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How software engineers are saving lives

Digital health software engineers and analysts really can become lifesavers and make a difference to the world without needing to go to medical school. Digital Health/Software as a Medical Device (SAMD), technology and portability are providing crucial advances to health and life.

Today there are products that can detect and diagnose early onset/symptoms of cancer and heart disease and assist in the treatment and the cure. These devices provide real value to our wellbeing and they also have certification and approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, and similar bodies globally. It’s an exciting and rewarding industry to be a part of and offers a balance between altruistic pursuits and those of career and economic progression.

The size of the ‘Digital Health’ market is rapidly expanding – according to Stastica, it will more than double between 2015 and 2020, with developments in wireless and mobile driving this expansion. This market growth correlates with the current and continued increase in roles within this industry. So, if you are interested in a uniquely challenging and rewarding career in a sector set to be worth at least $200 billion in the US alone by 2020, and $370bn+ by 2024, Global Market Insights, this could be the industry for you.

These career opportunities are not solely based in major multinationals, they are spread out across the spectrum from start-ups right through to household known tech companies such as Apple. If you have the skills and want to get involved in this sector, you are in an enviable position and your choice of environment is pretty much limitless.

The true beauty of this sector is the technology.  It’s not new technology. As with a lot of exciting areas in software engineering and new applications, they are based on existing tech – the vision and the excitement comes from the application of this technology.

Many companies we work with are looking for engineers with traditional skills that can be applied to this sector, some of these are:

C/C++

C/C++, is the foundation of .Net, Java, and embedded languages, which are critical to the integrity of everything operational in the sector, from diagnostics to treatment. It may not be ‘new’ but it has the integrity that newer code can’t provide.

Data

Data capture, analytics, and scientists are crucial to the success of many products. Not just in design and application but in the measurement of results and the development of solutions.

In the past, SAS was the driving data tool in the pharma/biotech sector, and that is still the case in many areas of clinical trials. The rise of digital solutions now means Hadoop, Spark, Python, R… and many more, are now all in high demand.

The new kid on the block? Bioinformatics.

Persistence Market Research recently published a report, “Global Market Study on Bioinformatics – Asia to Witness Fastest Growth by 2020,” valued the global bioinformatics market at $4.110 billion in 2014 but expected it to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4 percent from 2014 to 2020, hitting 12.542 billion in 2020.

UX/UI

Yes, design is important, particularly when it comes to mobile and wearable technology as opposed to more heavyweight medical devices. Even then the user experience is important with all applications. Sketch, Proto.io, InVision are popular user experience design tools, while development using Angular, Vanilla JavaScript, Swift, Java and Python brings the design to life.

These days it’s what we are doing with the technology, how we are applying it and the value it is bringing that is making the real difference. And that is a ‘life changer’ for engineers looking to make a difference, and to the wider public who use the technology.

Talent are specialists in Digital Health and Life Science industries, to find out more about the exciting opportunities in this sector, contact me at colin.etheridge@talentinternational.com or any of the consultants at Talent US.