New Career: from doctor to developer


So I am a doctor but I am not practicing due to becoming disabled. I see on job boards that java developers make 80k+ a year. Can I get a job in this market by passing codecademy course in java?

If not, what is the path to becoming a java developer, how long does it take?

If yes, then any other tips to get a new career started.?

Doubtful, but you could get your feet wet and determine for yourself if it’s a pursuit you wish to engage in.

I personally don’t believe it’s the language that gives you cred, but the thought process you have self-defined. That’s what makes a true programmer. The language is just a vehicle. Once you master one, you can take your pick of which one to master next. They all possess traits particular to one field or another, while possessing overlapping program concepts that are common to all.

Java, as I understand it is a stricter version of C. No, I won’t go into the details because as we’ve just seen, “as I understand it” pretty much says it all. You would have to do some reading up to compare the two. It is not a cakewalk to learn either of them, so I’ve stayed in the shallow end and just scraped the surface so I can recognize the code when I see it. That’s about it.

If you wish to learn programming as a concept, you have a very powerful language right at your fingertips… JavaScript. It’s built into every browser. All you need is a text editor (Notepad++ is free) and you’re set. Perhaps give that language a go, first, and immerse yourself in the dialect of programming in a relatively forgiving environment. Expect to learn a lot of syntax and running error messages along the way. Love them, and leave them behind as you learn. But keep loving them.

Happy coding!


JavaScript (or more correctly today, ECMAScript is not Java. Their only connection is the C language they both spring from. All three have much syntax in common, but that is where the line is drawn.

JS/ES is what the S says, script. Run once or only when called upon by an event. We can, with the help of Node.js create standalone programs, but it’s not likely the language of choice, given that we have C and Java for that. They (the programs) are compiled and out-of-the-box executables if the runtime library is present OS’s are largely written in C, as are most browsers…

Scripts need a browser to run in the absence of Node.js. It’s a fun way to learn code since it is really forgiving. It either runs or it doesn’t. We’re never told ahead of time that the code cannot be compiled. ES really tries to do something with every instruction statement it gets.

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Thank you for the reply.

I have played around with codecademy enough to know that I can do it. The question is whether I am wasting my time. What is the path and how long will it take?

I was thinking with my medical knowledge, I could develop medical tech.

You are better to apply the knowledge you have so you keep it up, (naturally) but there are as I’ve said simpler languages to start with and pursue while you build up a general knowledge base. Once you have enough of the skillset in place apply it to your professional knowledge base and let your imagination (or need) fuel the fire from there.

As for time line, I would find a way to plug into some form of employment while you learn. It’s not a short path for anybody. Yes, some people are naturals, but the truth is there is just so much reading it has to take time. You know what that’s like.

The only way to become a computer scientist is to earn a degree if we want it on paper. You are a scientist and once you get immersed will discover you already speak the language. It does bode well in how fast you will progress, though haste makes for lost time, so keep looping back, and do the reading.

When sufficiently versed in JavaScript, Node.js is a path to C since it basically is C. Read up on this. It’s another vector to Java.

Another language with close ties to C is Python. It is a very useful language in information science and robotics, among many others, of course. With the prowess of having learned a scripting language like JS/ES you are more than well equipped to jump into another scripting language.

The only reason I like JS to start is that I have everything I need right in front of me. My scientific brain (would it were I had one) can kick in at any moment and I have this powerful tool right there at my fingertips. All I have to do is give it the correct instructions.

Companies are looking for people who have experience more than anything. Although credentials are nice, this is definitely not the medical field where they put a heavy amount of weight on that. Companies want to see what you have built and that you are reliable. Which means you need to start at the bottom. Or build something on your own as proof you know what you are doing. Either way it will take some serious time. Good luck and I hope you find your way. Just follow your excitement!