Question: How relevant, valuable, and important is Information Visualization nowadays in Bioinformatics?
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3.0 years ago by
'260 wrote:

I find Information Visualization extremely interesting, and it was through a PhD-level course I took during my Master's studies that I came to realize how many terrible plots any scientific journal/article contains on a regular basis. I can clearly see that there is a potential for a vast number of Information Visualization jobs/tasks out there, but how about the actuality of it? Is there in reality any market/demand for that? Is it possible to easily get a job as an Information Visualizer?

I have been even considering doing thesis related to InfoVis, but I am not sure how appreciated that would be later on when finding a job? Won't my degree be overlooked when they see that my thesis was not done in a more strictly Bioinformatics-related topic but was instead done about InfoVis in Bioinformatics?

ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.0 years ago by Carlo Yague4.8k • written 3.0 years ago by '260

In my opinion, visualization is part of bioinformatics. Especially R can do magic on making the right plot or visualization for your experiments.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.0 years ago by Benn7.9k

you may after that develop a carer as Bioinformatic software developer, As I think your study will focus heavily on programming tools and its methodology, and a lot of labs and private sector companies asks for such positions. that will include but not limited to software as you also will need to be able to develop web sites that do the same job

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.0 years ago • written 3.0 years ago by Medhat8.5k
gravatar for seidel
3.0 years ago by
United States
seidel6.8k wrote:

Visualization can directly engage the decision making part of your brain, that is, good visualizations can. So from that perspective, a good visualization is essential. A picture that communicates a concept in data is very valuable, especially to the extent that it helps you think about that data. Consider people trying to visualize cancer/health related data on their genome. Think there's a market for that? Giving the average person a vcf file is not sufficient - yet it can be a bioinformatics feat to produce. Give them an interactive interface full of visualizations, and you make a fortune and help human health at the same time :)

Especially "nowadays" as you say, when we have to deal with massive amounts of data across many dimensions. It's often a visualization that can bridge the gap and give people a handle for thinking about their data. So, one can do plenty of bioinformatics without visualization. But it can also be seen as a limiting component in many ways - thus it is a marketable and effective skill set to have or develop.

We all know people who make terrible, boring, useless plots. Hopefully we also know people that make insightful, informative, transformative plots. It's a skill set that needs attention and development. Anyone who's read Edward Tufte's books can site plenty of examples of plots/visualizations that, had they been better, could have avoided dire consequences.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.0 years ago • written 3.0 years ago by seidel6.8k
gravatar for brentp
3.0 years ago by
Salt Lake City, UT
brentp23k wrote:

If you can visualize data well, that means that you have the programming skills to parse and analyze the data. It means that you have enough of an understanding of the biology of the problem to know what visualizations and manipulations are useful. So, yes, there is a market for that.

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.0 years ago by brentp23k
gravatar for mark.pitman
3.0 years ago by
mark.pitman20 wrote:

InfoVis is one of the primary tools to help you think about your data analysis when you are in the exploratory phase of your analysis. Visualizations become critical when explaining findings to collaborators in both industry and academia.

So, good data visualization skills are a great thing to have as a bioinformatics scientist. Many of the projects that I work on as a bioinformatics consultant are basically just data visualization to make better sense of the analysis. So, it's definitely an in demand skill.

That said, without a good grounding in R or Python (or both) you can't do the rest of the analysis that will let you build good visualizations. So, it's a superb specialization that will be more in demand as analysis workflows get standardized. The underlying programming skills are still necessary though.

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.0 years ago by mark.pitman20
gravatar for Carlo Yague
3.0 years ago by
Carlo Yague4.8k
Carlo Yague4.8k wrote:

In my opinion, visualization is very important and is extremely relevant to the field of bioinformatics and the need to communicate simple, understandable messages from complex data. There are certainly jobs for people in visu, even in other fields than bioinformatics and biology.

But I don't think you need to go for a PhD in visu to be recognized as someone who can make nice plots. For me, visualization is a set of tools that can be applied to many biological (or not) problems and that anyone in science should at least have some notions of them. Even when doing a PhD in a lab where the focus is more on biological questions, you will be able to show off your skills and make nice figures for your (hopefully) future publications.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.0 years ago • written 3.0 years ago by Carlo Yague4.8k
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