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Salaries of specialists adjusted for overhead expenses

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On 3/21/2018 at 5:15 PM, 1D7 said:

I know about a dozen people who have graduated from compsci/software eng programs straight from undergrad into positions making 110-125k/year and are now close to 150k/year 4 years out from undergrad. Most of my close friends from undergrad graduated middle of the pack from a prestigious Canadian business program and about half have hit the 100k mark 4 years after graduation without having gone into IB. The few of my friends who were able to go straight to IB are mostly in the mid-upper 100k/year range now.

Do you know how long it would take for an average FM to catch up to someone working in Silicon Valley? At the end of 4 years of medical school, medical students are ~150,000 in debt and behind ~500,000 in relative earnings, a total of 650,000. After a 2 year residency, about 850,000 - 1,000,000 behind in total (with all your money going towards paying off your debt while their money works for them via investments). Assuming their careers stagnate and they stop investing, it could take 10-15 years for a staff FM doc to 'catch up'. Realistically closer to 20 years when you account for investment/retirement funds.

Sure, you might say my acquaintances working in Silicon Valley or IB were not average students in their undergrad programs: I would agree completely. However it's unlikely you or most of the posters here were average students. Fact is that physicians are well paid, but the numbers are within the realm that hardworking, smart white collar professionals should be making. The one thing medicine does have over these other careers however, is the stability.

It always confuses me the outward glamour that medical students think people in Silicon Valley have. I worked in the Silicon Valley industry specifically for many years, and let me tell you, it is shit work compared to day in the clinic. You may think 150K/year is good income, except either you are worked to death doing the most meaningless repetitive tasks like debugging the latest issue of a crappy app that will be obsolete in 6 months, or you are constantly living with the threat of getting laid off in the umber-competetive industry that is basically defined by "disruption" and permanent state of flux and transience , or you are paying most of your income for housing and still commuting a good chunk of your waking hours. You probably will see your engineer friend get hired out of school by Tesla (oooooh), and think that now he is an object of envy. Let me tell, I will not trade a PGY1 year for being an engineer at any company in Silicon Valley. The competitiveness in the workplace is brutal, and your employers are not constrained by any ethical values when it comes to doing WHATEVER it takes to polish their quarterly earnings. You do that for 15 years, you will still be at best a middle class earner, and look back at your professional life being basically defined as nothing but having been a gadget-maker.

And you have to remember, you are now comparing a completely different market to your employment opportunities in Canada. The earnings of the tech sector in Canada compared to states is a fraction of the numbers you are quoting above. We can start talking about how much orthopaedic surgeons, bariatric surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, etc. make in the states, and Silicon Valley engineers have nothing over these money-making factories in the private medical world..

The real high-earners in the tech world are the successful start ups, or the top-tier executives. In the former, you might be impressed by the survival-bias stories, but the reality is that vast vast vast majority of start ups fail miserably, with huge losses. In the latter, you can set your sights on becoming CEO, but to get there as a bottom-feeding engineer, you have to pass through the Valley of Death. That is the valley of first having to become a middle-manager. Do you know who is the first to get laid off in any "restructuring"? Hordes upon hordes of middle managers. Again, following the careers of my colleagues now that we are nearly 14 years out of comp sci degrees, for many, their life has basically one lay off after another. They are not living on the streets by any stretch, but far from the rosy picture you might extrapolate from the earnings of starting engineers in one isolated area in California.

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5 hours ago, humhum said:

It always confuses me the outward glamour that medical students think people in Silicon Valley have. I worked in the Silicon Valley industry specifically for many years, and let me tell you, it is shit work compared to day in the clinic. You may think 150K/year is good income, except either you are worked to death doing the most meaningless repetitive tasks like debugging the latest issue of a crappy app that will be obsolete in 6 months, or you are constantly living with the threat of getting laid off in the umber-competetive industry that is basically defined by "disruption" and permanent state of flux and transience , or you are paying most of your income for housing and still commuting a good chunk of your waking hours. You probably will see your engineer friend get hired out of school by Tesla (oooooh), and think that now he is an object of envy. Let me tell, I will not trade a PGY1 year for being an engineer at any company in Silicon Valley. The competitiveness in the workplace is brutal, and your employers are not constrained by any ethical values when it comes to doing WHATEVER it takes to polish their quarterly earnings. You do that for 15 years, you will still be poor, and look back at your professional life being basically defined as nothing but having been a gadget-maker.

And you have to remember, you are now comparing a completely different market to your employment opportunities in Canada. The earnings of the tech sector in Canada compared to states is a fraction of the numbers you are quoting above. We can start talking about how much orthopaedic surgeons, bariatric surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, etc. make in the states, and Silicon Valley engineers have nothing over these money-making factories in the private medical world..

I agree with almost all of this .. except senior engineers in management especially, can certainly outearn physicians in the Bay Area, since management will get a lot of stock options, even more so if they got in early.

It's a crush, with ageism, and companies are always looking to cut on labour costs - willing to use H1B visas to sponsor employees from asia especially.  They essentially lose their right to stay if they lose their job.  

Even though the starting salary at a place like Google is now ~175K/year, the median home price in Mountain View ~2 Mill, so the money really doesn't go that far.

The low-income cut-off in SF at ~100K/year (family of four), which is higher than the median income in most places in Canada. 

Middle and front-office (especially) IB quants do well too (better than software engineers) - but nothing compared to front-office IB in a place like NY  Not to mention the hyper-competitiveness of getting a job and the lifestyle.  And IB is all about the bonus.

Plus, as you point out, unless the careers really excite you, what's the point? 

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On 21/03/2018 at 8:15 PM, 1D7 said:

Have you worked another high level white collar job before starting medicine or know many people in high level white collar professions? Medicine does not pay exceptionally well for the effort put in, except for a select few specialties. FM certainly does not.

I know about a dozen people who have graduated from compsci/software eng programs straight from undergrad into positions making 110-125k/year and are now close to 150k/year 4 years out from undergrad. Most of my close friends from undergrad graduated middle of the pack from a prestigious Canadian business program and about half have hit the 100k mark 4 years after graduation without having gone into IB. The few of my friends who were able to go straight to IB are mostly in the mid-upper 100k/year range now.

Do you know how long it would take for an average FM to catch up to someone working in Silicon Valley? At the end of 4 years of medical school, medical students are ~150,000 in debt and behind ~500,000 in relative earnings, a total of 650,000. After a 2 year residency, about 850,000 - 1,000,000 behind in total (with all your money going towards paying off your debt while their money works for them via investments). Assuming their careers stagnate and they stop investing, it could take 10-15 years for a staff FM doc to 'catch up'. Realistically closer to 20 years when you account for investment/retirement funds.

Sure, you might say my acquaintances working in Silicon Valley or IB were not average students in their undergrad programs: I would agree completely. However it's unlikely you or most of the posters here were average students. Fact is that physicians are well paid, but the numbers are within the realm that hardworking, smart white collar professionals should be making. The one thing medicine does have over these other careers however, is the stability.

Silicon Valley jobs do pay very well. But I think being a physician is probably a better LONG-TERM career in general. 

1) Starting salaries at SV is very high, but ageism exist in tech. If you are >40 years old, you either have to move to management or you probably cannot find a decent job anymore since companies LOVE young graduates that know the latest language, and is cheaper than a more senior engineer. 

2) Right now, tech is super hot, but who knows what will happen in 10,20 or 30 years. Tech industry fluctuates a lot with the economy, and stability is much worse than medicine. 

3) Medicine is a well-respected profession and your salary will most likely always be good despite poor economy. Since the boomers are getting older, we will need much more physicians in the future. I see tons of my friends going into tech since its so hot right now. But you never know when the market will saturate since so many people are going into it. 

4) Being a physician is a very rewarding experience and being older/more experienced in medicine does not make you obsolete but rather it makes you valuable. 

Maybe I am wrong about this and perhaps Silicon Valley is a better career path? A lot of my friends, some that are not so academically gifted, could get into some really good companies in the US, sometimes making me thinking medicine might not be worth it... 

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On 3/25/2018 at 9:41 PM, peace2014 said:

Silicon Valley jobs do pay very well. But I think being a physician is probably a better LONG-TERM career in general. 

1) Starting salaries at SV is very high, but ageism exist in tech. If you are >40 years old, you either have to move to management or you probably cannot find a decent job anymore since companies LOVE young graduates that know the latest language, and is cheaper than a more senior engineer. 

2) Right now, tech is super hot, but who knows what will happen in 10,20 or 30 years. Tech industry fluctuates a lot with the economy, and stability is much worse than medicine. 

3) Medicine is a well-respected profession and your salary will most likely always be good despite poor economy. Since the boomers are getting older, we will need much more physicians in the future. I see tons of my friends going into tech since its so hot right now. But you never know when the market will saturate since so many people are going into it. 

4) Being a physician is a very rewarding experience and being older/more experienced in medicine does not make you obsolete but rather it makes you valuable. 

Maybe I am wrong about this and perhaps Silicon Valley is a better career path? A lot of my friends, some that are not so academically gifted, could get into some really good companies in the US, sometimes making me thinking medicine might not be worth it... 

Only the future can tell, although you are right that most silicon valley jobs will be changed or gone in 20 years time, engineers will probably find a way to keep themselves employed. For sure their starting salaries are insane easily 4-5x our salaries as first year residents and we start 3-4 years later than them. 

Assuming you can maintain that job and or climb the ladder and you invest wisely, Silicon valley is definitely the better investment long-term. 

 

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3 hours ago, Edict said:

Only the future can tell, although you are right that most silicon valley jobs will be changed or gone in 20 years time, engineers will probably find a way to keep themselves employed. For sure their starting salaries are insane easily 4-5x our salaries as first year residents and we start 3-4 years later than them. 

Assuming you can maintain that job and or climb the ladder and you invest wisely, Silicon valley is definitely the better investment long-term. 

 

This is the issue though--it takes a lot of work, effort, and creativity to keep those jobs that pay 300k.  You need to seriously demonstrate your worth regularly.

Medicine is unique in that once you graduate and get a job, you can to some extent "coast" if you want, and make a guaranteed high salary.  

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On 3/28/2018 at 6:38 AM, Edict said:

Only the future can tell, although you are right that most silicon valley jobs will be changed or gone in 20 years time, engineers will probably find a way to keep themselves employed. For sure their starting salaries are insane easily 4-5x our salaries as first year residents and we start 3-4 years later than them. 

Assuming you can maintain that job and or climb the ladder and you invest wisely, Silicon valley is definitely the better investment long-term.

 

On 3/28/2018 at 9:54 AM, goleafsgochris said:

This is the issue though--it takes a lot of work, effort, and creativity to keep those jobs that pay 300k.  You need to seriously demonstrate your worth regularly.

Medicine is unique in that once you graduate and get a job, you can to some extent "coast" if you want, and make a guaranteed high salary.  

You can't just ignore the regionality of what you are talking about. A corporate lawyer in NY, will earn $200,000 in their early career, but that doesn't change the fact that the average salary of lawyers in Canada doesn't break much past $100,000 during their ENTIRE career. The median Canadian engineer earns $77,000. That numbers goes up to $90,000 if you get into management. Basically, a PGY4 Salary is about the peak for vast majority of Canadian engineers. The median Canadian MD earns $230,000. And before anyone quotes overheads, the inability to incorporate as a salaried engineer means they pay much higher taxes.

Here is another reality check, what is the "match rate" for medical graduate in Canada? Despite our growing unmatched rate problems, we actually match into a career in Medicine. Do you know what is the "match rate" for engineers graduating in Canada? It is 31%. That is, only 31% of engineering grads actually end up working as an engineer. This is actually one of the worst among ALL professional careers. And it is getting more grim every year. (source below, see page 8)

In Silicon Valley, $150,000/year is not at all the norm, and reserved for cream of the crop. And that is the one top spot in pretty much the world that you can find that kind offering to be more common. The competition is fierce. Do you know how many top tier universities in California are churning out engineers by the boat load? A tiny fractions of Canadian grads make into Silicon Valley. And even if you get it, you hit the earning ceiling very quickly as an engineer. If you want to earn more, then you have to move into management. Which basically means your days are spent doing emails, meetings, and travelling.  You will not touch another piece of code again, or build a piece of hardware with your own hands. In medicine, your earnings are in the top 1%, and you actually get to do medicine. And as mentioned, you are much more likely to get laid off when it comes to trimmings to make the Q3 numbers look good.

Selling your soul to Silicon Valley is a terrible investment, compared to becoming a physician.

Source: https://www.ospe.on.ca/public/documents/advocacy/2015-crisis-in-engineering-labour-market.pdf

 

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8 hours ago, humhum said:

 

You can't just ignore the regionality of what you are talking about. A corporate lawyer in NY, will earn $200,000 in their early career, but that doesn't change the fact that the average salary of lawyers in Canada doesn't break much past $100,000 during their ENTIRE career. The median Canadian engineer earns $77,000. That numbers goes up to $90,000 if you get into management. Basically, a PGY4 Salary is about the peak for vast majority of Canadian engineers. The median Canadian MD earns $230,000. And before anyone quotes overheads, the inability to incorporate as a salaried engineer means they pay much higher taxes.

Here is another reality check, what is the "match rate" for medical graduate in Canada? Despite our growing unmatched rate problems, we actually match into a career in Medicine. Do you know what is the "match rate" for engineers graduating in Canada? It is 31%. That is, only 31% of engineering grads actually end up working as an engineer. This is actually one of the worst among ALL professional careers. And it is getting more grim every year. (source below, see page 8)

In Silicon Valley, $150,000/year is not at all the norm, and reserved for cream of the crop. And that is the one top spot in pretty much the world that you can find that kind offering to be more common. The competition is fierce. Do you know how many top tier universities in California are churning out engineers by the boat load? A tiny fractions of Canadian grads make into Silicon Valley. And even if you get it, you hit the earning ceiling very quickly as an engineer. If you want to earn more, then you have to move into management. Which basically means your days are spent doing emails, meetings, and travelling.  You will not touch another piece of code again, or build a piece of hardware with your own hands. In medicine, your earnings are in the top 1%, and you actually get to do medicine. And as mentioned, you are much more likely to get laid off when it comes to trimmings to make the Q3 numbers look good.

Selling your soul to Silicon Valley is a terrible investment, compared to becoming a physician.

Source: https://www.ospe.on.ca/public/documents/advocacy/2015-crisis-in-engineering-labour-market.pdf

 

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True and I'm not saying one is a better career versus the other, but comparing the medical school to engineering isn't fair. The weed out process in med school happens during undergrad and admissions, the weed out process in engineering happens when you apply for jobs. 

Anecdotally, my friends who all came from the same high school as me who went into engineering are mostly doing pretty well. My two closest friends both are doing fantastic in SF and the valley and another is in NYC doing very well as well. It is true that the engineering grads who make it to Silicon valley are the cream of the crop, but not to toot our own horns but we are kinda also the "cream of the crop". It isn't easy getting into medical school either. 

I think in terms of final earnings though, I still think someone in silicon valley could outearn physicians, but I agree with you that if you focus on Canada only, doctors are the highest paid professionals. I can't think of a tech or engineering job that pays as well here as they do out in the valley. 

 

 

 

 

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54 minutes ago, Edict said:

True and I'm not saying one is a better career versus the other, but comparing the medical school to engineering isn't fair. The weed out process in med school happens during undergrad and admissions, the weed out process in engineering happens when you apply for jobs. 

Anecdotally, my friends who all came from the same high school as me who went into engineering are mostly doing pretty well. My two closest friends both are doing fantastic in SF and the valley and another is in NYC doing very well as well. It is true that the engineering grads who make it to Silicon valley are the cream of the crop, but not to toot our own horns but we are kinda also the "cream of the crop". It isn't easy getting into medical school either. 

I think in terms of final earnings though, I still think someone in silicon valley could outearn physicians, but I agree with you that if you focus on Canada only, doctors are the highest paid professionals. I can't think of a tech or engineering job that pays as well here as they do out in the valley. 

 

 

 

 

Alberta oil jobs can pay very well. It was not uncommon for >80% of the graduating engineers at UofA and UofC to have jobs lined up right out of school starting around 85-90K (not sure if that’s still the case). The more senior engineers in those companies easily earn >200K, with executives making even more. Hell even an entry level pipeline or oil worker in Ft McMurray can clear 150K per year out of high school. 

 

Its not equivalent to ophtho billing 1.5 million per year, but the fact the oil guys start working 10+ years earlier, that’s a lot of time for potential earning and investments, not to mention contribution towards their pension and a pretty good lifestyle (far superior to clerkship/residency).

 

Theres no question we do well in medicine. Comparing a senior doctor to a senior tech or business person, the doctor will make more per year probably 8 or 9 times out of 10. Those 1 or 2 who do make more will absolutely crush doctors though.  Totally different story when considering lifetime earnings though, as early income allows for early investment. But to think being a doctor is the only path to a great income and lifestyle is a joke in my opinion. Anyone who is successful enough to get into med school would likely have been successful in some other endeavour as well. The really smart ones skipped med school to begin with. 

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9 minutes ago, ZBL said:

Alberta oil jobs can pay very well. It was not uncommon for >80% of the graduating engineers at UofA and UofC to have jobs lined up right out of school starting around 85-90K (not sure if that’s still the case). The more senior engineers in those companies easily earn >200K, with executives making even more. Hell even an entry level pipeline or oil worker in Ft McMurray can clear 150K per year out of high school. 

 

Its not equivalent to ophtho billing 1.5 million per year, but the fact the oil guys start working 10+ years earlier, that’s a lot of time for potential earning and investments, not to mention contribution towards their pension and a pretty good lifestyle (far superior to clerkship/residency).

 

Theres no question we do well in medicine. Comparing a senior doctor to a senior tech or business person, the doctor will make more per year probably 8 or 9 times out of 10. Those 1 or 2 who do make more will absolutely crush doctors though.  Totally different story when considering lifetime earnings though, as early income allows for early investment. But to think being a doctor is the only path to a great income and lifestyle is a joke in my opinion. Anyone who is successful enough to get into med school would likely have been successful in some other endeavour as well. The really smart ones skipped med school to begin with. 

True, totally forgot about the oil sands. 

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The highest paid professionals I know aren't physicians - IB in NYC,.. etc..  But the floor in medicine is much higher and climbing up the ranks in NYC is more difficult than from what I've seen of premed, clerkship and residency.  The stress and pressure is huge - and also the competition.  This is despite the fact that competition for entry-level IB jobs is higher than in medicine too.  

The same holds true for going to Silicon Valley - not only does one have to get a job there, move up the ranks, there's also the additional hurdle of not being a US citizen.  There's a lot of luck involved - which companies will thrive etc., but the upside is a lot higher for sure (but so is the downside).   

The cost living factor can't be underestimated.  It almost doesn't matter how high earnings are if real estate costs over 5 times what it would in a smaller place.  I think being a physician in a small or medium sized community in Canada is probably a way better deal for most, because the pay is just as good, and money goes a lot further.  Most med students are pretty urban though, and that kind of community doesn't really appeal.    

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9 hours ago, ZBL said:

Theres no question we do well in medicine. Comparing a senior doctor to a senior tech or business person, the doctor will make more per year probably 8 or 9 times out of 10. Those 1 or 2 who do make more will absolutely crush doctors though.  Totally different story when considering lifetime earnings though, as early income allows for early investment. But to think being a doctor is the only path to a great income and lifestyle is a joke in my opinion. Anyone who is successful enough to get into med school would likely have been successful in some other endeavour as well. The really smart ones skipped med school to begin with. 

Very true. There are many ways to have a great lifestyle, and to that I would add being a drug dealer, to winning the lottery, or being Zuckerberg at the right time right place.

We are talking about professional careers, and the compensation you get for doing exactly what you trained to do in that profession. There was a guy from UBC around 2000 who in 3rd of med school basically invented the drug-eluting stent, and went on to create a company which although now defunct, at one point entirely defined the biotech sector in BC. He didn't practice a day of medicine after he got his MD. His net-worth was probably in the double digit millions at his peak, his company commanded more than a billion in revenues, and I'm sure generations of his kids will live the life from the royalties he will reap for every stent put into anyone for decades to come.

When talk about earnings of doctors we are not talking about the guy above, but whenever we talk about wildly high earning engineers, they are invariably that kind of person who hit it big. We are not talking about the down in the trenches engineer designing things, solving equations, running simulations, etc. The engineers actually doing engineering are the lowest paid of the engineering grads. In contrast, in medicine, basically the lowest earnings of physicians, who are probably working part time, are earning more than the most specialized engineer into the second decade of their career.

I keep harping on this, because it is a topic I'm very passionate about, and I have lived through this exact scenario. I would heavily discourage my kids from entering engineering. I loved engineering, don't get me wrong, but I deeply regret not making the switch sooner. If there is an engineer or computer scientist out there who is thinking of making the switch having arrived at the inevitable disillusionment of their underutilized potential, I don't want them stumbling on this thread with misinformation, like I did back in the day and hesitate. There is no question, making the switch to medicine makes sense, both financially, and medicine is a far more rewarding career for someone who actually likes to apply their scientific training in return for a handsome earning. And still there are countless opportunities for engineers to use their unique skills.

So let's breakdown the return on investment, in terms of years of schooling and cost between medicine and engineering. Engineering schools these days continue to take in the cream of the crop high school grads. And now it is a 5 year degree, where everyone is expected to do co-op. During these five years, your academic course load is 30-40% higher than anyone in sciences or basically any other degree. Extremely bright students who would have had a 95% GPA in any other field, are happy getting 80% busting their ass. This right off the bat basically disqualifies many capable students to be able to enter medicine. After all that, you can start looking for a job, or get a graduate degree. As I referenced above, only 1 in 3 grads actually gets to work as an engineer in the long term, for a paltry $77K average / year salary. It is such a wasted potential for these bright kids, and no one tells you about this reality because everyone thinks they are somehow going to be the next Elon Musk.

Contrast that to medicine. In schools like UBC and others in Ontario and Quebec, you can enter med school as early as 20 years old without any prior degree, after just 1-2 years of fairly light load general pre-requisits, half of which you can do by correspondence. At U of C and McMaster, it takes only 3 years to graduate. After that it is residency, in which you will earn the same salary as starting engineers. But it is a lot better, because your starting salary is guaranteed, and more than 95% of grads match into something. After 2 years, with your CCFP, you can practice in any city in Canada you wish, line up a locum at any clinic with just an email, or fill up a practice in a suburb with 3000 patients within 2 weeks - and do it all the while earning an income that is more than the average executive with an engineering degrees.

It is just a no brainer. On my worst call nights during clerkship, where I was paying to work 30 hours straight, I knew I would do it all over again rather than go back to the soul sucking world of engineering enterprise. But I'm very intrigued here... so many of my former colleagues that I meet now tell me how they wished they made a switch like I did (it never occurred to them that they could). Just last month I ran into my former executive manager, who has been out of a job for 8 months. But when I talk to my classmates in medicine, so many wonder "what if... maybe I could have been a Silicon Valley coder, make apps and become uber rich..."... and I shudder at the thought - and wish for them to one day have the perspective to truly grasp the lucrative privilege we are handed by society.

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14 minutes ago, humhum said:

Very true. There are many ways to have a great lifestyle, and to that I would add being a drug dealer, to winning the lottery, or being Zuckerberg at the right time right place.

We are talking about professional careers, and the compensation you get for doing exactly what you trained to do in that profession. There was a guy from UBC around 2000 who in 3rd of med school basically invented the drug-eluting stent, and went on to create a company which although now defunct, at one point entirely defined the biotech sector in BC. He didn't practice a day of medicine after he got his MD. His net-worth was probably in the double digit millions at his peak, his company commanded more than a billion in revenues, and I'm sure generations of his kids will live the life from the royalties he will reap for every stent put into anyone for decades to come.

When talk about earnings of doctors we are not talking about the guy above, but whenever we talk about wildly high earning engineers, they are invariably that kind of person who hit it big. We are not talking about the down in the trenches engineer designing things, solving equations, running simulations, etc. The engineers actually doing engineering are the lowest paid of the engineering grads. In contrast, in medicine, basically the lowest earnings of physicians, who are probably working part time, are earning more than the most specialized engineer into the second decade of their career.

I keep harping on this, because it is a topic I'm very passionate about, and I have lived through this exact scenario. I would heavily discourage my kids from entering engineering. I loved engineering, don't get me wrong, but I deeply regret not making the switch sooner. If there is an engineer or computer scientist out there who is thinking of making the switch having arrived at the inevitable disillusionment of their underutilized potential, I don't want them stumbling on this thread with misinformation, like I did back in the day and hesitate. There is no question, making the switch to medicine makes sense, both financially, and medicine is a far more rewarding career for someone who actually likes to apply their scientific training in return for a handsome earning. And still there are countless opportunities for engineers to use their unique skills.

So let's breakdown the return on investment, in terms of years of schooling and cost between medicine and engineering. Engineering schools these days continue to take in the cream of the crop high school grads. And now it is a 5 year degree, where everyone is expected to do co-op. During these five years, your academic course load is 30-40% higher than anyone in sciences or basically any other degree. Extremely bright students who would have had a 95% GPA in any other field, are happy getting 80% busting their ass. This right off the bat basically disqualifies many capable students to be able to enter medicine. After all that, you can start looking for a job, or get a graduate degree. As I referenced above, only 1 in 3 grads actually gets to work as an engineer in the long term, for a paltry $77K average / year salary. It is such a wasted potential for these bright kids, and no one tells you about this reality because everyone thinks they are somehow going to be the next Elon Musk.

Contrast that to medicine. In schools like UBC and others in Ontario and Quebec, you can enter med school as early as 20 years old without any prior degree, after just 1-2 years of fairly light load general pre-requisits, half of which you can do by correspondence. At U of C and McMaster, it takes only 3 years to graduate. After that it is residency, in which you will earn the same salary as starting engineers. But it is a lot better, because your starting salary is guaranteed, and more than 95% of grads match into something. After 2 years, with your CCFP, you can practice in any city in Canada you wish, line up a locum at any clinic with just an email, or fill up a practice in a suburb with 3000 patients within 2 weeks - and do it all the while earning an income that is more than the average executive with an engineering degrees.

It is just a no brainer. On my worst call nights during clerkship, where I was paying to work 30 hours straight, I knew I would do it all over again rather than go back to the soul sucking world of engineering enterprise. But I'm very intrigued here... everyone one of my former colleagues that I meet now tell me how they wished they made a switch like I did. Just last month I ran into my former executive manager, who has been out of a job for 8 months. But when I talk to my classmates in medicine, so many wonder "what if... maybe I could have been a Silicon Valley coder, make apps and become uber rich..."... and I shudder at the thought - and wish for them to one day have the perspective to truly grasp the lucrative privilege we are handed by society.

I wish this was posted every time someone makes the quite frankly moronic argument that "if you really want to make money, do _______ (other ridiculously difficult field to make doctors salary) instead of medicine."  Its for some reason a constant thought experiment on here despite the fact that its just incorrect.  Like Ive heard probably 20 people tell me that if you really want to make money go into investment banking, law, business, whatever; totally ignoring that the average person in each of these fields makes a salary that medicine just completely dwarfs

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39 minutes ago, humhum said:

We are talking about professional careers, and the compensation you get for doing exactly what you trained to do in that profession. There was a guy from UBC around 2000 who in 3rd of med school basically invented the drug-eluting stent, and went on to create a company which although now defunct, at one point entirely defined the biotech sector in BC. He didn't practice a day of medicine after he got his MD. His net-worth was probably in the double digit millions at his peak, his company commanded more than a billion in revenues, and I'm sure generations of his kids will live the life from the royalties he will reap for every stent put into anyone for decades to come.

What was his name?

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2 hours ago, Dermviser said:

What was his name?

William Hunter. The company was Angiotech. The company got bulldozed over by ferocious competition south of the border, and with it, the biotech industry of BC. I'm sure he does okay now, but his forgotten legacy is a reminder of the unforgiving brutality of the start-up world.

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3 hours ago, humhum said:

Very true. There are many ways to have a great lifestyle, and to that I would add being a drug dealer, to winning the lottery, or being Zuckerberg at the right time right place.

We are talking about professional careers, and the compensation you get for doing exactly what you trained to do in that profession. There was a guy from UBC around 2000 who in 3rd of med school basically invented the drug-eluting stent, and went on to create a company which although now defunct, at one point entirely defined the biotech sector in BC. He didn't practice a day of medicine after he got his MD. His net-worth was probably in the double digit millions at his peak, his company commanded more than a billion in revenues, and I'm sure generations of his kids will live the life from the royalties he will reap for every stent put into anyone for decades to come.

When talk about earnings of doctors we are not talking about the guy above, but whenever we talk about wildly high earning engineers, they are invariably that kind of person who hit it big. We are not talking about the down in the trenches engineer designing things, solving equations, running simulations, etc. The engineers actually doing engineering are the lowest paid of the engineering grads. In contrast, in medicine, basically the lowest earnings of physicians, who are probably working part time, are earning more than the most specialized engineer into the second decade of their career.

I keep harping on this, because it is a topic I'm very passionate about, and I have lived through this exact scenario. I would heavily discourage my kids from entering engineering. I loved engineering, don't get me wrong, but I deeply regret not making the switch sooner. If there is an engineer or computer scientist out there who is thinking of making the switch having arrived at the inevitable disillusionment of their underutilized potential, I don't want them stumbling on this thread with misinformation, like I did back in the day and hesitate. There is no question, making the switch to medicine makes sense, both financially, and medicine is a far more rewarding career for someone who actually likes to apply their scientific training in return for a handsome earning. And still there are countless opportunities for engineers to use their unique skills.

So let's breakdown the return on investment, in terms of years of schooling and cost between medicine and engineering. Engineering schools these days continue to take in the cream of the crop high school grads. And now it is a 5 year degree, where everyone is expected to do co-op. During these five years, your academic course load is 30-40% higher than anyone in sciences or basically any other degree. Extremely bright students who would have had a 95% GPA in any other field, are happy getting 80% busting their ass. This right off the bat basically disqualifies many capable students to be able to enter medicine. After all that, you can start looking for a job, or get a graduate degree. As I referenced above, only 1 in 3 grads actually gets to work as an engineer in the long term, for a paltry $77K average / year salary. It is such a wasted potential for these bright kids, and no one tells you about this reality because everyone thinks they are somehow going to be the next Elon Musk.

Contrast that to medicine. In schools like UBC and others in Ontario and Quebec, you can enter med school as early as 20 years old without any prior degree, after just 1-2 years of fairly light load general pre-requisits, half of which you can do by correspondence. At U of C and McMaster, it takes only 3 years to graduate. After that it is residency, in which you will earn the same salary as starting engineers. But it is a lot better, because your starting salary is guaranteed, and more than 95% of grads match into something. After 2 years, with your CCFP, you can practice in any city in Canada you wish, line up a locum at any clinic with just an email, or fill up a practice in a suburb with 3000 patients within 2 weeks - and do it all the while earning an income that is more than the average executive with an engineering degrees.

It is just a no brainer. On my worst call nights during clerkship, where I was paying to work 30 hours straight, I knew I would do it all over again rather than go back to the soul sucking world of engineering enterprise. But I'm very intrigued here... so many of my former colleagues that I meet now tell me how they wished they made a switch like I did (it never occurred to them that they could). Just last month I ran into my former executive manager, who has been out of a job for 8 months. But when I talk to my classmates in medicine, so many wonder "what if... maybe I could have been a Silicon Valley coder, make apps and become uber rich..."... and I shudder at the thought - and wish for them to one day have the perspective to truly grasp the lucrative privilege we are handed by society.

I agree with much of what you say, but I just want to emphasize that the people who get into medicine as early as 20 etc. are also not the vast majority of medical students. The more realistic average age of graduation is 26.

Truly, for every medical school student I see there are easily 10 students who had medical school dreams at some point and ended up somewhere else. It isn't easy to get into medical school, it is much harder than getting into and even surviving a degree at UW or UT. 

 

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3 hours ago, humhum said:

Very true. There are many ways to have a great lifestyle, and to that I would add being a drug dealer, to winning the lottery, or being Zuckerberg at the right time right place.

We are talking about professional careers, and the compensation you get for doing exactly what you trained to do in that profession. There was a guy from UBC around 2000 who in 3rd of med school basically invented the drug-eluting stent, and went on to create a company which although now defunct, at one point entirely defined the biotech sector in BC. He didn't practice a day of medicine after he got his MD. His net-worth was probably in the double digit millions at his peak, his company commanded more than a billion in revenues, and I'm sure generations of his kids will live the life from the royalties he will reap for every stent put into anyone for decades to come.

When talk about earnings of doctors we are not talking about the guy above, but whenever we talk about wildly high earning engineers, they are invariably that kind of person who hit it big. We are not talking about the down in the trenches engineer designing things, solving equations, running simulations, etc. The engineers actually doing engineering are the lowest paid of the engineering grads. In contrast, in medicine, basically the lowest earnings of physicians, who are probably working part time, are earning more than the most specialized engineer into the second decade of their career.

I keep harping on this, because it is a topic I'm very passionate about, and I have lived through this exact scenario. I would heavily discourage my kids from entering engineering. I loved engineering, don't get me wrong, but I deeply regret not making the switch sooner. If there is an engineer or computer scientist out there who is thinking of making the switch having arrived at the inevitable disillusionment of their underutilized potential, I don't want them stumbling on this thread with misinformation, like I did back in the day and hesitate. There is no question, making the switch to medicine makes sense, both financially, and medicine is a far more rewarding career for someone who actually likes to apply their scientific training in return for a handsome earning. And still there are countless opportunities for engineers to use their unique skills.

So let's breakdown the return on investment, in terms of years of schooling and cost between medicine and engineering. Engineering schools these days continue to take in the cream of the crop high school grads. And now it is a 5 year degree, where everyone is expected to do co-op. During these five years, your academic course load is 30-40% higher than anyone in sciences or basically any other degree. Extremely bright students who would have had a 95% GPA in any other field, are happy getting 80% busting their ass. This right off the bat basically disqualifies many capable students to be able to enter medicine. After all that, you can start looking for a job, or get a graduate degree. As I referenced above, only 1 in 3 grads actually gets to work as an engineer in the long term, for a paltry $77K average / year salary. It is such a wasted potential for these bright kids, and no one tells you about this reality because everyone thinks they are somehow going to be the next Elon Musk.

Contrast that to medicine. In schools like UBC and others in Ontario and Quebec, you can enter med school as early as 20 years old without any prior degree, after just 1-2 years of fairly light load general pre-requisits, half of which you can do by correspondence. At U of C and McMaster, it takes only 3 years to graduate. After that it is residency, in which you will earn the same salary as starting engineers. But it is a lot better, because your starting salary is guaranteed, and more than 95% of grads match into something. After 2 years, with your CCFP, you can practice in any city in Canada you wish, line up a locum at any clinic with just an email, or fill up a practice in a suburb with 3000 patients within 2 weeks - and do it all the while earning an income that is more than the average executive with an engineering degrees.

It is just a no brainer. On my worst call nights during clerkship, where I was paying to work 30 hours straight, I knew I would do it all over again rather than go back to the soul sucking world of engineering enterprise. But I'm very intrigued here... so many of my former colleagues that I meet now tell me how they wished they made a switch like I did (it never occurred to them that they could). Just last month I ran into my former executive manager, who has been out of a job for 8 months. But when I talk to my classmates in medicine, so many wonder "what if... maybe I could have been a Silicon Valley coder, make apps and become uber rich..."... and I shudder at the thought - and wish for them to one day have the perspective to truly grasp the lucrative privilege we are handed by society.

Right, and I didn’t realize you were the only one on here with a sad story anecdote to share on how medicine saved you. Good for you. You’re also not the only late comer to medicine, nor are you the only engineer turned doctor. So I’m not sure why you feel your opinion somehow counts for more than anyone else’s on here. As an engineer, you can probably conceptualize that your singular experience does not equate to conclusive data. 

 

No one is saying doctors don’t do well. On the contrary, it’s obvious that they do. We are simply pointing out that with a little creativity, there is no limit to what careers can be successful. Is it “easier” to just get an MD? Well it’s certainly safer, and no one is arguing that either. Certainly the average doctor income is higher than pretty much any other typical job. But “averages” is not the reason why others on here are bringing up alternate careers - we’re bringing it up to highlight the right tail of the curve. Is an MD the easier route to a great income? Not sure - extra 4 years med school, 2-5 years residency, +/- fellowship where you get paid the same total amount as a starting engineer, but work 2.5x the hours is not exactly “easy” nor is it desirable or worth it in the end for many people. Some people will find other things far more enjoyable for less pay. Tons of doctors will openly state they probably wouldn’t do medicine again if they were to do it over again (whether they are naive or not is besides the point - just highlighting medicine is not without it’s significant downsides). I get it - you did engineering, you think logically and see medicine as a comparatively straight forward way to a career with an on average great income. In general I agree it’s a no brainer (assuming the person actually has some interest in doing medicine). But you also seem kind of rigid, suggesting that professionals ought to do exactly what they were trained to do. But I’ll Let you in on a secret: anyone who is using their skills in the exact way they were trained to do will never become ultra wealthy, period, regardless of whether it’s medicine or any other career. Have some creativity.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Edict said:

Truly, for every medical school student I see there are easily 10 students who had medical school dreams at some point and ended up somewhere else. It isn't easy to get into medical school, it is much harder than getting into and even surviving a degree at UW or UT. 

 

This could not be emphasised enough. The kind of people I know in engineering are definitely not the pre-med type. Not to mention 80% of them would not have the grades to be competitive. In fact, some of my friends who failed to get into med school switched to engineering and now live a great life. Plus engineering is an extremely flexible degree, unlike MD from a Canadian university. An engineer is valuable in financial institutions, tech companies and a lot of CEOs have a background in engineering. 

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15 hours ago, ZBL said:

Right, and I didn’t realize you were the only one on here with a sad story anecdote to share on how medicine saved you. Good for you. You’re also not the only late comer to medicine, nor are you the only engineer turned doctor. So I’m not sure why you feel your opinion somehow counts for more than anyone else’s on here. As an engineer, you can probably conceptualize that your singular experience does not equate to conclusive data. 

No one is saying doctors don’t do well. On the contrary, it’s obvious that they do. We are simply pointing out that with a little creativity, there is no limit to what careers can be successful. Is it “easier” to just get an MD? Well it’s certainly safer, and no one is arguing that either. Certainly the average doctor income is higher than pretty much any other typical job. But “averages” is not the reason why others on here are bringing up alternate careers - we’re bringing it up to highlight the right tail of the curve. Is an MD the easier route to a great income? Not sure - extra 4 years med school, 2-5 years residency, +/- fellowship where you get paid the same total amount as a starting engineer, but work 2.5x the hours is not exactly “easy” nor is it desirable or worth it in the end for many people. Some people will find other things far more enjoyable for less pay. Tons of doctors will openly state they probably wouldn’t do medicine again if they were to do it over again (whether they are naive or not is besides the point - just highlighting medicine is not without it’s significant downsides). I get it - you did engineering, you think logically and see medicine as a comparatively straight forward way to a career with an on average great income. In general I agree it’s a no brainer (assuming the person actually has some interest in doing medicine). But you also seem kind of rigid, suggesting that professionals ought to do exactly what they were trained to do. But I’ll Let you in on a secret: anyone who is using their skills in the exact way they were trained to do will never become ultra wealthy, period, regardless of whether it’s medicine or any other career. Have some creativity.

Breath deeply, and move along my friend. Your ad hominem chirping adds nothing to the discussion. None of this is written for you, and none of it is "sad". This is for my former colleagues sitting alone in an office or lab somewhere, contemplating career change, and stumbling upon these threads.

I would however, love to hear your specific life experiences through multiple careers, and nuanced reflection of your past career developments compared to current trajectory, and a mature analysis of personal fulfillment and deriving meaning through societal contribution balanced against the financial reality of surviving the capitalistic enterprise. Would also love to hear about your "creativity" flair, which sounds like you could write a dissertation on.

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16 hours ago, Edict said:

Truly, for every medical school student I see there are easily 10 students who had medical school dreams at some point and ended up somewhere else. It isn't easy to get into medical school, it is much harder than getting into and even surviving a degree at UW or UT.

Definitely the admission process is a big hurdle. The surest way to get in is to have very solid mentorship and guidance very early on (starting middle of high school), and as much as possible, learn the ways the admission process can be gamed. Each medical student has unique characteristics, but there is also a large overlapping profile of high grades and the right kind of extracurricular activities. Also, the right undergraduate degree matters as well, in terms of not doing something that will kill your GPA.

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18 hours ago, humhum said:

Definitely the admission process is a big hurdle. The surest way to get in is to have very solid mentorship and guidance very early on (starting middle of high school), and as much as possible, learn the ways the admission process can be gamed. Each medical student has unique characteristics, but there is also a large overlapping profile of high grades and the right kind of extracurricular activities. Also, the right undergraduate degree matters as well, in terms of not doing something that will kill your GPA.

The sooner you know how it works the better - ha, that is a major reason the forum exists and why the "old timers" around here are trying to keep the information flowing. Try to level the playing field. 

Edited by rmorelan

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1 hour ago, Arztin said:

http://santeinc.com/2017/05/statistiques-salariales-2015/

Here you can find the amount physicians bill in Quebec. It does not include the overhead. 

Interesting to see that pediatricians+ psychiatrists make the same as general internists in Quebec , around 330,000 before taxes, which is higher than the rest of Canada (compared to Ontario at least). I don't know if it was the shortage of psych+ peds that explained the salary surge? 

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