Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life. There are many factors to consider, such as job outlook, salary, and work-life balance.
If you’re torn between two industries that seem very different, such as nursing and computer science, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between nursing vs. computer science, and give you some advice on how to choose the right career for you.
What’s nursing all about?
Nursing is a medical profession that focuses on providing care to patients. Nurses work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings, and they collaborate with doctors and other members of the healthcare team to provide high-quality care.
Nurses must be compassionate and patient, as well as have excellent communication skills. They also need to be able to work well under pressure, as they often have to deal with emergencies.
What about computer science?
Computer science is the study of computers and their applications. It covers a wide range of topics, including programming, algorithm design, data structures, artificial intelligence, and software engineering.
Computer science is a rapidly growing field, and there is a high demand for computer science graduates.
Nursing vs. Computer Science: The Similarities
First, let’s start with the similarities between nursing vs. computer science. Both careers are in high demand and offer great job security.
In addition, both careers offer the opportunity to help people in a meaningful way. Nurses provide high-quality care to patients that can improve their health and quality of life, while computer scientists develop software and apps that make people’s lives easier.
Finally, both careers require a lot of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Nursing vs. Computer Science: The Differences
Now let’s look at the differences between nursing vs. computer science.
One of the biggest differences is the work environment. Nurses typically work in hospitals or clinics, while computer scientists often work in office settings.
Another difference is the educational requirements. Nurses need at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing, while software engineers can get streamlined training through a coding bootcamp, which only takes 2-6 months to complete (although a university degree is often recommended – see “Coding Bootcamp or Computer Science degree?“).
Finally, nurses typically work with people on a daily basis, while software engineers often have less contact with the clients and usually focus on programming tasks and team meetings.
Nursing vs. Computer Science: Education
Now that we have discussed the similarities and differences between nursing and computer science, let’s dive deeper into what education is needed in order to become a nurse or a software developer.
In order to become a nurse, you first need to complete an accredited nursing program. Nursing programs typically take 4 years to complete, although there are accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 2 years.
During your nursing program, you’ll take classes such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and medical ethics. You’ll also have the opportunity to gain clinical experience in a variety of healthcare settings.
Computer science education
To become a software developer, you’ll need to complete a computer science degree at a university or an accelerated coding bootcamp.
Computer science Bachelor’s degree typically takes 4 years to complete, although there are 5-year combined bachelor’s/master’s programs available.
During your computer science degree, you’ll take classes such as programming, data structures, and algorithms. You may also have the opportunity to gain experience through an internship or a research project.
If you are a career changer breaking into tech, you might be interested in reading “5 Proven Ways To Switch Careers to Computer Science”.
Is computer science harder than nursing?
This is a difficult question to answer, as both careers have their own challenges. When it comes to the difficulty of education, computer science may be the winner, as it often requires more math and technical courses than nursing.
However, nursing is generally considered to be a more challenging career when it comes to day-to-day work, as it can be emotionally demanding and requires excellent communication skills. Nurses must be able to deal with sick and injured patients, as well as handle the stress of working in a fast-paced environment.
On the other hand, computer scientists sometimes have to work overtime to meet deadlines (see “How Many Hours a Week Do Software Engineers Work?”), and they also need to be able to handle the frustration of dealing with complex problems. In the end, it’s up to the individual to decide which career is right for them.
Computer science vs. nursing salary
So, which career pays better? When it comes to computer science vs nursing salary, computer science has the edge. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for computer and information research scientists is $110,140 per year, while the median salary for registered nurses is $82,750 per year.
Of course, salary is not the only factor to consider when choosing a career. Both nursing and computer science offer good bonuses, and both careers are expected to grow at a fast pace in the coming years.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to become a nurse or a computer scientist should come down to which career is the best fit for you.
Nursing or computer science: which career is right for me?
Now that you have some information about computer science and nursing, you may be wondering “which career is right for me?”. Here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you make your decision:
- Do I want to work with people or computers?
- Do I want to work in a hospital or an office?
- Do I want to help people or solve problems?
- Do I want a career that is emotionally challenging or one that is mentally challenging?
These types of questions will help guide you through your decision-making process on a personal level. When it comes to more practical aspects of deciding between nursing and computer science, you could think about the following factors:
- Job market for each career – both nursing and computer science are in high demand, but nurses may have an edge due to the current nursing shortage.
- Salary offered for each career – computer science salaries are typically higher than nursing salaries, but nurses may have more opportunities for overtime pay.
- Location – nurses can work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to clinics to home care, while computer scientists often work in office settings or remotely.
- Working hours – nurses may have to work long hours, including nights and weekends, while software developers typically work regular office hours.
Once you have considered all of these factors, you should be able to make an informed decision about which career is right for you. If you’re still undecided, there’s no shame in speaking with a guidance counselor or career coach who can help you figure out which path is right for you.
How to transition from nursing to computer science?
If you are currently a nurse and are thinking about transitioning to a career in computer science, you should know that this is surely a possible career turn.
In order to make such switch, you would need to go through the following steps:
- Research what type of computer science role you want: Do you want to be a software engineer, a database administrator, or a web developer?
- Get education in computer science: You can do this by attending a coding bootcamp or going back to school for a computer science degree.
- Network with computer science professionals: Join relevant online communities and attend meetups to make connections in the industry.
- Start applying to computer science jobs: Customize your resume and cover letter to highlight your nursing experience and transferable skills.
Making a transition from nursing to computer science is definitely possible, but it will take some time and effort to make it happen. It can take anywhere from 6 months to several years to transition from nursing to computer science, but if you are interested in this career change and are willing to put in the work, then it could be a great move for you.
If you are interested in reading more about how to transition from nursing to computer science, read “5 Proven Ways To Switch Careers to Computer Science”.
Can I combine nursing and computer science?
If you’re interested in combining nursing and computer science, there are a few ways to do this. One option is to become a nurse informaticist, which is a nurse who specializes in using computer science to improve patient care.
Another option is to become a nurse researcher, which involves using computer science to develop new nursing technologies.
The third option is to become a nurse educator, which involves using computer science to develop new nursing education materials.
Finally, a career in nursing administration could also involve using computer science to improve the efficiency of nursing operations.
There are many other ways to combine nursing and computer science, so if you’re interested in this career combination, be sure to explore all of your options. With the right education and training, you could have a rewarding and successful career in nursing and computer science.
What is nursing informatics?
Nursing informatics is the use of computer science to improve patient care. Nurse informaticists use their knowledge of both nursing and computer science to develop new technologies that can be used to improve patient care.
They may also use their skills to develop new nursing education materials or to improve the efficiency of nursing operations.
On a daily basis, nurse informaticists may work with patients, nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals to collect data and use it to improve patient care through the use of technology.
If you’re interested in a career in nursing informatics, you will need to have both nursing and computer science skills.
Nurse informaticists typically have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing and a Master’s degree in computer science. Some nurse informaticists have a Master’s degree or a PhD in nursing informatics.
If you’re interested in combining nursing and computer science, becoming a nurse informaticist could be a great option for you.
Nursing informatics salary
The average nursing informatics salary is $92,195 per year. However, salaries can vary based on experience, education, and location.
For example, nurse informatics salaries in the United States range from $50,000 to $140,000 per year. Nurse informatics salaries in Canada range from $60,000 to $100,000 per year. And nurse informatics salaries in the United Kingdom range from £30,000 to £50,000 per year.
If you’re interested in becoming a nurse informaticist, be sure to research salaries in your area to get an idea of what you can expect to earn. With the right education and experience, you could have a very successful career in nursing informatics.
Now that we’ve explored some of the similarities and differences between nursing and computer science, and showed you how you could transition between or combine the two careers, it’s time for you to choose the right path for you! And if you’re still undecided, don’t hesitate to speak with a guidance counselor or career coach who can help guide you in making this important decision.
We hope this article has been helpful in guiding your future career choice and wish you the best of luck in whatever path you choose!
Elmar Mammadov is a software developer, tech startup founder, and computer science career specialist. He is the founder of CS Careerline and a true career changer who has previously pursued careers in medicine and neuroscience.
Due to his interest in programming and years of past personal experience in coding, he decided to break into the tech industry by attending a Master’s in Computer Science for career changers at University of Pennsylvania. Elmar passionately writes and coaches about breaking into the tech industry and computer science in general.