Forum: Thoughts regarding career paths?
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gravatar for sean.senko
7 weeks ago by
sean.senko0
sean.senko0 wrote:

Hi, I'm new here. As my user name likely indicates, my name is Sean Senko, and I am currently at a crossroads so the speak in my career. I completed my Master of Science in Data Analytics in October of 2020, and for various reasons I have not been doing well with the post-graduation job search. One of my long-time correspondents who is also on this site said that this is an adequate starting point in Bioinformatics.

However, I understand that a PhD is often helpful in this field, and I am not sure I want to spend more time in academia at this point. Additionally, with the job searches I have done, it seems some focus on biology (which I do not have explicitly in any of my four higher educational degrees) is often helpful. With that said, it seems that in some cases a Master of Science in a relevant field is perfectly adequate for an entry-level position.

But this begs the question: what is most relevant regarding bioinformatics? Is it formal training in biology and/or the other sciences, or is it more about the analysis? Despite my formal university-level education in biology being laughably low (it was limited to a biology class for NON-SCIENCE majors, though I studied biology heavily before college), I do have the natural curiosity of a scientist. My terminal (unless I go on to get a PhD, which is possible) degree is the Master of Science in Data Analytics I previously mentioned.

I have also looked specifically into the domestic statistics (American only) regarding job openings in bioinformatics, and compared with operations research analysts (a similar job I type I have considered), it's a difference of 3,600 openings over the next eight years for the former and 9,600 openings over the next eight years for the latter. But, the latter job also tends to have a Bachelor's degree with 2-5 years of experience as the base requirements.

So I am curious... Am I right in my assumption that I can potentially make it into the field of bioinformatics with a background in statistics and mathematics, or would I need an extensive biology background as well?

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ADD COMMENTlink modified 7 weeks ago by zx87549.9k • written 7 weeks ago by sean.senko0

Am I right in my assumption that I can potentially make it into the field of bioinformatics with a background in statistics and mathematics, or would I need an extensive biology background as well?

@Jean-Karim has already addressed your main query. It is surprising that you have not been able to find an analytics job. Is your training more in mathematics than statistics? Having more statistics is going to be useful in area of biomedical/biological data analysis. I see 9K+ job openings for statistical analyst in the US on Indeed, so you should definitely be able to find something.

ADD REPLYlink modified 7 weeks ago • written 7 weeks ago by GenoMax96k
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gravatar for Jean-Karim Heriche
7 weeks ago by
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
Jean-Karim Heriche24k wrote:

Am I right in my assumption that I can potentially make it into the field of bioinformatics with a background in statistics and mathematics,

Yes

would I need an extensive biology background as well

No

That's for the TL;DR. In practice, as usual, the answer is it depends, most notably on the specifics of the job and of the environment (e.g. whether you'll be able to learn the bits of biology needed as you work). Bioinformatics jobs cover a wide range of activities and environments so you need to think about what kind of things you would like to be doing (e.g. more data analysis vs more software development) and where you would want to be career-wise in 5-10 years.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 7 weeks ago • written 7 weeks ago by Jean-Karim Heriche24k
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