Forum:Question about undertaking a Masters in Bioinformatics, with no work experience in the field
Entering edit mode
8.4 years ago
grazalcl • 0

Hi everyone. I'm a recent graduate from an undergraduate B.S. Human Biology/Molecular Biology program. I've applied to and been accepted to a few very good Masters in Bioinformatics programs. I'm excited about this opportunity to learn more about Bioinformatics and gain more experience before starting the job hunt (!), but the thing is that I don't have any practical experience in the field of Bioinformatics. Is it smart to start with my Masters degree in this field even though I don't have work experience with it?

A caveat: I worked with research during my undergrad and have had an internship working with Epic technology systems at a hospital where I studied, but just no experience with Bioinformatics per se.

My worry is that employers will be off put if I have a masters degree in the field but no work experience. The reason I would take the opportunity is because there's no other way I can think of to get into the Bioinf. field.

Any advice or feedback is appreciated. Peace xx

masters-degree university • 4.0k views
Entering edit mode
8.4 years ago
Ram 40k

Congratulations on your acceptance. Bioinformatics is a wonderful collection of specialties and you'll do great once you identify where your interests lie.

Most institutes that offer Masters in Bioinformatics will let you pick a track, based on your background. Mine, for example, had a track for biologists learning bioinformatics (more programming courses), CS guys learning bioinformatics (more fundamental biology courses) and advanced bioinformatics electives for those familiar with bioinformatics. I am sure even if such boxed alternatives are not available, you can pick courses a la carte that will help you gain expertise.

Because you don't have work experience, do not opt for a non thesis Masters. Ensure you put in a lot of effort in a thesis, spend at least 3 semesters on it. Work in a research lab and on actual experiments/real data with an experienced bioinformatician. Contribute to open source projects and network with fellow bioinformatics folks and bioinformatics influencers on Twitter. Read blog posts by bioinformatics people and read a bunch of tool papers from people like Heng Li, Titus Brown and Dan Zerbino.

If you're on a Mac, use the Terminal extensively, even for navigating folders, copy-pasting and opening media files. If you're on Windows, dual boot with Ubuntu and use it for everything including Netflix. Live and breathe Linux. Avoid Excel, use Python or R.

It's not tough to become a bioinformatician without prior experience in the field. The only important takeaway is, make as many mistakes as it takes, just don't make them twice.

I think I lost my way somewhere in the middle of my writing. It's a wonderful field. Enjoy your stay!

Entering edit mode
8.4 years ago
venu 7.1k

I've completed my bachelors in Pharmacy. Now I'm pursuing masters in this filed. I'm sure this sudden turn will definitely amaze you, as for me. As @Ram said "Live and breathe Linux & make as many mistakes as it takes, just don't make them twice". It starts in a terminal. I didn't even see any OS other than Windows, now linux is my fav. I've no prior experience of programming, now I've a github page (Mentioning this only to convey I too didn't have any prior experience). Learning is Fun :)

$my_past = 'I love to sleep';
$my_present = $my_past =~ s/sleep/code/;
print $my_present,"\n";

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