, or is motivation like beauty, in the eye of the beholder?

Hi I’m a new user and the following is my situation.

I have a degree in electrical engineering( grad 2004) and my overall G.P.a is 3.17.

i took general chemistry as part of my engineering curriculum in 1999 and got all A’s.

presenly i am workin as a embedded software engineer in the automotive industry for the last 4 years. my plan is to take other bio classes and organic chemistry in the next 5 semester only when they are offered in the evening as i have full time job in the morning.

I know i have a low g.p.a but if i do really well in my pre reqs and MCATS what ar emy chances.

Also i need to know what other volunteer , shadowin and clinicals i need to do. i already volunteer at a nursin home on weekends.

I just need a overall advice regardin my situation

Yes it definitely sounds convincing on paper. Now you have to put your actions where your words are. Get the volunteering, ace your classes and MCAT and knock the interview out of the park.

Easier said than done, as I am finding out too!

Hi Mel:

You know I’m partial to your taking the Respiratory Therapy route first, as it will allow you to learn a lot about yourself, patient care and the clinical environment as whole. I’ve come from Respiratory, worked as a clinical application analyst and now system admin at hospitals, and yes the IT is quite different from patient care areas. But, everything I do to maintain, implement and support systems, affects the delivery of care. And, there is definitely room for physician’s in IT. As a matter of fact, there are two docs who work in the IT department of the hospital where I work - and they still see/care for patients.