As a person coming from a computational background, I have been through formal training in computer science branches e.g. software, algorithm, statistics, etc. These skills are very useful in computational biology and put you on a big advantage by giving you a diverse set of tools to approach different biological questions. However, I think it is also a necessity to develop a core knowledge of the underlying biology in order to fully appreciate the science you do; to ask relevant questions and pick the relevant computational technique to solve it.
Here, I gathered a list of topics that I believe are the core of the biology that any biologist, including computational biologists for our matter, could benefit from learning about them. Of course, Learning is a life-long process and no one can imagine mastering all of these topics totally or even near that, but I try to learn about them more whenever I find some time. There are very nice textbooks or online courses that you could take for free, so the limit is your imagination and time 🙂
The main topics which are nice for a person with a computational background to touch on or know about are included: Chemistry (General, Organic, and Biochemistry, for the most part), Physics (General and Biophysics), Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Anatomy and Physiology, Immunology and Microbiology, a little bit of Pathology, Histology and Pharmacology concepts.
Granted, I don’t mean anyone is supposed to know everything about any of these topics or even anything close to it. What I mean is that a computational biologist should not feel alienated to these topics or have a non-of-my-business attitude towards them 🙂