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Thread: switching from comp sci to biology as a career

  1. #1 switching from comp sci to biology as a career 
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    I'm new here, so I hope I found the correct category to post this- apologies if I did not.
    I am 27 and for various reasons only just now realizing that I'm in the wrong field. I'm just about to get a AA in multimedia technology and I've been working help desk for 5 years while going to school part time. I'll make this short and just say that I am thinking of a career in biology instead and I have several concerns and questions.
    -I don't know what I'd like to DO in biology exactly..I don't know all the choices, I suppose, and I want to be sure before I commit too far.
    -does anyone have any books or websites they recommend. I'm looking for a "so you want to be a biologist but you're totally lost?" type thing..if one exists.
    -money is a concern. I'm also not looking to relocate (I'm in the Baltimore area).

    My current plan is to start work on a BS in comp sci and minor in biology next semester, but I haven't set that in stone yet. One of the main reasons for not choosing to major in biology is that the school I'm looking at (an online school) offers a minor in biology, but not a major. Which makes sense, since it's online, biology is lab-intensive of course so I understand, but I can't do in-person schools because I need to keep working while I go to school for financial reasons.

    Thanks for any help anyone can provide.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman Trillian's Avatar
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    I am not sure what careers are available to a person who has a minor in biology, but you may want to speak to your academic adviser who will more than likely have a better answer for you.

    As for making money in biology, you're not going to get rich. I am a biology major because I have always had a passion for science and I would love to have a job that enjoy going to everyday; I just would like to make enough money to pay the bills...


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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman LordKelvin's Avatar
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    Actually, biologists with good skills in computer science are in very much demand everywhere, and this trend is only increasing. Find out if in your school there is a minor in bioinformatics.
    Just Because Something's Unexplained Doesn't Mean It's Supernatural - Houdini
    Quantitative PCR
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  5. #4  
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    There is a ton of stuff you can do with comp sci in biology.

    I went to a seminar a few months ago on creating algorithms to compare patterns in non-coding pieces of DNA across different species in order to try to find areas of significance.

    A section of biomimicry involves trying to get robots/software to behave in ways that are directly influenced by nature. Stuff like neural networks, beetlebots.

    Like someone already posted, bioinformatics is basically bio meets comp sci, so that's a big field to look into, but maybe you want to leave comp sci behind altogether.

    It sounds like you should try to figure out a little better what you want to do before deciding whether to pursue the minor. If it's something that's mostly comp sci and a little bio, then email some professors related to the field at graduate schools and see if they take on people with only comp sci degrees.

    If you figure out what you want to do requires a bio major, suck it up and take some night labs. I'm sure they have them in a city like Baltimore.

    I can't really think of a good book offhand that just lists all the bio jobs out there, but I'd suggest checking out sciencedaily.com, popsci, discover magazine, nature, science magazine and looking at the cool shit biologists are constantly coming up with.

    The other day I read about research being done that supposedly shows that the plaques associated with Alzheimer's might actually originate in the liver.

    Another article talked about a team that put genes from a scorpion into a fungus in order to help combat malaria. (WHAT?! Awesome.)

    You could also check out all the different graduate bio degrees, since those are at least somewhat related to the jobs you'd get with them - ecology, microbiology, genetics, etc.

    http://www.gradschools.com/programs/...-life-sciences

    Good luck figuring your shit out. I switched from comp sci to bio after junior year and just graduated after 6.5 years with a bachelors in bio, and I'm pretty happy with it.
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  6. #5  
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    One of my friend did his graduation in biology. He secured very good marks but still was unable to find a job for a year or so. His financial condition was not supporting for higher studies. Actually nowadays every field is asking for specialization courses. General subjects are having limited opportunities. With lot of struggle my friend got a job as a store keeper. It was very disappointing for him but he didn't had any choice. Then he got to know about some universities providing online education along with scholarships for needy students. Looking at the current market condition he decided to pursue the sonography technician course. Now he's doing the sonography technician course and also getting scholarship which is lowering the cost of studies to minimum. The following site would be helpful for those who are planning to do a course in sonography technician.http://www.sonographytechnician.org/...y-technicians/

    The career in biology is good but it's better to go for a specialization in that so as to get good opportunities.
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