If you have an interest in both biology and computer engineering, you might be wondering which would be a better major. This post will show you the advantages and disadvantages of each and help you decide which would be a better major for you.
At a glance:
|Types of jobs|
you can qualify for
High school teacher
Embedded software engineer
Computer hardware engineer
|Difficulty of the|
|Key things to note|
It can be difficult to find
a job with just a bachelor’s
degree in biology. A
master’s degree or
PhD is often required.
Other easier majors
can be better for
The major can become
more employable if
combined with a more
It is a major that can
give good job satisfaction
once you can find a job.
A very employable
High average pay.
High job satisfaction.
Can qualify you for many
roles as well as engineering
Lots of potential jobs available.
Lower predicted job growth
for computer hardware
engineering when compared
with software engineering roles.
Source for computer engineering average pay and jobs
There are a number of things to consider when choosing between the two degrees. Below, are details about each major, their differences, and reasons to choose one or the other.
Details about a biology degree
Below are some of the key details about a degree in biology.
According to Payscale, the average pay for a person with a degree in biology is $71,112. This is better than the average across all majors. However, something to consider, is that the average will be being increased considerably by people with master’s degrees and PhDs in biology.
Biology can be a somewhat general degree that is not specialized towards specific job roles. As a result, it is often necessary to combine biology with a more applied minor or to get an advanced degree after graduating, in order to make the major more employable.
In a ZipRecruiter survey, it was found that 35% of biology graduates regret choosing the major due to difficulty finding a job without an advanced degree.
With that being said, the major can be a gateway towards jobs in a number of different fields, but it will often require some extra studying to become employable in those fields.
According to Payscale, people with a degree in biology often get jobs as:
- Lab assistant
- Physician assistant
- Biomedical engineer
- Physical therapist
- High school teacher
Note that many of these jobs will require at least a master’s degree.
Something to be aware of is that many of the jobs that require advanced degrees do have strong predicted job growth (source). This is encouraging if you are set on getting an advanced degree in biology. However, something to be aware of is that if you change your mind halfway through, it could be difficult to find a job with just a bachelor’s degree in biology.
Biology is a difficult major. The biology classes themselves can be difficult and the major will usually require math, statistics, physics, and chemistry classes. Overall, you should expect to have to put a lot of time into the major. However, when compared with a computer engineering major, you can expect biology to be less math-heavy.
Classes you can expect to take in a biology major can include:
- Introduction to physics
- Introduction to biology
- Molecular biology
You can look here to see an example degree sequence.
Things to consider
Alternative majors can allow you to enter medical school but also have good job opportunities. In fact, because it can be difficult to get a high GPA in biology, alternative majors can actually be better for medical school because having a high GPA can help a lot.
To get the more desirable jobs, in biology, it is often necessary to get a PhD. If you do choose the major, it would help a lot to consider combining it with a more employable minor in order to improve your job prospects after graduation.
When deciding on whether or not you should major in biology, it would help to consider whether or not you are set on going to graduate school as well and the types of jobs you want. If you are set on going to graduate school and you want a job that will require a master’s or PhD then a biology major would become more worthwhile.
Details about the computer engineering major
Below are some of the key details about the computer engineering major.
According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering is $87,240. This makes computer engineering one of the best paying majors available. This could be because computer engineering can qualify you for computer science type roles which are very popular right now.
However, computer engineering jobs do tend to be concentrated in high cost of living areas.
According to the BLS, it is predicted that computer hardware engineering will only grow in demand by 2% by 2029.
However, a computer engineering degree involves a lot of computer science. This means that you can qualify for software engineering roles and other computer science-related roles. The predicted growth for software engineering is 22%. This is probably because it is much cheaper to start up a software company as opposed to a hardware company. With that being the case, it would likely help you a lot to make sure to take a number of additional computer science classes in your electives.
Examples of jobs that you could qualify for with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering includes:
Embedded software engineer
Computer hardware engineer
Something to consider is that the more research-based roles will usually require at least a master’s degree.
Computer engineering includes a number of math classes including linear algebra, calculus, discrete math, and differential equations. Also, many of the electrical engineering classes can be difficult. This means that computer engineering is not an easy degree.
Examples of the types of classes that you can expect to take can include:
- Calc 1,2, and 3
- Discrete math
- Differential equations
- Linear algebra
- Circuit analysis
- Introduction to electronics
- Digital electronics
- Signal processing
- Embedded systems
- Algorithms and data structures
However, the classes can differ a lot depending on the university. Some will require you to take more electrical engineering classes while other universities will require more computer science classes.
Usually, data structures and algorithms are required classes in computer engineering but not always. These are important classes for software engineering interviews. If the program you enter does not require these classes, it would help to take them anyway.
When compared with a biology degree, you can expect a degree in computer engineering to qualify you for a lot more jobs. Also, computer engineering is a degree that is directly employable without needing to take classes from other disciplines to become employable. However, it would still help to choose classes related to the job roles you are interested in and to complete projects related to them.
While it can be difficult to find jobs with just a bachelor’s degree in biology, there are still some reasons why you might want to get a biology degree.
The first reason is if you want to get a job that requires a master’s or doctoral degree in biology. If you do, then a bachelor’s degree in biology would be more worthwhile.
Also, if you have a very strong interest in the subject, it would also make it more worthwhile for you to major in biology. However, it would also help to minor in something that is employable at the bachelor’s degree level.