Programming in biomedical engineering (explained)

Does biomedical engineering involve programming or not?

In this post, we’re going to respond to this question and mention the principal biomedical engineering fields that require programming and those that don’t.

So keep reading to know more details about the subject.

Does biomedical engineering involve programming?

Biomedical engineering involves a lot of domains that need programming, especially for medical devices. As a result, these machines have embedded systems requiring good skills in programming languages such as C, C++, and python.

Biomedical engineering has 3 principal subfields or specialties:

  • Biomechanics
  • Tissue engineering
  • Bio Insturmetations

The heaviest field in programming is bio instrumentation. Biomedical engineers design and program machines, robots, and industrial limbs for incapacitated people, as you can see in the image below.

in addition, biomedical engineers can design a lot of medical devices like:

  • artificial arm
  • defibrillator to reanimate the heart
  • heart monitor

Biomedical engineering is not also comprise programming. It got all engineering aspects or specialties like:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electricla engineering
  • material engineering
  • biology comptuer sicence

These aspects join together to create biomedical equipment that patience use today. So if you aren’t interested in programming, you could take other specialties like tissue and biomechanics engineering that don’t involve coding.

1 – C

The first language that biomedical engineers learn is the c language is the base of biomedical engineering programming. Almost all the biomedical machines you could find in the market use the C or C++ language.

C is a low-level language that is so effective for biomedical engineering machines. Meaning is a language that computers understand and analyze fastly than other high-level languages like java or python. That has some sub-programming layers.

biomedical engineers use C to program electronic devices for different industries, such:

  • defibrillator
  • Ultrasound scanners.
  • Scalpels.
  • Patient monitors.
  • Surgical tables.
  • Wheelchairs and hospital beds.

if you think about becoming a biomedical engineer, especially minoring in bio instrumentations, the first language you should learn is C. if you take a C language course, you should follow the following aspects:

  • loops
  • functions
  • statements
  • pointer
  • addresses
  • data structures etc

Learning the C language is not complicated and doesn’t require taking pad courses. All you can do is watch and follow the youtube free tutorials that cover everything you need to know about the c language.

2 – C++

C++ is the second language that follows C, it is completely based on C, but it got some new features like objected-oriented technology. This feature allows programmers to write a code more professionally and reduce a lot of space and effort.

Biomedical engineers today use this language to code or program all electronics and sophisticated medical tools, which we mentioned in the previous paraph of the c language.

So C++ is like a new and better version of c language. It is also a principal language used to program robots like drones and industrial arms. If you learn C++, you can earn any other language easily.

All programming languages that developers use today some compiling softwares. But C and C++ use the basic instructions that a computer understands and doesn’t need a lot of complaining software which significantly reduces a run time. which is so important in the biomedical engineering industry.

The most famous board that biomedical engineers beginners use and even professionals who use to prototype are Arduino and raspberry, which use C and C++ and python.

3 – python

Python is the most famous programming language in the biomedical engineering industry. It is more famous even than C and C++. Because it got a huge community and libraries that anyone can use to build sophisticated projects.

Regarding that, C++ is more efficient or exactly fast in execution than python. But what makes python famous is its simplicity. In other words, it is the easiest language to learn.

This is what makes many people use it instead of C and C++, but in some cases, biomedical engineers get forced to use C and C++.

The most famous board after Arduino is called raspberry pi. It is principally a tiny comptuer that uses python language and allows users to do some insane projects with just a $50 board.

Biomedical engineers make a lot of prototypes and tests. For example, they make prosthetics 3d printed arms programmed by a raspberry pi as you will see in the video below.

5 – Matlab

Matlab is a programming language that helps biomedical engineers to make complex math calculations. In other words, it is a heavy math program. It beats a lot on graphs and analyzes them.

All mathematics tests and applications that biomedical engineers use in their work are based on Matlab. For instance, biomedical engineers use Matlab to make complex kinematics movements of an arm and pretend it.

You can watch this explanation video about Matlab.

6 – LabVIEW

LabVIEW is a programming language based on diagrams and images. It is a visual program. It is mainly used to control industrial machines or build diagrams for specific machines.

In biomedical engineering, LabVIEW is used to run medical devices providing a friendly front-end screen. It is like building an application or software where people should click icons to run a machine.

In addition, LabVIEW allows the users to see all the parameters and determine the machine’s state in a colorful interface. It is also used to manage patient data, as you will see in this video.


if you don’t like programming, don’t worry about biomedical engineering, So you can go into other fields such:

  • biomechanics focuses on body movements and mechanics
  • tissue engineering focuses on biology like how to 3d print organs also includes stem cell research

On the other hand, if you like programming, we recommend following bio instrumentation, which includes a lot of programming. In other words, you could become a programmer for specific medical machines or robots.

if you love mechanical engineering and you are interested in this biomedical industry, you can read this useful article below:

Mechanical engineering in the medical field (explained)


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.