Most of the modern world – work, private life, and entertainment – revolves around computers and IT in general. Naturally, this landscape creates a high demand for computer science jobs. As a result, BSc Computer Science positions are well-paid and offer excellent career opportunities.
With all these advantages considered, it’s no wonder that people from other professions pivot toward computer science. This includes biology students, too.
But can a biology student do BSc Computer Science? And, equally as important, should they?
The answer to the first question is relatively complex and will represent the bulk of this article. But the second answer is a resounding yes. Interdisciplinary education can be a massive advantage in today’s world, providing venues for innovation and greater career advances.
Let’s delve deeper into the question of can a biology student do BSc Computer Science.
Background on BSc Computer Science
A BSc degree is often a part of professional development for people interested in IT. The degree usually follows a core computer science course. After obtaining the BSc, you can move forward towards a specialization or pursue a PhD in the field.
As a biology student, your path to BSc Computer Science will be different. The first step on the way is to understand what computer science is, which areas it covers, and what core skills it requires. This section will explain just that, plus the career opportunities that come with BSc Computer Science.
Definition and Scope
Computer science deals with computer systems. If you’re (rightfully) wondering what that means precisely, the answer is: practically anything related to computers.
A computer scientist can work on the architecture and structure of a processor chip. On the other hand, their colleague could be engaged in supporting the structure of the internet. Both roles fall under the umbrella of computer science.
At its core, this branch of IT concerns with questions about the nature of computing. In that light, one of the computer scientist’s main tasks is to understand what a computer system is. Then, these professionals can move onto designing different systems for particular purposes.
Core Subjects and Skills
BSc Computer Science courses teach core subjects that provide the essential skills for the job. As you might presume, programming is the crucial skill of a computer scientist. This skill requires proficiency in programming languages and a deep understanding of data structures. In addition, knowing the ins and outs of algorithms is pivotal for programming.
Software development is another skill that computer scientists must have. Besides coding knowledge, this skill calls for high proficiency in the principles of software engineering. A good computer scientists should be able to perform the entire development process from coding to implementation.
Computer science calls for a good understanding of math basics like algebra and calculus. However, advanced techniques will also be necessary.
Finally, a computer scientist should have a firm grasp on data analysis and visualization. The former improves professional capabilities, while the latter helps communicate the data to the stakeholders.
Core subjects in BSc Computer Science courses that tackle these and other skills include:
- Programming principles
- Computer networks
- Computer architectures
- Foundational mathematics
- Data structures and Algorithms
- Web development
- Introduction to operating systems
- Cloud computing
- Programming paradigms
Job Prospects and Career Opportunities
Employment in the computer science sector is growing rapidly, following a trend that’s projected to continue throughout the decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 15% growth in the computer science landscape, along with hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
As the IT sector keeps innovating, even more jobs may become available. After all, many of today’s most desired professions didn’t exist at the start of the century, and computer science is developing rapidly.
Some of the career opportunities in computer science are for programmers, systems analysts, support specialists, software and computer engineers, and data scientists.
Comparing Biology and Computer Science
The question of can a biology student do BSc Computer Science comes down to a few crucial considerations. One of the first things you might ask is: what do computer science and biology even have in common.
Surprisingly, there are considerable similarities between the two fields.
The most obvious aspect that computer science and biology share is that both are scientific disciplines. This means that the scientific approach is a hard requirement for both fields.
Biology and computer science aim to solve problems following two crucial methods: data analysis and interpretation and the scientific principle. A computer scientist will follow the same path to a conclusion as a biologist:
Furthermore, both disciplines will utilize mathematical models, although computer science will lean into math more than biology. Lastly, living organisms can be thought about as systems, which is somewhat similar to a computer scientist’s understanding of computers and other IT technologies.
Of course, the differences between biology and computer science will be much more evident. The two fields employ completely different sets of skills and require knowledge specific to their subjects. Naturally, people specializing in biology and computer science will also have completely different career paths.
When it comes to the underlying principles behind the two sciences, other crucial differences come to mind:
- Computer scientists regularly build artificial systems while biologists explore natural ones.
- As a science, biology is more based on observation, unlike the often experimental computer science.
- Biology is often regarded as an applied field, while computer science may be viewed as more abstract.
Assessing the Feasibility of a Biology Student Pursuing BSc Computer Science
Now that we’ve seen what makes biology and computer science similar in some regards and different in others, let’s return to the original question:
Can a biology student do BSc Computer Science?
To answer that question, we’ll need to look at two aspects. Firstly, doing a BSc in Computer Science comes with certain prerequisites. And second, you as a biology student must be ready and willing to adapt to the new field.
Analyzing the Prerequisites
The essential skills that are required for a BSc in Computer Science include programming and mathematics. As a biology student, you’ll likely already have some courses in math, which will make that part of the equation easier.
However, programming definitely won’t be a part of the standard biology curriculum. The same goes for other computer science skills.
Yet, this mismatch doesn’t mean that a biology student can’t pivot towards computer science. The process will only require more effort than for someone with a computer science background.
To enroll in a BSc Computer Science program, you’ll need to have a good grasp of the mentioned skills. Since studying biology doesn’t offer knowledge on programming or computer science in general, you’ll need to acquire those skills in addition to your primary studies.
The good news is that you won’t need any other specific knowledge besides math and the basics of programming and computer science. If you’re seriously considering transitioning into computer science, fulfilling these prerequisites will be well worth your while.
Evaluating the Adaptability
Besides the necessary entry-level knowledge for a BSc Computer Science, another factor will determine your success: whether you can adapt to the new field of study.
The similarities between biology and computer science will play a massive role here.
You can lean into your understanding of the scientific principle and apply it to computer systems rather than biological organisms. The transition can be viewed as following the same general methods but using them on a different subject.
Also, data collection and analysis skills will be an excellent foundation for computer science. These skills are vital in biology. Luckily, they also represent an essential part of computer science, so you’ll be able to apply them to the new discipline relatively easy.
Granted, the usefulness of your prior knowledge and skills will reach a limit at a point. Then, you’ll need to show another crucial quality: the willingness to adopt new concepts and learn new subjects.
Your advantage will be in the foundational scientific skills that you’ll have as a biologist. Building on those skills with computer science-specific knowledge will make your transition smoother. The key consideration here will be that you’re ready to learn.
Options for Biology Students to Transition Into BSc Computer Science
The final part of answering the question of can a biology student do BSc Computer Science is the practical method of transitioning. You’ll have several options in that regard:
- Enroll in a bridge course or a preparatory program
- Complete an online course and get the appropriate certification
- Rather than biology alone, opt for an interdisciplinary degree or a dual-degree program
- Pursue a biology degree simultaneously with a computer science minor
Each of these options will help you gain the necessary knowledge for the BSc and prepare for a career in computer science.
Can a Biology Student Do BSc Computer Science? Absolutely!
As you’ve seen, the path from a biology student to BSc in Computer Science isn’t a straight one. However, it’s completely achievable if you have the motivation.
Getting interdisciplinary education will represent an excellent opportunity for professional growth. Better yet, it will open up your possibilities for personal development as well. Learning about a new discipline is always a benefit, even if you pursue a different career path later in life.
If computer science sounds like an interesting prospect, nothing stops you from following that line of study. Fortunately, the opportunities for just that are readily available. Enlist in a quality BSc course and start building your knowledge base and skills.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.