Difference Between A Doctor’s and Engineer’s thinking

Doctors and Engineers especially in their student years don’t share a respectful relation. Mostly Medicine being the more preferred choice of career, many of the engineers are actually “wanna be doctor but could not get into” types. Hence they now want to prove that being Engineer is actually a better thing than being a Doctor. But this blog is not about that.

I never wanted to become a doctor and pure love for mathematics and analytical think brought me into Engineering field. But now while I attend Artificial Intelligence lecture, medicine often comes in our discussion. How can we design expert systems to diagnose diseases.

The question that our professor raised today was something that I had thought about many times before. There is a fundamental difference between how people in different professions think. A Doc, said my prof., makes any hypothesis purely based on his experience and diagnoses the disease. He then continuously updates his hypothesis based on response that the patient gives to his treatment.

As long as the basis for hypothesis is not the Doctor’s immediate financial needs, I would say it is a fine approach. But Doctors need to work harder at getting their hypothesis write in the first shot, if an engineer has to trust them. Even a trivial symptom like cough might make them think that they have got a fatal disease. More so because they use Internet to arrive at that conclusion themselves.

Given my experience in software engineering, I only hope that doctors dont really work the way we do. So many times we realize that the code we are writing is ugly and there is a better solution, we end up keeping it that way just because “it will not show up” or the client would not know about it. What is Doctors think that way ?

Engineers have analytical mind. Given a set of symptoms we will have to correlate those symptoms with some disease with known symptoms. Clearly a well-studied and well-known (though not well solved) problem in machine learning.

But then I am really worried about the cases where a wanna be doctor ends up becoming an engineer. Isnt something terribly wrong with that?

Note: Many seem to get offended by the statement that most engineering get into the profession because they could not get into medicine, this is an india specific statement and purely on a personal note.

27 thoughts on “Difference Between A Doctor’s and Engineer’s thinking

  1. I don’t know whether medicine is still considered to be a noble profession. My father being a doc. I have always seen him as a noble professional personality.treating thousands of patients without any under no facilities of xrays and ultrasound and sonography.
    And still come up with a correct diagnosis.
    Now think of engineers and docs. ways of thinking.

    But I cannot see the new docs as noble unless they are super in their fields.

    Roaming with stethoscope around their neck and wearing a white coat in hospital campus just for impression.Does that make you a good doc or is it ur ability to treat the patients that makes you doc.

  2. Being an engineer was my dream since Standard one in school ,im new to be your blog so i dont whether you are an engineer or not ,however skimming through your posts seems like you are one of the fraternity.My question to you is how did you come to this conclusion that every engineer is a wannabe doctor ?dude seriously even if this is a personal opinion of yours stop generalizing your opinion it to be applied to the entire nation,not everyone has to be the same.And stop propagating the herd mentality.

  3. Dude,

    Propogating herd mentality etc? I have no agenda here to say. The point is about the difference in looking at a particular problem by both these professions. Medicine has fewer seats than engineering and often the higher percentage guys flock there, thats the basis of my assertion and I might certainly be wrong. But that hardly matters.

  4. I agree with the blog writer and dis agree with “some engineer who never wanted to be a doctor”. It is said in the blog that many engineers could not be doctors not “all engineers are failure doctors”. Even if many was a over statement, it is common to be an engineer as a compromise of not being a doctor. I have seen this many many times.

  5. I agree with the blog writer and dis agree with “some engineer who never wanted to be a doctor”. It is said in the blog that many engineers could not be doctors not “all engineers are failure doctors”. Even if many was a over statement, it is common to be an engineer as a compromise of not being a doctor. I have seen this many many times.

  6. well i dont think we have any right to compare these professions.
    remember, if we have same thinking, nature, dreams then why do make whole world,
    so who we are to make any conclusion,

  7. Buddy I hated biology…
    It was easy but immensely boring. All you had to do was mug up stuff.
    I wouldn’t be a doctor unless my life depended on it. I am a happily screwed up engineer now. I eat apples every day though. 🙂

  8. Life’s aim is to evolve spiritually..not make hoards of money and die like a millionaire dog! Don’t you understand that engineers deal with dead machines and docs deal with “alive” machines (human body). Former is Avidya (matter) and the latter inclides Vidya (Consciousness) and according to Gita (Book of Brahm Vidya), Vidya is superior to Avidya and inferior to Brahm Vidya (i.e Highest). So the conclusion is evident from the highest authority.How many are their saints from Engg background, and just check out the saints (evolved ones) from medico background. You will be surprised to know this fact, but it is true that a real doc is more close to God.So don’t decide your career on the basis of money/pay package, rather take the help of Gita instead of taking opinions from some IIT/IIM/AIIMS wala. Enjoy doing what your heart permits, not what others say. Because heart is where there the real guide is.

  9. Bhagavad Gita belongs to Smriti portion of Sanatan Dharma’s scripture and Bhagavad Gita is eternal (Akshar in sanskrit). So what is the meaning of Akshar Smriti? It clearly refers to Bhagavad Gita. And funny thing is you underestimate Bhagavad Gita by asking such stupid questions???

    Next time, mind your words because they reflect your maturity level.

  10. You are very right to say that my words reflect my maturity level. Also, you comment reflects your underdeveloped sense of humor, I am not commenting on the stupidity level because that might me not-so-polite.

    Title of my blog does not refer to Bhagvad-gita. At most I can say it means “Akshar” (my name) “Smriti” (compilation of memories). I have not underestimated BaghvadGita. If you can derive “Doctor v/s Engineer” debate conclusion from BG then why cant you do the same for cricket?

    I rather suggest you reflect on your own immaturity (and sense of humor too).

  11. Nobody (at least in India) will infer a person by the word “Akshar Smriti” (and tagging your blog with tatva-gyan philosophy). And it should not be personal as well even if you trivialize my comments on “Doctor v/s Engineer” debate. Failed to grasp my perspective on the issue, you simply went out of context by throwing a new issue of cricket and BG and leveled your comments as humor!! and me as having underdeveloped sense of humor?

    Gentleman, the word “Cynic” has the following meanings:
    1.one of a sect of Greek philosophers, who advocated the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath human dignity.
    2.a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.
    3.a person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.

    If you take 2 and 3 as a cynic, i am sorry i don’t belong to your tribe. I don’t need more “humors” .

    Good bye and keep posting third rate humors.

  12. I think this is a completely useless argument, coz either by choice or by compulsion, both the professions are very important for this not ancient world to be goin on! If there weren’t so many seats in engineerin, it won’t hv happened dat v get all these convenience, includin d advancements in medical field.. So i guess it’s very important der’re more engineers than doctors in our society.. And it’s equally likely to say dat not everyone has this ability to become a doctor!

  13. I admit the argument is silly and I am astonished by the amount of traffic it is inviting to my blog.

    Also, the argument was not about who is better. The argument was (At least the attempt) about how our professions change our line of thinking in day to day matter.

    Any ways thanks for commenting.

  14. What is major difference between doctor & engineers .Why doctors are more respectful than engineers?

  15. i think that docors were better than engineers.some students hate biology but i like it & i hate maths bcoz to become an eng.. always solve maths &maths that was to boring.so it is better to learn or understood
    biology…..this comment is for those who wants to become doctor & those who wants to become eng….

  16. If I could travel back in time, I’d always pick engineering as my #1 choice. I love math and physics and can’t imagine not learning it. I have a bachelor’s in engineering and now I am in medical school. I could have chosen not to go to medical school. I find that I am actually doing medicine a favor by bringing the open-type thinking. So far, all I’ve seen are medical students who memorize and relay what they memorize. People are always surprised by how I can quickly reason out the diagnoses.

    It’s very naive of anyone to think that an engineer is a wannabe doctor or vice versa. Try doing both, then you’ll get a true perspective like me.

  17. hey Amit. i am truly inspired by u. in fact i always thoght of doing engg. followed by medicine.currently i m doing my b.tech and want some advice how to go on with my dream. hope u can help me out.

  18. This is totally useless .
    the answer that people expect from this link is not at all related to what is writtten.

  19. Fallacy of hasty generalization dear friend. It might be useless to you but that does not mean it is totally useless. At least you should have left a word to describe what were you expecting.

  20. being a software engineer is more cool than Doctor… I totally crazy to a computer world .. I love software engineer….. coz of it i found out my gf is cheating behind me…

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    Port: 6669
    Please use SSL.
    Eg. For mibbit chat client: irc.insomnia247.nl:+6669

    The channel is #medical

    Feel free to talk on anything to everything related to the medical field.

    I’m always there.
    Suggestions, feedback always welcome.
    Voice and op privileges can be granted on request.
    Would be nice if people used a bounce service.

    The channel is as secure as it can get and is stable.

    Trust that you will be there.



  23. If being a doctor truly was a calling, many more would manage this profession with greater care and more thorough treatment as intended. Today, I believe more doctors, PA’s and RN’s are coming to be for the money. In short, you can be a not so great doctor or any medical professional and still have a job. You cannot and I mean CANNOT manipulate your way around being a software engineer or any engineer for that matter in my opinion. If my computer was opinionated enough to say “Here you go Neo I know you had a hard day so as a server I am not gonna get on your case today..You have been working so hard lately”, not only would I be grateful but I can weasel my way under the radar and pass through yet again. I have great respect for doctors who work with passion…..I have great respect for engineers, for mathematicians, for nurses, for therapists, musicians, construction workers, cake decorators…………who all work with passion. This is just my honest contribution as if to say who the hell care what we are called or what we do as long as passion drove you to it. Show me a doctor who works ONLY for the money and I will show you the end of his ropes!

    Be well,


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