4 answers

Could taking computer science or other technology classes benefit a biology major?

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4 answers

Dinesh’s Answer



As Divya mentioned everything is digitized. Computer science will help you to applying your knowledge for Bioinformatics or computational biology. You can make use of programming skills (using java, python, Bioperl etc) to design software which can be used in biological research. With the growing need and applications of Data Science in Biology, now it's easy to store, analyze and interconnect the information generated manually. Bioinformaticians help in designing software & online databases with which the above-mentioned tasks can be achieved with ease.

Another interesting application of computer science in biology can be simulating the cellular processes like vesicular trafficking, signaling, and cell migration. which will help us explain these processes with a visual approach.

I hope this answer helps you get some basic idea about how important & indispensable computer science has become in the field of Modern Biology.



Dinesh recommends the following next steps:

  • https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/prof_manolis_kellis_combining_1/
  • https://www.eecs.mit.edu/academics-admissions/undergraduate-programs/6-7-computer-science-and-molecular-biology

Jeff’s Answer


Hi Abigail,

Great question! And, Divya is spot on! The short answer is ABSOLUTELY! In this day and age, technology is embedded in every single aspect of our lives and careers. There are almost no jobs that don'w require some aspect of technology. In biology, there are needs to mine data, do analysis and many other aspects. If you have some technology background, you can talk to the developers to define what you need. You will also have some understanding of what your request entails and how big a job it is. Those who don't know technology may think it's a matter of waving a magic wand to get a report sorted.It actually can be large undertaking.

Bottom line, you can be an interface between the biologists and technologists, which makes you very valuable and gives you an advantage over your colleagues!

Best of luck!

Jeff recommends the following next steps:

  • Take an intro computer science class!

Divya’s Answer


Hi, Absolutely! In this day and age where everything is 'digitized' or 'automated', taking computer science courses (even if you are a Biologist) will only enhance your professional profile. For e.g: I am a Biologist with a PhD, but I had to work with data and perform analysis using statistical models for my dissertation. Biotechnology, Computational Biology are all fields that are flourishing and have a promising future.

Sebastian’s Answer



Yes, in Biology we need some computer science knowledge in order to be updated in the last methods for analyzing data. Just one example, there are languages as R that can be used to analyze great amounts of Data.

Let me give you one real-life example, I know a scientist (PhD in Molecular Biology) that has a lot of data about the Genomics of Axolotl mexicanum but he wants to obtain more insights about that sets of data. So he start learning about R and data analytics, so if you are skillfull in programming and data science you will have a great opportunity analyzing sets of data in some biology labs.