Are you confused about selecting your career path? At present, there are so many career opportunities. No matter which career field you choose, it is so important to consider the scope and potential of that career field.
If you are confused between computer science and pharmacy, this blog post is for you. In this post, we will compare both the career fields and describe their pros and cons.
In the end the decision is up to you, but to further help we have gone out and asked Computer Science and Pharmacy majors to get their real feedback.
Computer Science vs Pharmacy
First of all, computer science and pharmacy both are totally different career fields. It is not that one field is better than another. Both have excellent career scopes in their own way.
A person with computer sciences can work in different digital areas. This could be jobs that entail computer security, information technology, web design, coding, applications, the degree is honestly full of endless potential. If you like remote jobs this will probably be the way to go as well.
And, a person with a PharmD can work in various fields in the healthcare system as well. For example, you can work as a retail pharmacist, clinical pharmacist, hospital pharmacist, industrial pharmacist, etc.
Whether you should choose computer science or pharmacy as your career path is more about your interest. What kind of job would you be interested in doing? In terms of potential, both career fields have good career scope.
Although computer science and pharmacy both have an excellent future career trajectory, both have their own pros and cons.
Computer Science Pros and Cons
Computer science is for those students who like math and those who are analytical thinkers. If you are planning to pursue a computer science program, make sure to consider the following pros and cons:
Pros of Computer Science
Here are some pros:
- Increased earning potential: By completing the computer science course, you would be able to make a very good enough money. Earning potential is mainly based on your skill level. Do you know certified coders make 20% to 40% more than the average salaries in cities like New York and San Francisco?
- Study online: Computer science is the degree that you can learn and implement just with a computer/laptop and internet connection. Due to this, you can study it from anywhere. It allows you to study from any corner of the world.
- Broad scope: Computer science is the career field with vast scope. After completing the computer science, you can do mobile app development, do a variety of projects, or even work for a single company.
- Work remotely: As we have seen, studying computer science is possible just with a computer and stable internet connection; similarly, it also allows us to work remotely. Remotely working is mainly based on your company, as many companies don’t let working remotely.
- Free Information: All the information you need to learn coding, web design, computer security, etc. is out there already online. So you can learn a lot even without a degree. This is why it may be good to start looking into this ahead of time getting an internship while in college to get ahead of everyone else.
Cons of Computer Science
Here are some cons:
- A bit costly: The major con of computer science is its cost. It isn’t cheap to provide all the students in the class with working computers. This also leads to more student debt. If you know your computers though you can rebuild almost any computer for very cheap and this will be something that you can actually make money along the way through college.
- Staffing: There is a shortage of skilled staff in computer science. To provide students with a better understanding of programming, coding, etc. skilled teachers will play an important role. In the absence of proper staff, getting skilled programmers would be difficult. This is where you need to take the learning responsibility on your own at times. If you have a bad professor get with other students and do your research to figure out your answers.
Pharmacy (PharmD) Pros and Cons
Over the past few decades, pharmacists have seen industry evolving in different ways. Depending on the pharmacy specialty you choose, your role as a pharmacist will differ. To better understand the differences between computer science and pharmacy, check out the pros and cons of Pharmacy (PharmD):
Pros of Pharmacy
Here are some pros:
- Excellent earning potential: Just like computer science, the pharmacy field also has fantastic earning potential. The average salary of pharmacists in the United States is over $120,000 per year according to Payscale.com. As an entry-level pharmacist, you can expect your starting salary to be more than $100,000. The lowest 10% of earners in the pharmacy industry make more than $87,000 per year.
- Job opportunities: Getting into the pharmacy field will allow you discover a wide variety of job opportunities. Depending on your interest and specialization, you can get into hospital pharmacy, retail pharmacy, ambulatory pharmacy, academic pharmacy, etc.
- High job stability: As a pharmacist, you can make a good amount of money with job stability. As a pharmacist, you will be the valuable member of the community. As a pharmacist, it is very less likely that the changes in technology or market will affect your job stability.
- Self-employment: After completing the pharmacy course and passing the licensure exams, you have the option of self-employment. If you don’t want to do a job, you can work for yourself. This is contracting yourself out just like traveling nurses they have traveling Pharmacist. You can also even get into the service like the Air Force to be a Pharmacist that serves.
- Pharmacy Owner: We personally have friends that have gone on to own their own Pharmacies and even start up their own chains. This can be very lucrative, but also very stressful when dealing with laws and regulations that are ever changing.
Cons of Pharmacy
Here are some cons:
- Educational requirements: One of the main cons of pharmacy is it has high educational qualifications. In order to work as a pharmacist, you have to spend your time on education for about 6 to 8 years. To become a pharmacist, you need to complete your PharmD program and earn a pharmacist license (passing licensure exams).
- Cost is high: Just like computer science, the cost involved in becoming a pharmacist is very high. The cost involved is quite high. According to 2014 data, the average person graduating with PharmD degree held over $100,000 in student loan debt. When the student starts making money as a pharmacist, a big chunk of money goes into loan debt. We have seen students up to $200,000 in student loans. This causes high stress and delays becoming financially stable.
- Career Upside: Pharmacy forecast isn’t bad it just isn’t on an uprise like it used to be. There are many more schools which means many more graduates. So to get the job you want you may have to be willing to relocate.
Real Current Past Students Take On PharmD vs Computer Science
We don’t want you to only take our word on this situation between choosing Computer Science or PharmD. So we have gone out and gathered information from real current or past students of these degrees to get their perspective.
This information was curated from several different forums for you too read. The only changes made were to spelling or grammar to make it readable. Other then that the answers remain the same.
Real Student Opinions (Computer Science VS PharmD)
1. PharmtoCS “100k without 200k loans” –
1) As a computer science graduate, you can easily earn $100k/year at age 22-25 without having to take out $200k+ loans and spend 4 years of your life in pharmacy school. You don’t even need a formal degree to be a software engineer, which means you can enter the field with little or no debt. Contrast that to the top pharmacy jobs that require 2 years of residency/fellowship in addition to 4 years of additional schooling. With a few years of experience as a software engineer, you can increase your salary to $130-150k, and with benefits and stock options, the total compensation may be up to $200k/year. Meanwhile, the $200k loans you will incur from pharmacy school will reduce your take home pay by as much as $40k/year. After taxes and student loans loans, you may be left with as little as $45k.
2) There is a major shortage of software engineers right now. Many current computer science students are getting 5 or more job offers before graduation, whereas once you graduate from pharmacy school, you may be lucky to get even 1 after you have become licensed for months. Software engineers are able to walk out of their current jobs and find a new one within two weeks as they are in very high demand, whereas many retail pharmacists hate their jobs but are stuck due to lack of job openings and student loans.
3) You are actually treated like a professional as a software engineer. Software companies are doing everything to retain employees not only through increased salaries but also excellent and unique perks such as 3 gourmet meals a day, daycare centers, shuttle buses that take you to and from work, gyms, etc. that make the workplace more tolerable and keep employees more productive. Chain retail pharmacies could care less about making sure pharmacists get enough tech help, let alone bathroom breaks while pharmacists are expected to tolerate the workplace.
4) Software engineering, unlike pharmacy, is based more on what you know rather than who you know and therefore more meritocratic and less cronyistic/nepotistic. You can at least make a portfolio to show your previous works. At interviews, you are asked to actually solve problems to see if you are a good fit for the position, meaning that you cannot just BS your way through.
2. Chriskahn “Stand or Sit” –
Sounds like you already know the answer. But here are the 2 options.
1. Dont do pharmacy if you dont want to be stuck standing in a small box with shelves of medicine for the rest of your work life.
2. Dont do CS if you dont want to be stuck sitting in a chair staring at a computer for the rest of your work life.
Ask yourself would you rather stand or sit at work?
3. MrBonita “Internships before you decide” –
For me, I went to school during the dot.com era meaning everyone wanted a computer science degree. I went to college having passed some AP exams and entering college thinking I was a big shot and tried to double major in the sciences and computer science/engineering. After my sophomore year and seeing my grades in computer science/engineering being B’s and C’s and science courses being A’s, I decided based on grades to go to pharmacy school. I think you should go into a program that allows you to double major and try both classes. See your grades and decide what works best for you. Also, do some programming/engineering summer internships and also work at a pharmacy in the summer and decide. I remember how frustrating it was as a freshmen with all the options but after you take courses and work in the fields, you will know.
4. SF2 “Do Both” –
Former pharmacist, current data scientist. I have been coding for the last 2 years in Python, R, SAS and SQL including launching a predictive analytics platform utilizing real-time data with a focus on developing user-friendly interfaces. Let me start by saying that marketing yourself as a pharmacist with programming skills is extremely challenging. My recommendation is to build a portfolio of projects and build your network. Once you have built your credentials, my recommendation would be to quickly move into a manager or director level position where you lead developers and do as little programming as possible yourself.
Networking is probably the most important part of this. If someone is convinced you can add value to their organization, then small sums of money are generally not an issue and positions for $150-200k per year where you are the only applicant can appear out of thin air. By the way, $2.4 million per year on updates is not a lot of money, but I’m sure that there is wiggle room in the budget depending on who you know.
Which is Harder Computer Science or Pharmacy?
First of all, neither computer science nor pharmacy is easy. Both are hard and will require your consistent hard work.
Computer science and pharmacy both have enormous career scope and earning potential. In pharmacy, you have higher earnings initially, while in computer science field, initial earnings are comparatively lower.
As we have said, both fields are hard. So, instead of looking for which one easy, you should be looking for, in which career field you are interested and most passionate about. No matter how well you get paid, if you don’t enjoy your job, it is not worth it. In the end, it’s all about what interests you.
Computer Science for most would be an easier degree to obtain. Although their are distance learning opportunities for Pharmacist, Computer Science can all be done online. With future Pharmacists you will still need to be onsite for your labs and complete your rotations. The information to obtain a Computer Science degree and thrive in that job market is all available for free online. Just your hard work, determination and drive are needed. So if you computer science is your passion go for it the potential is there with no ceiling.
If becoming a Pharmacist is your passion then go for it as well. You can change many lives with a Pharmacist Career and as long you are willing to possibly relocate your job potential is still there. Just make sure you pay attention to your student loans and maybe even look into Pharmacist shortage areas that will help pay for your student loans.
In a nutshell, pharmacy (PharmD) and computer science both are totally different career options. Both of them have great earning potential if you are willing to work hard.
Try some internships at Pharmacies and I.T. departments. Honestly you can probably do both at the same hospital since they have I.T. staff there along with an inpatient Pharmacy. If that doesn’t work try some banks for I.T. and any retail chain for Pharmacists or look into working as a Pharmacy Technician to get paid and learn the environment.