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

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#computer-science

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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!
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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.

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Dinesh’s Answer

Hi

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.


https://www.eecs.mit.edu/academics-admissions/undergraduate-programs/6-7-computer-science-and-molecular-biology

https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/prof_manolis_kellis_combining_1/

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
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Hunter’s Answer

Computer Science is a massive and rapidly growing field that touches pretty much all other fields. Just like learning another language like Chinese or Spanish, learning computer science will help you communicate better with the people in this field.

For example, genetics and gene mapping is a very tedious thing to do by hand which is why geneticists rely on computer models and simulations.
Also computers give biologists the opportunity to simulate tests that would be too risky or expensive in the real world. Understanding how these systems work would make you a valuable asset to your team.
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Sebastian’s Answer

Hi!


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.

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Hanish’s Answer

Yes! CS is embedded in everything. Especially in a field like Biology, CS could be used multiple applications within Biology. One great example of this is the field of informatics, where large scale biology and medical datasets are analyzed and processed to provide solutions through CS concepts and fundamentals. I took an informatics class in University where I had to analyze and store large scale covid genome datasets using CS data structures and algorithms. It was one of my favorite classes! There is so much information online, if this is something that really interests you, you should read up more on it. Hope this helps. Good luck :)
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Bonnie’s Answer

Yes! As a matter of fact computer science skills will put you at an advantage in any field because everything is automating.
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