What Software Careers Are Available in the Healthcare Industry?

Software CareersWhen it comes to software careers available in the healthcare industry, there are two paths to follow during your undergraduate and graduate education and into your job search. The more common path is to become a software engineer and offer your expertise in designing software to use in databases, data mining, robotics and end-user applications for healthcare providers and patients. The other path is to go into research and work for a university or private company developing new technologies for healthcare.

Requirements for Software Developers in the Medical Industry

Most software engineering jobs don’t require a master’s degree, but because many of the top companies hire employees with degrees from well-known schools like Berkeley, Stanford and MIT, it helps to be very focused from the beginning of your education. Examples of companies that hire software developers to build medical software are GE Healthcare, Philips, Boston Scientific, Intuitive Surgical and Medtronic, and a job with one of these companies typically involves the same sort of programming tasks as in any non-medical tech firm. The difference is that the software you’ll be making will be used in healthcare applications and medical devices instead of in standard desktop applications.

The job title for this type of work is simply software engineer or software developer, and the employment growth in this industry is expected to be much faster than average over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for developers was $93,350 in 2012, and the minimum education requirement for this work is a bachelor’s degree.¬†However, many developers working in the field of medical application design say that the pay is generally higher at the top software companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple.

Breaking New Ground in Medical Research

If you’re more interested in developing new medical technology, software research is on the cutting edge of health care science, and you have a chance of discovering some important medical breakthroughs by working in a research university or in the research and development division of a private company. The more cutting-edge research is usually being done in universities that are funded by grants, while private companies research new proprietary technology, according to Forbes. To work in research, you need at least a master’s degree, and for many jobs, you need a Ph.D.

A master’s degree can also give you more opportunities in software design in the medical industry, such as in the areas of robotics, artificial intelligence, data mining and other advanced areas. With a bachelor’s degree, you can design end-user applications for patients and healthcare providers to use to communicate with one another, but an undergraduate degree doesn’t cover advanced topics like artificial intelligence or robotics. Desktop and online medical apps help patients schedule appointments and keep track of their treatments, and a lot of new medical software is being designed for mobile and wearable devices. These gadgets help people monitor their conditions, remind themselves to take medicine and receive relevant information over the Internet.

Related Resource: Software Jobs in Mobile Applications

Software engineering in the medical industry is booming due to the aging population and the high demand for new software in general. If you have a strong interest in computer science, you may want to consider the software careers available in the healthcare industry.