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So I finish my B.S. degree in Bio in under a week. Here's the thing, I dislike my major and don't want a career related to anything biology related whatsoever. I was too far into the program to want to turn around plus other personal crap I had to deal with.

I am actually much more into programming and working with code. I know some C from an intro to computing class and a little HTML.

My question is, as a person with a degree that isn't computer science or information technology, where can I find positions or internships where I can do work with computer technology?
 

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Have you heard of computational biology?

It's creating computer programs to solve problems in biology.

It's one of the rising industries. And you get to code/sketch program designs of programs all day long.

You would be covering a niche so that would actually get you better pay than being a web developer or data processing applications developer like everyone else. Also, a web developer or data processing program developer has to reach targets consistently every single day.

A computational biology programmer gets weeks to sketch out, brain storm and diagram a problem and then finally deliver a program. You're really fortunate to have a background. You can use it to help you in your passion of computer programming.
 

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Learn how to program DNA? Okay seriously though, if you can program I have no doubt there is a huge demand for biologically relevant programs or data systems, as the two paths would rarely cross.
 

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Have you heard of computational biology?

It's creating computer programs to solve problems in biology.

It's one of the rising industries. And you get to code/sketch program designs of programs all day long.

You would be covering a niche so that would actually get you better pay than being a web developer or data processing applications developer like everyone else. Also, a web developer or data processing program developer has to reach targets consistently every single day.

A computational biology programmer gets weeks to sketch out, brain storm and diagram a problem and then finally deliver a program. You're really fortunate to have a background. You can use it to help you in your passion of computer programming.
Funny you mention CB. People have constantly told me I should look at bioinformatics too. While I might be burned out as hell from school, that could be a possible path for me. I just need to absolutely LOVE an area before I consider grad school and right now, those areas don't excite me enough to further my education. It could in a year or two...

Just found an iRobot intern position in my state which is looking for people with more "diverse backgrounds" so it doesn't appear I have ZERO opportunity. This is promising :)
 

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If you're burned out from school, take a break after you finish for a few months or semester or maybe even 1 year. Then see if you feel lighter again and ready for school. I remember a statistic like 2 years for master's degree means an extra $20-$30k per year. If you don't feel like it now, you could ask yourself if you're up to it after a few months, semester or 1 year. A master's degree makes a big difference in life. I wish I had an opportunity to get a free ride to get a master's degree but I can't because I am getting out of debt right now and need to build my career experience and resume.

You should use your biology degree somehow. Try an internship for 1 month, even 1 week in any job that requires biology. Here's an observation: work is EASIER than school. Seriously, I could have learned everything I currently use in 1 year. You may actually like working in biology and find it easier than school. Maybe take a break for a few weeks or months and then try an internship.

If you don't use your biology degree, then you're just another programmer in a crowd of millions who all know C, HTML, etc. It'll be as if you got a "college party school" degree in psychology. If you do something related to biology, then you're in a niche (read: higher demand for, lower supply of workers). You will get higher pay, your employer will keep you longer and you will be valued more.

Try to do something related to your biology degree. Take a break for a few weeks or months which you need. Then TRY an internship. Work is so much EASIER and more FUN than school. You may be surprised when you actually get some work experience.
 

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My question is, as a person with a degree that isn't computer science or information technology, where can I find positions or internships where I can do work with computer technology?
Assuming you want to work, I'd be tempted to suggest looking for jobs doing either technical support or quality assurance. These tend to be areas where most of the training is on the job as you have to deal with things as they come up which aren't often going to be according to a script. These could lead to development jobs eventually as you come in the back door in a sense. At least this would be my suggestion for a route unless you want to go down the hobbyist programmer route of doing personal projects and networking with other developers to find opportunities that way.
 

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I really encourage you to catch that next wave in the world. I mean the world. If you notice, every once a while, the world changes, and the nature of our work also changes too. For my brother, he was born into the generation when engineering was the forefront technology. For me, it was computers. For science grads, and computer grads, their direction should not be the next wave, which is analytical instrumentation, with computing algorithms. Because you have a biology background already, you can indeed catch the next wave which is occuring now in instrumentation DNA sequencing. There is a lot of statistical modelling, and statistical calculations in the algorithms which tests the accuracy rate based on small population size data. Basically, it is combining data mining, with statistical chances of something which is likely to occur, within an instrument. This kind of instrumentational analysis is quite technologically forefront, because if you think about it, the past instruments produces a direct reading of the technology itself. But because of certain technology cannot reach a more finite or definitive conclusion, what is required is to use statistical modelling to predict the likelihood of something happening. Because we do not know what information can be found, what is now being used and done is to create factual libraries that allow you to cross check the sample information obtained from the instruments, to pinpoint the accuracy of the likelihood that something will happen.


I think if you search into some of the companies that now reside in San Diego, where Tech meets Bio, you will begin to see the kind of next wave of technology and jobs coming out of that area. As a young person, I wholly recommend that you try and ride that wave. Cos it will at least secure you for a decent 5-10 year's work. I'm not too sure if you will get hired asap as a Bioinformatician though because most companies want a PhD from you at this point, and it is in its infancy and residing within the respective R&D arena.
 

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I majored in bio too and I am also planning to transition to coding related stuff. My fiance is a software developer (who transitioned from electrical engineering a couple of years ago) and he said that as long as you know what you're doing it doesn't matter if you have a degree in it or whatever. He did say that you should have a portfolio of sorts of projects of your own, like apps or something like that, to demonstrate your skills and expertise when looking for a job.
 

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Have you heard of computational biology?

It's creating computer programs to solve problems in biology.

It's one of the rising industries. And you get to code/sketch program designs of programs all day long.

You would be covering a niche so that would actually get you better pay than being a web developer or data processing applications developer like everyone else. Also, a web developer or data processing program developer has to reach targets consistently every single day.

A computational biology programmer gets weeks to sketch out, brain storm and diagram a problem and then finally deliver a program. You're really fortunate to have a background. You can use it to help you in your passion of computer programming.
You don't need a Ph.D for this, yet the pay is good? For the field of biology that almost sounds too good to be true, lol.

-- research technician making $12/hr despite Ivy League degree and extensive research experience
 

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Bio-informatics/computational biology seems like a cool path to check up on, at the least. I'm currently studying ecology but I've used scripting languages to carry out things like population rate estimates which would otherwise take longer than necessary ; there's also a language called R which I'm trying to get into now. Synthesis of different disciplines can sometimes work out really well. Here's a cool directory with a bio-informatics sub-section :

Directory Listing of /texts/science_and_technology/nature_and_biology/
 

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Discussion Starter #12
senlar said:
You should use your biology degree somehow. Try an internship for 1 month, even 1 week in any job that requires biology. Here's an observation: work is EASIER than school. Seriously, I could have learned everything I currently use in 1 year. You may actually like working in biology and find it easier than school. Maybe take a break for a few weeks or months and then try an internship.
I hate you because you're right :p

I decided to stick with the biology/biotech because it really is a lot more unique of a path than CompSci/IT. I applied for some lab tech positions at the beginning of this month and got an interview coming up at Genzyme. I'm excited!
 

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...I don't remember creating a second account. I also majored in bio (Biotech), didn't particularly like it, and didn't figure that out until I was in too deep to change my major for a variety of reasons. My real passion is also programming and working with code. I'm a couple years further along than you are; I graduated in June 2011.

People have constantly told me I should look at bioinformatics too.
Nooooooooooooo. No, no, no, no, no. I actually changed my major to Biotech with an emphasis in Bioinformatics (I was undeclared before, but I was on track for a major in Biological Sciences) because people told me the same thing, and I looked into it and thought it looked good. It's a trap! The bioinformatics and genomics theory courses I took were all really fascinating: there are a lot of interesting problems in sequence alignment, sequence assembly, gene/repetitive element discovery, etc. Here's the thing: those problems are solved by computational biologists. Bioinformaticians are the people who use the solutions to... crunch gigabytes and gigabytes of high-throughput genomic data. Trust me, I did for two years after I graduated (I just wrapped up that contract at the end of this last August). It's all soulless data crunching. I would rather have been in a wet lab or back taking care of tomato plants, another lab job I did while I was in college.

If I could go back and do it again, I would have double-majored in Genetics and Computer Science. Well... actually, I would have just majored in Computer Science, since I don't give a rat's ass about the biology side of things anymore, but if I only knew what I knew back then and still thought I wanted bio, it would have been Genetics and CS.

For you, in order to get into the more Computer Science or Comp Bio side of things, you would probably need some more programming knowledge than just some C and HTML. Scripting languages are dead useful in comp bio/bioinformatics: a lot of the pipelines and software solutions I used are just straight-up written in Perl or Python, as both of those languages have robust biological libraries (BioPerl and BioPython) and are generally more user-friendly and accessible to the bio guys who do the programming than a strict compiled language like C++ or Java. If you've used C, Perl may look very familiar to you. Perl is actually fairly flexible, but it can be written pretty much exactly like C. Python is a different animal, and not a language that I'm terribly familiar with, but it's also extremely popular and apparently quite user-friendly.

R is always good to know, too. In my lab, my colleagues used R (I never learned it myself) to generate most of the figures we put in the three papers we published while I was there.

General CS stuff: the real hot-button knowledge area that a lot of job postings list as a requirement is Data Structures. If you're not familiar with Object-Oriented Design (if you've only used C and never written a class in C++), then you'd probably need to learn that first, but then you could look into taking a Data Structures course online or at a community college. Armed with those qualifications, you'd probably be set for a junior computation biology position.

Also - because I've been nervously asking this question to a lot of people and getting mostly the same answer - you apparently don't need a degree in Computer Science to break into the field, as long as you teach yourself to put together code pretty well.

This post is a bit all over the place, but hopefully there's something helpful in it somewhere. :happy:
 
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