Healthcare Software Engineering advice needed for Career focus

@P1xt and other experienced developers:

Let me start by thanking @P1xt for his guidance and mentorship on this platform for our general good. I have learned a lot from this portfolio correction and this focused web development job readiness.

A bit of my background:

I came to FCC to learn web development for real deployment of projects and landing good job in the US or Canada.
I am a medical doctor resident in Africa, 7 years post graduation with bias for public health, electronics circuitry and embedded system programming. I generally enjoy building solutions and solving difficult problems. R & D is my thing.
I worked in health management organization where I handled claims and lots of data (in excel). Also, I have 4 semesters (2 years) of BS Mathematics and Computer Science (for transcript upgrade should I decide to do Masters or PhD in Statistics or any computational program of interest).

Using my other skills in computing and embedded systems, I was able to detect bogus claims that the health organization had been paying some providers before I joined them. I was employed as a doctor not a tech guy, I asked the data unit for some sort of data visualization to carryout certain task, but was disappointed that they do things manually with no real database except series of excel file as at 2015/16.

Here, I realized the need for automation. I even tried to use embedded design (GSM module to confirm access eligibility for providers considering internet was not reliable in most centers.

Recently, I took a break from job to reorganize myself, learn modern web applications that could solve problems in healthcare and education, and relocate to environment that support intuition.

My trajectory:
Learn web development to the point I can secure a job overseas especially North America.
Then settle down and deepen in software engineering by learning more advanced stuffs related to healthcare systems. Thereafter, move to a high-paying job in healthcare or related field.

Advice needed:
While using @P1xt guide (job readiness track), I checked job vacancies and requirements, discovered that PL/SQL, SAS (statistical programming), C++, Python in addition to the web guide would better my chance? I need informed decision.

Please, what are the learning tracks I should focus on and be good at to attract recruiters considering my background?

hey I work in healthcare too!

Recently came over from the funFun world of Certification (think UL and CSA… my old joke was I was the guy who sat in the bathtub when they threw in the toaster to test if it would electrocute anyone… this one kept 'em scratching their heads at cocktail parties while we sipped martinis… hawHaaaaaw).

I was a bit aGog and astounded when I started about 2 years ago at how little information was actually virtual and online… let alone shared… in Canada there was a big push toward eHealth something like 10 years ago. We lost half our team back then moving on from PMing getting old safety and compliance and ISO 9000 audit records online and collaborative as my coworkers moved to the lucrative world of non-profit government contract work (sounds better than it actually is)…

We still run into orgs/small agencies that do community service ( think meals on wheels or PSW work in retiree drop in centers) that use word docs print them off and store them in filing cabinets in the basement for case management. Whaaaaaaa? you ask? So did I… many of the NGO’s that do family support for family members of people with MH issues track stuff using excel with no macros or nutin’. But you know, they have large teams of volunteers and almost no FT staff.

So, that said, lotta work out there to just to get this stuff online. Lotta work on calculating complex if then statement so that pre-admission assessments and their choices drive ‘care plans’. Lotta work managing the typical gravestone type demographics data and linking it to a clients ‘chart’. Lotta work making the charts actually have meaning across collaborative care teams.

Lotta work on the PHI security and data sharing across the net. i.e. many HSPs still use faxes for sharing medical records because they’re actually secure. FAXES! faaaaaaaaxes. faxes.

Also in healthcare, employed as a physician. I’d like to work my way out of direct patient care and help creat systems that help providers care for patients but it seems there are only a handful of major players in this market, and electronic charting is takin a massive toll on clinicians spending time with computers not patients

I want to help create real solutions and don’t know where to start


Ah ah, this is awesome. I am a 4th year Medical Student who loves technology and coding for fun. I feel completely alone around my classmates who find this hobby of mine a big distraction from being a doctor (“you came to Medicine to be a clinician not to be playing around with computers”). It’s refreshing meeting other physicians who also love to code.

My love is mostly in Statistics/Data Science with R and Python and I have already made a few posters using machine learning skills with healthcare data but lately I am really thinking about changing a bit and start doing @P1xt guide for web development while finishing the 2 years left of my degree (since it is probably easier to freelance during Medical School to gain some money with web development than with Data Science) but since my time is limited and I’m not sure which of the paths will be most helpful as a future clinician, I’m always quite torn about spending time learning more in depth Data Science or Web Development.

Pleased to meet you all!

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Since I love to build stuff, I am convinced that being in technology (computation) is my best career option but I need to relocated to where such skill sets are valued.

It is encouraging that there are physicians on here. Programmers in healthcare I appreciate your responses.

@P1xt your advice will be highly appreciated as you always vast and realistic. I need the path to relevance in the job market as a possible immigrant.

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Cool. My masters is in Health Informatics, although it did little to prepare me for much of anything. Hence freeCodeCamp.

This looked really cool, but I lacked the JavaScript experience at the time to work with it. And now I’m dedicated to finishing the curriculum rather than random side projects:


I am looking at software development role, transitioning to data analyst role for R&D in pharmaceutical industry (data management).
Better route will be embraced owing to the fact that I have to be unique to break work visa challenges.

Glutton for punishment? :wink:

the few people I know who have done Med School say there’s not much freetime… that said… more moolah for less hours of works and more flexibility is probably the way to go while studying…

Pleased to meet you all as well… @Khaltar

Edit: also thanks for the reminder @P1xt about the the OSSU Data Science guide… forgot about that

Just noticed now you added the My trajectory and Advice needed sections… Sorry, my answer was based on the original and now the first half of your post… i.e. what I’ve noticed are needs for HealthCare with CS…

Side Note: I have friends who run start-ups on mobile, self-help, self-monitoring type of software… one group for meditation (anxiety related) and one for general health (think a tricked out fit-bit) and there seems to be an insane amount of interest in this. And when I say interest here I actually mean investment, from Venture Capital type thingadee-thoooz.

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Ah ah, it is true, there’s not much freetime (apart from nights) but I am on an easier rotation right now with a bit more of time for myself and I would like to apply it trying to get some money on the side to help my parents with tuition and expenses. I guess that with that said, it is probably easier to do so freelancing with Web Development (part-time jobs with rigid schedules are really not compatible with Med School unfortunately)

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Thanks @DarrenfJ for the information. It encourages more steadfastness to attain set goals.

The OSSU data science guide is highly appreciated @P1xt

It is cool that you are in health informatics. The link is an eye opener.

I am thinking if we could in the very near future (weeks / months) have some sort of study collaboration. Presently, immersing in JavaScript starting with YDKJS series.

Lots of awesome about this. Where do you go to school? Sad to say but you have more free time now than you will ever again in your career. But you’ll have busy rotations and less busy rotations. 3rd & 4th years have different responsibilities but you need to make time for the things that keep you sane (exercise & coding maybe?)

Don’t let people who don’t understand what you do diminsih your enthusiasm. When I was a medical student I made my first palm pilot app (a mini mental status exam app!) and sold a physical CD with a collection of medical palm pilot software!

Great piece of advice!

I think you got an innate entrepreneurial mindset.Keep the dream of creating real solutions for healthcare burning.

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Hey @AdventureBear,

I’m doing Med School in Portugal (here the system is a bit different, you go straight to Med School after you finish high school and it is a 6 years degree (first three years are the basic sciences: Anatomy, Histology, Physio, etc., 4th and 5th years are the ones where you do your clinical rotations: Derm, IM and others and the last year is a supervised internship where you rotate in Psych, IM, Gyn/OB, Pediatrics, Family Medicine and General Surgery and well…work while not being paid, then you do your residency match exam and based on that grade, enter a residency).

Of course I am going to keep coding and not listening to people who can’t understand my enthusiasm (you are right, coding and doing sports 4 days a week are the only thing keeping me sane during the memorization marathon that is Med School) and I absolutely love solving problems with code (a few python scripts have saved me loads of time collecting information from EHR for my master thesis) but as I said I am completely torn choosing between Statistics/Data Science and Web Dev.

As for residencies, my main passions right now are Pathology, Derm and Infectious Diseases which also seem to be more cushy residencies and that would give me a way to join my coding passion while working as a clinician and having some free time to improve my coding. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sure! (this must be at least 20 characters.)