Question: Master In Bioinformatics In Progress, Next Step?
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gravatar for poweroscar
5.5 years ago by
poweroscar10
poweroscar10 wrote:

Hi,

I have a B.S. in Molecular and cell biology, and a Specialization in Programming in Computing. Right now I'm in process of finishing a Master in Bioinformatics.

I already read both articles titled "Top N reasons To (and NOT to) get a PhD in Bioinformatics".

Top N Reasons to do a PhD in bioinformatics

Top N Reasons NOT to do a PhD in bioinformatics

Honest speaking, I want to go to industry rather than academics, for my interest and for the money. I haven't touch math for about 10 years, so I am not at all good in math modeling and coming up with new algorithm. I'm one of those you called "applied Bioinformatician", using what people developed and improve/tweak them for research.I don't mind the wet lab in biology part, as I like doing them during the Bachelor time, and I'm comfortable doing computer programming, just don't know how good I am. I should also mention that I know C++, Perl, R, and a bit of Java and website programming (html, xml, etc.)

I am thinking about getting a PhD in molecular biology or cancer biology related, is that a good option?

Or should I get a PhD in bioinformatics?

Or even, just jump right into the bioindustry, and see if I need the PhD? (although I know PhD WILL usually get me a better salary)

Thanks in advance!

bioinformatics phd • 2.8k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 5.5 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 80k • written 5.5 years ago by poweroscar10
3

I don't think that reasons Not to do a PhD in bioinformatics blog is very realistic.

Many of the people I know who work in bioinformatics do not do algorithm development and many of the packages that are most widely used and are most useful for making biological discoveries (e.g. Bedtools, Trinity) do not have much math or algorithms going on behind the scenes.

You should do a PhD if you want to learn something. I learned to do math and stuff when I did mine but not because I was a genius from a young age. I just found a good teacher. There are other people like this too. One of the best scientific programmer I know spent her youth annoying the Navy until they asked her to leave. It's not an exclusive club and you shouldn't be intimidated to try it.

Anyway, when you consider that you will be losing 5 years of salary plus more if you do a post doc it is highly unlikely to be financially beneficial to get a PhD. If you go onto GlassCeiling you can look at some of the large companies/institutes that hire computational biologists and programmers. The salaries of people WITHOUT PhDs are often higher than those with.

Also,you can do some bioinformatics without being in a PhD program specifically for bioinformatics. My PhD is in Biology and in smaller labs you often do both wet lab and bioinformatics, though I'm not sure the student-of-all master-of-none approach is really what you want from a PhD.

Edit: that should say GlassDoor.com

ADD REPLYlink modified 5.5 years ago • written 5.5 years ago by Michele Busby2.0k

Thanks for the input. I just think that even though I know both biology and knows how to programming, like 65% biology to 35% programming, I should be at least good in one aspect. And I choose biology over programming because of my bachelor degree, and the fact that there are tons of people can do programming than I do. So the route of getting PhD in Molecular biology is an option? With Master in bioinformatics, and PhD in say cell biology or cancer biology, is that a good combination? or should it be just Bioinformatics Master + PhD all the way? Thanks

ADD REPLYlink written 5.5 years ago by poweroscar10

I also don't think the reasons stated Not to do a PhD in bioinformatics blog is very realistic. Although many people think developing algorithm and programmes is the main aspect of bioinformatics. Other aspect is how to use bioinformatics tools and software in intelligent way to solve biological problem. In my view, still we can do PhD in bioinformatics, if you have own thinking to solve the problem by using tools and software. If everybody develope algorithm or tools, then who needs to solve the biological problem by using these tools?

ADD REPLYlink modified 5.5 years ago • written 5.5 years ago by jackuser1979860
1

what do you enjoy working on?

ADD REPLYlink written 5.5 years ago by brentp23k

Like I said in my post, I like doing wet lab, cause that was like "the root" for me. But at the same time, I find coding interesting and enjoy doing it. I don't really mind either standing in front of a hood pipetting and check cell conditions or looking at computer screen and figure out why the for loop goes indefinite. But, while I was a intern in a small research institute, seeing my boss writing proposals for grants and stuff looks a bit like a pain in the neck...

ADD REPLYlink written 5.5 years ago by poweroscar10
2
gravatar for Istvan Albert
5.5 years ago by
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 80k
University Park, USA
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 80k wrote:

Honest speaking, I want to go to industry rather than academics, for my interest and for the money.

Well you have the answer right there.

although I know PhD WILL usually get me a better salary

I would say that going into academy for sole reason that five (or who know how many years later) you would get a better salary in the industry is not a good approach.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.5 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 80k

I agree, but doing a PhD (3 years in the UK) does not harm you. It gives relevant experience and "gets you a better salary in the industry". (Worth mentioning that some PhD-independent projects may be necessary to boost your CV).

ADD REPLYlink written 5.0 years ago by Felix_Sim240
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