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Dentistry or Computer engineering

Hello I was wondering what major is better (Makes more money, wouldn't need much time to find a suting job opportunity)etc..

I have 2 majors in mind (Dentistry & Computer engineering)

I'd love Dentistry because of
1: I can make my own clinic
2: I am my own boss
3.I am pretty good in chem and bio

While I'd like to major in Computer Engineering because
1: It's a job for the future
2: it involves things that I've loved and known how to use (all my life) (like whenever there's something wrong with anyone in my family's electronics I'd be the go to)
3. It costs less than dentistry

#computer #computer-software #computer-engineer #engineering #it #dentistry #medicine #majors

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6 answers

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G. Mark’s Answer

These are two very good, challenging and important careers. Comparing the two is not as simple as looking at annual salary. First, you can become a computer engineer with a four-year degree. Your masters degree will likely take another year. Becoming a dentist will take 7 to 8 years. There is more competition for spots in dental school, particularly because a computer engineer can generally enter a wider variety of positions in the working world. The other thing to consider is that being your own boss sounds very attractive, but running a business yourself is quite an undertaking. As a computer engineer, many of us can simply leave work at the end of the day and forget about it. Running your own business is a bit more taxing. Now, from personal experience, I can say that in many of my projects, I was responsible for the original invention and running the project until completion, so my weeks tended to be a lot more time-consuming than the average engineer, so there is significant variability.

Another thing to consider for starting your own practice is startup costs. Establishing a dental practice can cost 300 to 500 thousand dollars or more. And, like my own projects, you'll be responsible for your staff. As for salary, it's estimated that the average dentist makes in the 150 thousand range currently. Salaries for an accomplished computer engineer average approximately 120 thousand, with a bit more variability. Keep in mind that as a computer engineer, you'll typically be working for a company -- possibly a very large company -- that will bear the burden of overhead like office space, insurance, other benefits, etc..

Something to consider in becoming a dentist is that you do not necessarily exclude delving into computers. Computer engineering touches nearly every profession these days, so a dual undergrad degree has a lot of potential.

One thing to consider for each of these professions is that neither of them will be subject to automation anytime soon. They'll simply benefit from any technology advances. Both are lucrative and secure professions.

I would also add that on the street where I lived in San Diego we had dentists, doctors, engineers and senior managers. So from this viewpoint money might be about the same. Dave England

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Brent’s Answer

I apologize in advance, because this answer will get a bit morbid.

Full disclosure, I work as a programmer and have been active in the industry for over 15 years. I enjoy this work because it allows me to be creative and solve puzzles (as I'm sure you're aware from your post). I enjoy the challenge and the fun of building systems that work and that people use on a daily basis.

We have an emotional component to our decisions, but we should also consider some industry metrics as well. If you search for terms like "happiest profession" or "most satisfying job" you will likely see many technology related terms pop up (For example; https://www.careerbliss.com/blog/the-careerbliss-happiest-and-unhappiest-jobs-of-2018/ lists <span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">.NET Developer, Sr. Software Developer, and IT Specialist all in the top 10 happiest jobs). This indicates a possible correlation between software/IT fields and happiness. Your mileage may vary.</span>

<span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">When it comes to dentistry, there are studies that suggest that dentists suffer from higher rates of both suicide and depression. According to the following article </span>https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/5344jz/are-dentists-really-more-prone-to-suicide

<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">A </span>2015 study<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"> by the American Dental Association showed showed that 11 percent of dentists responding were diagnosed with depression, while the rate for the </span>general population<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"> was 6.7 percent. Six percent of dentists surveyed had an anxiety disorder while only 3.1 percent of the general population did. Four percent of dentists reported panic disorder, while only 2.7 percent of the general population reported the same.</span>

What I would suggest is to combine your interests in computer science and chemistry/biology. Biotech is an up and coming field with a lot of opportunities to work with (or possibly invent) exciting new technologies.

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Tre’s Answer


During my undergraduate years at my university I was first a computer engineering major for roughly 2 years. I was always told you attend college to find a career something you're passionate about, if you are passionate in both I would suggest considering a double major. The great thing about doing a double major is that you'll already be in the STEM department, so it would not be a heavy load of classes for you which is great!

Personally IT work just was not for me I am a people person so being behind a computer and working on computers just was not going to work out long term for me. Both career paths are considerably paid fairly well. You should look at the pro and the cons of each profession, nothing comes easy in life so do not look for short cuts. Do the work and stay the course that your heart desires, it will always pay off. Both career field are in great need of workers, consider a large part of a generation is retiring they need someone to fill their shoes! Most importantly, someone is going to always need a dentist and someone is always going to need something dealing with a computer you'll never go without a job!

I would also urge you to look a double major and make the best of both worlds, develop tools and software for the dental industry and help bring them into the 21st and 22nd century! It would be ground breaking to see more technology used in the the dentist outside of the normal machines! You could go down in history for your medical device's and even make top dollar for selling them to other dentist!

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Julian’s Answer


So I am a Software Developer, and I think it was a great choice for me. It may not be right for you but here are somethings I like about it:

1 - It's very easy to self-learn

There are so many resources for Software Developers for free online. Even when I was at University, often courses would be just a few months out of date, and it would make a huge difference. Computer Science is a great field for anyone who likes to explore resources and try things on their own. My impression is that this is really difficult in the medical field, but I have not studied this so I can't be sure.

2 - You can be your own boss

You mention that you want to have your own practice as a dentist, which is awesome! As a reminder, software development in really flexible about this.

You can be your own boss and try to freelance or start a start up. Some people realize running a business is harder than they expected and if that is the case you can work for a larger company like Google or Amazon, or a smaller company like Snapchat or Square, or work for a small start up for 0 - 50 people. There are also lots of opportunities to work for companies that aren't even tech companies like Disney, Major League Baseball, or The New York Times where companies are trying to bring technology to other industries.

Computer science is a tool that can be used in lots of ways!

3 - Computer science is a really cool skill to have

On a really basic level, computer science is a really cool skill to have, even if you don't make it your career. Some of the most interesting people in this field are trying to apply software skills to other industries. Tesla is more of a transportation company than a tech company, but software is letting them build cars unlike any traditional car companies. OneMedical is a medical company that is using technology to make appointments and medical care more efficient.

Good luck with your decision. Either way, it sounds like you are looking at some good choices!

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Bonnie’s Answer

Find out if you have a passion for coding by taking free online courses. That’s what I did at Udacity’s online program. Next I earned a Nanodegree that helped me understand My next steps. And you’ll always be able use your new tech skills in your dental practice.

Bonnie recommends the following next steps:

Visit Udacity.com and choose from their list of hundreds of free online courses

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Steve’s Answer

The key is NOT how much you will make, don't even go there. Pick a field that you ENJOY, because you are going to spend most of the rest of your adult life in this field. The field you pick should make you excited to go to work every day. When you are passionate about what you do, success is sure to follow!

First of all I would like to thank you for replying/helping with my question. Second of all what you said is 100% correct however these 2 majors are both things that I am deeply interested in. So it's not mainly about how much money I make but I am loving both fields so far Odai I.

Perhaps you should consider a mash-up of these two fields? How about something in biotechnology? You could explore careers working for a dental technology firm. I'm sure they would be excited to find someone with a dental AND computer science/engineering background. Steve A.