Can you do have a career in computing with A levels in Bio, Chem, and Psychology? Watch

paleontologist
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I've heard you don't need computing A level to study and go into computing later on, but i did a bit of research and it seems like i would need maths and/or physics. I'd really like to have a career in computing but my parents try to discourage me and are pushing me into medicine. The A levels i've currently chosen are Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. I could get into medicine with these A levels but could I get into computing with these or not? I'm assuming no, but just wanted to confirm my doubts.
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ComicalUsername
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you could go into something like bioinformatics/computational biology in the future which is kind of computing mixed with biology

find something that blends all your interests together
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winterscoming
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(Original post by paleontologist)
I've heard you don't need computing A level to study and go into computing later on, but i did a bit of research and it seems like i would need maths and/or physics. I'd really like to have a career in computing but my parents try to discourage me and are pushing me into medicine. The A levels i've currently chosen are Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. I could get into medicine with these A levels but could I get into computing with these or not? I'm assuming no, but just wanted to confirm my doubts.
You wouldn't be able to study Computer Science at the 'top 20' universities without A-Level Maths; those universities have very mathematical CompSci degrees. (Your best option there would be a foundation year).

Apart from that, most other universities outside of the top-20 tend to be more vocational and technical, and are a lot more likely to accept you as long as you achieve good grades in those subjects. Universities teach computer science and other computing subjects from basic principles upwards, so if you're applying to a vocational Computing/CompSci degree then it generally doesn't matter which subjects you have at A-Level.

Generally speaking, if your goal is to get into any kind of technical IT career, then there's no real need to study on a mathematical degree; you don't even need to study Computer Science at university really.

Technical IT careers are based on your analytical, technical and problem-solving skills; which are all things that you could teach yourself, although if you don't study the subject at university then it's hard work and you'll need to spend a couple of thousand hours of your own time teaching yourself many of the same skills in order to reach a point where you'd be in a position to start applying for jobs. (or pick up a conversion masters at the end)
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She-Ra
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(Original post by paleontologist)
I've heard you don't need computing A level to study and go into computing later on, but i did a bit of research and it seems like i would need maths and/or physics. I'd really like to have a career in computing but my parents try to discourage me and are pushing me into medicine. The A levels i've currently chosen are Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. I could get into medicine with these A levels but could I get into computing with these or not? I'm assuming no, but just wanted to confirm my doubts.
Bring in our experts IBM UK Careers for some additional careers advice
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IBM UK Careers
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Hi there! At IBM we recruit from any subject background - even into computing! It may be beneficial to have some coding experience etc., but all we are looking for is a passion for business/technology and willingness to learn. We also look for competencies such as teamwork, communication, adaptibility, drive and passion!

We currently have graduates and undergraduates in technical roles that have studied subject such as zoology, fashion, sciences and languages! We hope this helps

- Melissa
(Original post by She-Ra)
Bring in our experts IBM UK Careers for some additional careers advice
(Original post by paleontologist)
I've heard you don't need computing A level to study and go into computing later on, but i did a bit of research and it seems like i would need maths and/or physics. I'd really like to have a career in computing but my parents try to discourage me and are pushing me into medicine. The A levels i've currently chosen are Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. I could get into medicine with these A levels but could I get into computing with these or not? I'm assuming no, but just wanted to confirm my doubts.
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Civil Service Fast Stream
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In the Civil Service you can certainly have a career in computing and digital without having to do a specific set of A Levels! The Civil Service Fast Stream accepts applicants onto its 'Digital, Data and Technology' scheme with a 2:2 or above in any undergraduate degree subject. It's a really varied programme - aside from regular computing you can also expect to have placements in digital strategy and digital policy, which is why the Fast Stream isn't prescriptive about which subjects people study - they just want the best and brightest!
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paleontologist
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What would you say is a technical IT career, and what would you say isn’t? @winterscoming
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winterscoming
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(Original post by paleontologist)
What would you say is a technical IT career, and what would you say isn’t? @winterscoming
Generally, any career which is centred around technical expertise and technical skills. For example:
Software Engineering (Incl. Web development, games programming, AI/Machine Learning, etc.)
Data Science
Database Administrator
DevOps Engineer
Infrastructure/Network Engineer
Cloud/Platform Engineer
Systems/Hardware Engineer
CyberSecurity analyst/specialist
Automated Testing (Quality Assurance)


Non-Technical careers would usually be those which are more commercial and business-centric. For example:
Project Manager
Business Analyst
Product Owner/Manager
Technical Writer
"Manual" Quality Assurance / Testing (still somewhat-technical)


I would point out that even the non-technical careers still benefit from a decent background in technology - especially an understanding of common things such Databases and SQL, as well as at least having some appreciation of technology and the jargon used (e.g. the language you'll hear when communicating with programmers and other engineers)
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happily
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I would suggest for you to choose Maths over Psychology. It will help you to apply for computing related fields later on, also having Maths alevel will bring you further options too. Moreover, I understand that your parents are pushing you to Medicine, but convince them that combining Medicine with Technology is a powerful thing! Try to learn programming language such as Python, SQL (more suitable for database), or R (more statistically used than python but still powerful) during your spare time and/or holidays! Having these skills will make you more favorable to your future employers as they don't have to train you from zero.


(Original post by paleontologist)
I've heard you don't need computing A level to study and go into computing later on, but i did a bit of research and it seems like i would need maths and/or physics. I'd really like to have a career in computing but my parents try to discourage me and are pushing me into medicine. The A levels i've currently chosen are Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. I could get into medicine with these A levels but could I get into computing with these or not? I'm assuming no, but just wanted to confirm my doubts.
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paleontologist
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I know Python, have been learning it for almost 5 years now. I really think I would struggle doing Maths A level even though I’m decent now and I know it would exhaust me, especially since I definitely wouldn’t enjoy it. Thanks for the suggestions though!
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happily
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But putting up with few months of maths will open up more future path for you!
Definitely consider doing it.

Good luck with your studies!
(Original post by paleontologist)
I know Python, have been learning it for almost 5 years now. I really think I would struggle doing Maths A level even though I’m decent now and I know it would exhaust me, especially since I definitely wouldn’t enjoy it. Thanks for the suggestions though!
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TrojanH
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It's true. I went to a top 20 uni (Newcastle) without Maths. I studied those subjects, bar chemistry (History instead). You can definitely get into CS.

I applied to a bunch of companies, around 500 (I automated this). I had 90+ interviews (Some big names like Bloomberg, AMEX, Just Eat, Capital One, FCA, Schlumberger, BT, Cisco, Sage etc but most small companies) scheduled for the month alone. By the second week, I had 4 solid offers (all small companies). I cancelled my upcoming ones and felt really happy after working so hard to get one. I was seriously doing 9-5 just non stop interviews lol.

I've never had a single employer or tutor look down upon my A Levels. If anything, It put a really good positive twist on my applications - how I had to work harder than those with a computing background to get to where I am today.

Yes, A Level Maths will help you. But it isn't the gatekeeper to a career in this industry. You might struggle in math-heavy topics like AI/ML but you can always put in the work, or choose something more suited to you.

Morale of the story - you do what you want to do. Don't let subjects or grades get in the way.
(Original post by paleontologist)
I've heard you don't need computing A level to study and go into computing later on, but i did a bit of research and it seems like i would need maths and/or physics. I'd really like to have a career in computing but my parents try to discourage me and are pushing me into medicine. The A levels i've currently chosen are Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. I could get into medicine with these A levels but could I get into computing with these or not? I'm assuming no, but just wanted to confirm my doubts.
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