Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

From Business Problem Domain to Scientific One

I'm a technically/scientifically oriented person.  As an undergrad, I got a CS and a Math degree filling up all my electives with Engineering and Physics courses.  I loved that!  I imagined that my future as a programmer would hold mostly scientific problems.  But here I am now, in IT, solving business problems for business people, mostly writing Enterprise database solutions.  Not that there's anything wrong with that - if your mind is oriented towards business - but my mind isn't.  I just can't wrap my mind around business paradigms.  I have no talent for it.

Does anybody out there have a programming job where it's more important to understand topology than accounting, or language theory rather than inventory?  I look in the want ads and see only business programming positions.  Can I get there from here?  Can I get there from here without a higher degree?


Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Want ads aren't the place to look for these types of jobs.

Every hear of Wolfram Research? Mathematica.

You need to do your own searching.  As for a degree, I would say you "need" a Masters/Ph. D because "they ain't gonna hire ya on common sense alone".

You think I'm joking.  I'm not.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Check out science press classifieds. New scientist is full of job ads, though mostly for pure science positions, there are IT related ones too. Don't know about other journals, but they are worth pursuing.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

A lot of scientific research in done in government labs.  The scientists and engineers there generally need the support of scientific programmers.  The tasks usually require some basic understanding of the science, but if you have taken a lot of math and physics it shouldn't be much of a problem for you.

Some examples are the NASA facilities, NIH, labs associated with the DOD and labs run by universities for these agencies, e.g.  You may be able to get a job directly with one of these organizations, but a lot of the support work, including programming, is done by contractors.

Unfortunately, most of these places are in as bad shape as anyone else.  I'd be surprised if you find anything at NASA right now.  NIH may be better, but that's a guess.  OTOH, the DOD has money.  Companies doing business with the government are even advertising on the radio to hire people.  The problem there is that they all require a securit clearance or at least citizenship so you can get one.

The economy may still be bad right now, but it may get better in a year or two.  Even if you can't get something right now, you can start looking.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Try again on that link:

Wednesday, June 4, 2003


Thursday, June 5, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home