4 months ago by
I will play Devils Advocate and say that it will be difficult if you aren’t actively researching in an area of your own.
Many tools are written because that person happens to bump up against a challenge that hasn’t been satisfactorily solved, in the pursuit of some greater project/task.
The key, therefore, is going to be finding problems that people need solving, and that won’t be so easy from the outside looking in.
2 options I can see however might be:
Work your way around github and the like, and apply some ‘proper’ software engineering to existing tools. There are plenty of tools written by people like me (biologist turned programmer, amateur bioinformatician etc). The tools might be perfectly functional, but could maybe benefit from someone with a taught understanding of algorithms, data structures, dev best practices etc. Might be as simple helping set up continuous integration, building tests and making the software more robust etc (Lord knows most bioinformatics tools need that).
The same thing that others suggested: get in touch with PIs and research groups that you have an interest in and become something of a ‘gun for hire’ (though whether your time will be paid for is another matter entirely). I say this because most universities are very averse to the freelancer model. If you simple want to keep tow in the bioinformatics waters for your own satisfaction and not for monetary gain, this shouldn’t be an issue, as PIs are unlikely to ever shy away from free expert advice in an area like this.