Forum: Help cry of a M.Sc. student, who is seeking a path in Bioinformatics
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gravatar for ClkElf
9 months ago by
ClkElf20
Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
ClkElf20 wrote:

Hello everyone,

I know most of you guys/gals are well-experienced in bioinformatics field, this is why I thought that taking advice from here is the best thing all I can do now. I am going to finish my M.Sc. in Molecular Biology & Genetics program next month. My thesis is about mutational profiling of unrelated breast cancer patients, colorectal cancer patients. In addition, I have a set of controls, who are older than 65 years without any personal cancer history. Originally, I am not coming from computational background but I am seeking a PhD position in bioinformatics, especially in cancer genomics. However, my lack of programming skill is a great barrier in front of me. Here is my question: How can I improve myself in order to get an acceptence for a PhD position in Bioinformatics? Or should I apply for a master's program of Bioinformatics? Your affirmative responses will be very informative for me. Or should I give up on my dream and continue with other options similar with my undergraduate degree?

Thanks in advance.

PS: I know how to use certain programs in UNIX/Linux and familiar with basic Bash Shell scripting.

phd forum bioinformatics • 361 views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 9 months ago by lakhujanivijay4.3k • written 9 months ago by ClkElf20

There are a number of posts similar to this on the forum, and the advice there will still be true.

Normally I give long-winded responses to questions like this but in this case I think the answers are straight forward (being a little cruel to be kind):

  1. Yes, not being able to program to a reasonable level (reasonable doesn't necessarily mean high) will hold you back (at least to start with).
  2. No, that shouldn't stop you trying to follow this as a career/education path.
  3. The best way to learn how to program is by doing. Look at Project Rosalind for 'toy' examples of tasks to solve, but really you just need to find a task you need to achieve, and then set about applying yourself to making it happen - we all Google stuff relentlessly when we program - everyone is constantly learning.
ADD REPLYlink written 9 months ago by jrj.healey13k

Learning how to program is easy in terms of accessability to teaching material. Just search around in the web, Rosalind, edx, codeacedemy etc. are all valid choices. This is only a question of effort that you put in. Learn a reasonable and somewhat bioinformatics-related language that is no too complicated, such as Python or R (not C/C++). Also, basic Unix command line usage in key.

Should you enroll for a bioinformatics MSc? It means another 1.5-2 years of university without salary, but you'll probably get a solid theoretical background. A second option would be to first learn basic programming and then apply for an internship at a bioinformatics group where you have an experienced supervisor.

In any case, try it out and see if the bioinformatics work satisfies you. You are probably still quiet young so do not miss the opportunity to direct your career in whatever direction you like.

ADD REPLYlink written 9 months ago by ATpoint21k
0
gravatar for lakhujanivijay
9 months ago by
lakhujanivijay4.3k
India
lakhujanivijay4.3k wrote:

Just few points for the "programming" part

I enrolled in Masters-bioinformatics after a BSc. in Biotechnology. I did not had computer/ laptop access earlier to that (this was prior to 2009). So, forget about programming, all I knew was a little bit of MS office and browsing internet. Yes, it was really difficult to start with programming for me. Some of my batch mates were BSc. bionformatics with fair knowledge of programming. But, anyway I started with PERL. Slowly and gradually, working with 'toy' examples, referring internet, making small programs (basic calculator for examples), solving homework assignments and finally a lot of programming exercise during MSc dissertation. The key is to "start" and to "continue". Exercise, don't quit. It's like doing maths. More you exercise, more you learn. There will be obstacles, everybody went through it. But, it's up to your determination.

ADD COMMENTlink written 9 months ago by lakhujanivijay4.3k
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