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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Biology Meets Programming: Bioinformatics for Beginners by University of California San Diego

605 ratings
163 reviews

About the Course

Are you interested in learning how to program (in Python) within a scientific setting? This course will cover algorithms for solving various biological problems along with a handful of programming challenges helping you implement these algorithms in Python. It offers a gently-paced introduction to our Bioinformatics Specialization (, preparing learners to take the first course in the Specialization, "Finding Hidden Messages in DNA" ( Each of the four weeks in the course will consist of two required components. First, an interactive textbook provides Python programming challenges that arise from real biological problems. If you haven't programmed in Python before, not to worry! We provide "Just-in-Time" exercises from the Codecademy Python track ( And each page in our interactive textbook has its own discussion forum, where you can interact with other learners. Second, each week will culminate in a summary quiz. Lecture videos are also provided that accompany the material, but these videos are optional....

Top reviews


Apr 18, 2016

I give this course 5 star because I did Bioinformatics I and I totally enjoy it.\n\nThis is where programming can be fun, and practical, and you'll learn some basic biology too.\n\nWhat's not to love?


Aug 16, 2017

I learned a lot from this difficult and time-consuming course! It covers biological concepts using Python. It made learning Python more interesting for me, since I have always loved biology.

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1 - 25 of 159 Reviews for Biology Meets Programming: Bioinformatics for Beginners

By Puneet K

Apr 11, 2019

in between the course the continuity breaks and also it jumps to a sudden high level

By Nihar S

Mar 14, 2019

It was definitely interesting and quite challenging. But in my opinion it is a little hard for beginners. I am glad I did it though. Looking forward to the specialization.

By Carlos M

Jan 24, 2019

excellent introduction, which was at an appropriate level for my experience (lots of programming in languages other than python, and just a cursory understanding of genomics).

By Kerry

Jan 15, 2019

This is a poor course for Python beginners. There are two things going on here -- CodeAcademy, which has a nicely thought out, clear explanation of basic Python programming. Then there is STEPTIK--the big problem is that the very basic programming instruction in CodeAcademy does provide adequate background to successfully solve the problems in STEPTIK. The STEPTIK section should build on/fill in the gap between what we learned in Python and we need to still learn to complete the problems. Many of the solutions provided in the solutions forum use coding that was not introduced to us in CodeAcademy.

This course may work for computer programmers who want to explore Bioinformatics. After trying twice to complete Week 1, I finally gave up. What's the point if I have to copy solutions from the Solutions forum (that I don't understand) to proceed? I'm glad I did not purchase the course before I tried out Week 1.

By Aquil

Jan 14, 2019

I really enjoyed the class, however, I have two complaints/recommendations.

1. Much of the content seems geared towards biologist/life science professionals who have a strong grasp on the concepts being presented. I am a software developer with little background in the life sciences, much of what was discussed as it relates to biological processes was new to me. It would have been nice to have had a companion document for the biology side of the course, similar to the Python programming companion.

2. Successfully completing work in Week 4 depends on successfully completing the "GreedyMotifSearch", I didn't search the forum or FAQ too much, but providing more visible support for people who get the correct answer, but exceed the time limit might be useful. I was able to easily identify my problem using a line profiler, but those new to Python may not know "Best Practices" for optimizing code.

Anyway, that's it. Thanks.

By Kshitij S

Dec 23, 2018

The course was fairly interesting and I had a lot of fun in completing it. The only problem I had with the course was with its python aspect. Apart from that, it was amazing!

By Caroline C

Jun 13, 2019

I already have python background so it is good for me. Maybe not suitable for beginner who doesn't touch python before.

By Noa G

May 23, 2019

great introduction, not too hard, great explanations and videos allowing for repetition of content for a better understanding

By Aditya P

May 10, 2019

There was some really interesting information covered in this course. However, the programming assignments and explanations seemed unpolished, there were lots of typos or explanations that were simply unclear and confusing, and the randomized algorithm section made it unclear whether I was getting the coding exercises wrong due to a mistake in my coding or whether it was due to the random nature of the algorithm. Having us use a random seed for these algorithms would have cleared things up. Overall, OK introduction to the specialization, but I'm hoping the courses in the specialization will be better prepared.

By Zsuzsanna Z

Apr 30, 2019

You have to be very dedicated and have high frustration tolerance if you are actually a beginner in programming. This course expects you to complete the Codecademy Python Course in advance (which will take you several weeks) but it still won´t be enough to really keep up with the bioinformatics concepts that are introduced. Also, the explanations in the course itself are very, very rudimental, although the optional videos do a better job here.

All in all, I am glad I had the possibility for learning something new and I fought myself through the course but please don´t believe that it´s suitable for beginners.

By Lawrence L

Apr 28, 2019

Good Intro to Python for Bioinformatics.

By Crisamei M

Apr 18, 2019

Fun and easy to follow course! And the instructor is not boring :D

By Irina U

Mar 14, 2019

it was challenging, but interesting with very exciting code challenges! however, i really wish the theory was explained in a more visual manner. i believe that would increase the understanding of the concepts described there, because as for me, i don't yet feel confident with the theoretical basics of the course. though i got much more confident with python programming - practical part was much easier for me.

anyway, i'm VERY GRATEFUL to the creators of the course for providing me with this awesome opportunity to familiarize myself with Bioinformatics.

By María A B

Feb 17, 2019

I have learnt a lot, but sometimes I missed some help or feedback.

By Daniel H

Feb 12, 2019

A very interesting course, but perhaps not necessarily for "begginer" programmers.

By Achala S K

Feb 08, 2019

it was enjoyable

By Sophie A

Feb 07, 2019

Not at all for beginners. A coding background is necessary to make any sense of the material.

By Shivam S

Feb 01, 2019

Great introduction to the field of bioinformatics.

By Teng W

Jan 19, 2019

课程内容深入浅出,语言趣味横生,我非常喜欢这门课程,非常喜欢Pavel Pevzener. 掌握适当python基础的童鞋学习起来会比较顺利,否则会感到吃力。

By Matchy L

Jan 13, 2019

The course provides some meaningful questions in biological context (rather than abstact excercises in some textbooks) for you to solve. It is really fulfilling when you put what you learnt into use and made improvements on your code to solve the questions better. The exercises are actually challenging for programming beginners. But if you persist, upon completion of this course you will find youself equipped with some solid knowledge on bioinformatics, which will definitely benefit your future career.

By Simon C

Jan 05, 2019

I came to this course with a decent computer science background (some undergrad courses) and basically no biology knowledge (grade 10 general science twenty-some years ago). I found this course to be really easy and pretty fun. I'm still quite confused about the biology concepts, but that didn't make it hard to write the code or implement the algorithms. I'm definitely continuing with the following courses. I only watched the first of the videos. It was ok, but I found the interactive text easier better. The only reason I'd watch the videos is to learn the pronunciation of the biology terms, but the prof has a really heavy accent.

By Igor O

Dec 29, 2018

Great course.

By Ahmad A

Dec 01, 2018

Amazing course, I wish every course would be of this level

By Pinakhina D V

Nov 20, 2018

I loved the course so much! I have never programmed before and I've always been afraid of mathematics, but this course happened to be so exciting! I liked, how difficult (for me, at least) concepts are explained step-by step. I am sincerely grateful to the authors of the course.

By María J F P

Nov 14, 2018

This is definitely NOT a beginners course. Very interesting and useful, though.