ALEVEL OPTIONS - biology or computing

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Yt.shusshhhh
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Hi originally i was going to study double maths, biology and chemistry for alevels next year. However I also did computing GCSE and love coding and am hoping for a future career in coding at a company or computational sciences. I also wish to have some experience at lab research but ultimately I would not like to always be in research and would prefer an office job where i could code. So now i am considering taking computing, chemistry and double maths. Would this be more helpful for my future career and degree? Also i don't know whether to study sciences or computing for my degree. I want to study natural sciences at cambridge or maybe biochemistry at other universities but im not sure if i can if i dont study alevel biology? Also is biology a lot of essay work like history? However, ultimately I don't know if biochemistry is a job i would like- I don't want to be a doctor. I just find biology quite interesting and want to learn about it but im not a very big fan of nature either (i like the human biology not ecosystems and everything else). I would still want a coding career i think, so would i have to take a computing degree and would alevel computing be useful? But this means that i will close my option to study biology, and i will never be able to study it again which is quite sad. Or i did think about biology, computing and double maths, but the college im at teaches chemistry better than biology i think? So im not very sure. I need some help please...
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claireestelle
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(Original post by Yt.shusshhhh)
Hi originally i was going to study double maths, biology and chemistry for alevels next year. However I also did computing GCSE and love coding and am hoping for a future career in coding at a company or computational sciences. I also wish to have some experience at lab research but ultimately I would not like to always be in research and would prefer an office job where i could code. So now i am considering taking computing, chemistry and double maths. Would this be more helpful for my future career and degree? Also i don't know whether to study sciences or computing for my degree. I want to study natural sciences at cambridge or maybe biochemistry at other universities but im not sure if i can if i dont study alevel biology? Also is biology a lot of essay work like history? However, ultimately I don't know if biochemistry is a job i would like- I don't want to be a doctor. I just find biology quite interesting and want to learn about it but im not a very big fan of nature either (i like the human biology not ecosystems and everything else). I would still want a coding career i think, so would i have to take a computing degree and would alevel computing be useful? But this means that i will close my option to study biology, and i will never be able to study it again which is quite sad. Or i did think about biology, computing and double maths, but the college im at teaches chemistry better than biology i think? So im not very sure. I need some help please...
you'd ideally need biology and chemistry to do natural sciences and biochemistry but you wouldn't need computing a level to do the degree as long as you had maths. you could consider biology,chemistry, maths and computing as you won't specifically need further maths.
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griffin17
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For most computer science degrees, computer science/computing a-level isn't actually necesssary! They just want you to have a good grade in Maths (and Further Maths in some cases) - to keep your opportunities open, I reckon you should stick with your current combination of A-levels (unless you enjoy CS a lot more than biology, which would be an obvious switch)
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samanthawongx
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look at some of the entry requirements on the university's websites and see what subjects they would like you to study
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Yt.shusshhhh
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(Original post by griffin17)
For most computer science degrees, computer science/computing a-level isn't actually necesssary! They just want you to have a good grade in Maths (and Further Maths in some cases) - to keep your opportunities open, I reckon you should stick with your current combination of A-levels (unless you enjoy CS a lot more than biology, which would be an obvious switch)
Yes i know i find it so weird/annoying that you don't need computing alevel to study a degree. I just think maybe i will be less confident to go for a computing degree if i didn't study the alevel? And coding is my hobby but biology/ nature kind of isn't if you get what i mean, so i think in my gut it still points towards computing but its just annoying cause it closes my option for biology :/ And there are pros and cons of both subjects. I like the coding but not the theory in computing (but im hoping ive covered most of it in computing gcse??), in biology i like the human cells and stuff but not the environment/ecology things...
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Yt.shusshhhh
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(Original post by claireestelle)
you'd ideally need biology and chemistry to do natural sciences and biochemistry but you wouldn't need computing a level to do the degree as long as you had maths. you could consider biology,chemistry, maths and computing as you won't specifically need further maths.
Thankyou, yh but i think i definitely want to do double maths. So would i have a lower chance of getting into natural sciences if i did computing and not biology? What if i wanted to take physical natural sciences and focus more on chemistry? Is the computing a level just useless then? Because i kind of want to pursue a coding career
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claireestelle
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(Original post by Yt.shusshhhh)
Thankyou, yh but i think i definitely want to do double maths. So would i have a lower chance of getting into natural sciences if i did computing and not biology? What if i wanted to take physical natural sciences and focus more on chemistry? Is the computing a level just useless then? Because i kind of want to pursue a coding career
yes you'd have less options for natural sciences, computing a level isn't useless but you really don't need it to do a degree relating to coding as they only ask for maths for them.
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Yt.shusshhhh
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(Original post by claireestelle)
yes you'd have less options for natural sciences, computing a level isn't useless but you really don't need it to do a degree relating to coding as they only ask for maths for them.
Okay thankyou, if you did computing or biology a level could you tell me if the course was enjoyable? Like is biology a lot of essays? and would it be hard to pick up computing at degree if i only did double maths for a level?
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Dechante
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I always say to people if you're considering a biology/science/health related degree than biology is the best option you can take as it keeps your options open but if you're doing a natural sciences, biochemistry or biomed degree it's gonna be necessary. Also, computing a level isn't needed for a computing degree but maths is. If you're gonna go Cambridge then to stand a chance you're going to need to take biology especially as all the people applying are gonna have three 'hard' science subjects.
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Yt.shusshhhh
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(Original post by Dechante)
I always say to people if you're considering a biology/science/health related degree than biology is the best option you can take as it keeps your options open but if you're doing a natural sciences, biochemistry or biomed degree it's gonna be necessary. Also, computing a level isn't needed for a computing degree but maths is. If you're gonna go Cambridge then to stand a chance you're going to need to take biology especially as all the people applying are gonna have three 'hard' science subjects.
Okay thankyou! Would me taking double math and chemistry not count as three 'hard' sciences? Also maybe if i wanted to take computing at Cambridge would it lower my chances if i only had double maths and no computing? I don't know though because i still want a computer coding heavy job, so would it be easier to study computing at degree and then learn the specific parts of science later on when i need it? or study natural sciences and then a bit of coding on top of that?
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claireestelle
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(Original post by Yt.shusshhhh)
Okay thankyou, if you did computing or biology a level could you tell me if the course was enjoyable? Like is biology a lot of essays? and would it be hard to pick up computing at degree if i only did double maths for a level?
I did biology and enjoyed it , there's no essays at all.
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Yt.shusshhhh
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(Original post by claireestelle)
I did biology and enjoyed it , there's no essays at all.
Okay thankyou what about at degree level do you know?
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Dechante
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(Original post by Yt.shusshhhh)
Okay thankyou! Would me taking double math and chemistry not count as three 'hard' sciences? Also maybe if i wanted to take computing at Cambridge would it lower my chances if i only had double maths and no computing? I don't know though because i still want a computer coding heavy job, so would it be easier to study computing at degree and then learn the specific parts of science later on when i need it? or study natural sciences and then a bit of coding on top of that?
Have you read this? It tells you what A levels applicants tend to have and the best combinations to take for natural sciences.
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....tural-sciences

Computing is classed as a science at other courses at unis but not at Cambridge unfortunately. It wouldn't lower your chances as not every sixth form offers computing A level and they would rather you have maths. It's unfair to discriminate against someone as they never had the chance to take computing. Also, just to add I took biology and there's no essays at A level (at least for my exam board anyway)
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claireestelle
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(Original post by Yt.shusshhhh)
Okay thankyou what about at degree level do you know?
Afraid I didn't do it at degree level.
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Yt.shusshhhh
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(Original post by Dechante)
Have you read this? It tells you what A levels applicants tend to have and the best combinations to take for natural sciences.
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....tural-sciences

Computing is classed as a science at other courses at unis but not at Cambridge unfortunately. It wouldn't lower your chances as not every sixth form offers computing A level and they would rather you have maths. It's unfair to discriminate against someone as they never had the chance to take computing. Also, just to add I took biology and there's no essays at A level (at least for my exam board anyway)
Thankyou! I'll have a read. Oh yeah also my college has a weird exam board for biology which confuses things even more, its called WJEC or something? Also would taking natural sciences give me a potential job to work in computing because i ultimately still want to do coding in like an office place i think
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Dechante
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(Original post by Yt.shusshhhh)
Thankyou! I'll have a read. Oh yeah also my college has a weird exam board for biology which confuses things even more, its called WJEC or something? Also would taking natural sciences give me a potential job to work in computing because i ultimately still want to do coding in like an office place i think
idk much about careers in computing tbh but ik due to the skills you learn from a natural sciences degree you could go on to do a computer science masters but idk about getting a computing job straight away. Personally, it looks like you would prefer a computing career so would rather do a computing degree but want to keep your options open and there's nothing wrong with that. I think biology is a great choice as you're debating between a science degree and a computing degree as it keeps your options option to both where as you couldn't do the same with computing a level. I think once you take your A levels you'll know where your interests lie. For example, I love biology and learning about the anatomy of humans but can't stand plants and stuff like that hence why I chose a medical science related degree to study at uni this September.

I know you want to go to Cambridge but have you ever considered Exeter as a backup? They offer a flexible combined honours so you can combine two subjects of your interest together e.g computer science and biochemistry. It can be a great option if you're still undecided or change your mind next year
https://www.exeter.ac.uk/undergradua...#subject-areas
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Bill V2
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Biology would definitely keep more doors open for you if you're not completely sure of what you want to do, especially if you're considering biochem.
The only subject you need to do CS at uni is maths, and even then there are a lot of unis that don't even require maths. You do not need to do it at a-level.

Also, you don't have to have a degree in CS to get a job as a developer. Whilst it may make it easier, other things, like having a good portfolio with previous projects you have done, will help you.
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Yt.shusshhhh
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(Original post by Dechante)
idk much about careers in computing tbh but ik due to the skills you learn from a natural sciences degree you could go on to do a computer science masters but idk about getting a computing job straight away. Personally, it looks like you would prefer a computing career so would rather do a computing degree but want to keep your options open and there's nothing wrong with that. I think biology is a great choice as you're debating between a science degree and a computing degree as it keeps your options option to both where as you couldn't do the same with computing a level. I think once you take your A levels you'll know where your interests lie. For example, I love biology and learning about the anatomy of humans but can't stand plants and stuff like that hence why I chose a medical science related degree to study at uni this September.

I know you want to go to Cambridge but have you ever considered Exeter as a backup? They offer a flexible combined honours so you can combine two subjects of your interest together e.g computer science and biochemistry. It can be a great option if you're still undecided or change your mind next year
https://www.exeter.ac.uk/undergradua...#subject-areas
Wow this is amazing thankyou. And i didnt know about the exeter course thanks! For the biochemistry combined honours would i need biology alevel then? I dont know as im kind of torn between science and computing. The dream would to work in a big tech company (google/apple), and for that would choosing computing alevel from the start be the best option, rather say a computing masters after a science degree? I dont know if its better to keep my options open now or to be decisive and choose computing straight away and be more focused on it? Because if i dont do the computing alevel would i still need to do a lot of coding outside of school? Also i dont do many big coding projects by myself and i think the A2 computing project sounds really interesting too~especially for the portfolio thing someone else said. If i gave up biology could i just focus more on the chemistry side of biochemistry (organic chem?) or will it affect my knowledge a lot?
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Bill V2
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(Original post by Yt.shusshhhh)
Wow this is amazing thankyou. And i didnt know about the exeter course thanks! For the biochemistry combined honours would i need biology alevel then? I dont know as im kind of torn between science and computing. The dream would to work in a big tech company (google/apple), and for that would choosing computing alevel from the start be the best option, rather say a computing masters after a science degree? I dont know if its better to keep my options open now or to be decisive and choose computing straight away and be more focused on it? Because if i dont do the computing alevel would i still need to do a lot of coding outside of school? Also i dont do many big coding projects by myself and i think the A2 computing project sounds really interesting too~especially for the portfolio thing someone else said. If i gave up biology could i just focus more on the chemistry side of biochemistry (organic chem?) or will it affect my knowledge a lot?
https://www.quora.com/Is-it-possible...science-degree
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Yt.shusshhhh
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Thankyou! So its possible to jump from a science to computing careerAlso I am wondering if it is possible the other way around, say i do a computing degree but then i learn the specific parts of science (biology/chemistry) to when i want to apply my coding to? Or could i have a computer science degree and then work for a bit in lab research?
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