Question: How To Become Employable In Bioinformatics Field?
gravatar for Evgeny
8.1 years ago by
Melbourne, Australia
Evgeny100 wrote:

I'm a software developer, I'm currently studying for the Bachelor of Science - Biotechnology (by means of distance education), about halfway now. As an ideal outcome, I would search for an opportunity to combine my knowledge in IT with my interest in Biology/Medicine. Bioinformatics looks like an interesting opportunity, but my knowledge of the field is still very limited.

My question is: how would I make myself employable in the field, what would give me the edge?

For example, in Software development the answers may include, depending on who you ask: have a side project (application) that actually does something useful, contribute to open source, keep a blog, attend user group meetings, have a current certification. So, essentially, what are the best things I could do with my spare time in the next year or so to become more valuable as a potential Bioinformatician?

job • 6.5k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 7.9 years ago by Davy360 • written 8.1 years ago by Evgeny100
gravatar for Gentle Yang
8.1 years ago by
Gentle Yang190
Gentle Yang190 wrote:

I was in your trouble !!!

2003-2007 This is my 4 years university life and the major is "Information & Computing Science". But I like both Math and Biology ,so I read many books about these in my school library,and like you at last I chose Bioinformatics as my dream !

So what's next ? I learn Math and Computer Software mainly, especially computing math and basic computer knowledge, and also C, Java , Data Structure, algorithm; while I learn Bioinformatics by myself - I read David W. Mount's [?] and more other books .

2007 I enter BGI - a Chinese famous Bioinformatics Institute - now the world biggest sequencing center . I did genome database application development at first, and than did data visualization and NGS genome project's analysis like YH1, Cucumber, Panda .

These facts suggest that if you like something and make sure you do, and then fix your dream , just do it - know more about it, make a plan,and do it with your confidence and intelligence .

BTW , Bioinformatics is a good choice !

ADD COMMENTlink written 8.1 years ago by Gentle Yang190

You can check out the questions about recommended books (just search for "books), there are many of them at BioStar.

ADD REPLYlink written 8.1 years ago by Chris Evelo10.0k

So would you recommend David W. Mount's book? I'm reading "Understanding Bioinformatics" by Zvelebil & Baum now, it had good reviews.

ADD REPLYlink written 8.1 years ago by Evgeny100

I meant I started from Daivd's book,and you can choose anyone you like :) The more you read, the more you know !

And Chris Evelo's recommendation is very good !

ADD REPLYlink written 8.1 years ago by Gentle Yang190
gravatar for Pasta
8.1 years ago by
Pasta1.3k wrote:

The first thing to do is to understand biology and genetics, make sure you understand the basics. If I were you, I would learn about new fancy technologies such as Next-Generation Sequencing and read a few articles about genome assembly, RNA-seq, ChIP-Seq, etc... using this technology. You could also learn Perl, I know that this programming language is not popular amongst computer scientists but is very popular in bioinformatics.

All you need after is motivation. I worked with a computer scientist who did not know a thing about life sciences. Because he was motivated and skilled we did a really good team. This guy guy brought some "hardcore" computing skills most bioinformaticians do not have, which helps when dealing with complex programming questions.

ADD COMMENTlink written 8.1 years ago by Pasta1.3k

Thanks for some keywords. I started on Perl already little by little, looked at "Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics" but decided to start with the "Llama book". My experience is (unfortunately?) with Microsoft tools mostly.

ADD REPLYlink written 8.1 years ago by Evgeny100

there are actually quite a number of bioinformatics developers working in .NET, but they are mostly in industry

ADD REPLYlink written 8.1 years ago by Jeremy Leipzig18k

I prefer python, and also advise you to try it :) . Python is easy to learn, use and modify while Perl is good.

ADD REPLYlink written 7.8 years ago by Gentle Yang190
gravatar for Davy
8.1 years ago by
United States
Davy360 wrote:

I am actually approaching your problem from the opposite direction. My primary degree, and masters are both in molecular biology and molecular medicine. Currently I am doing a Ph.D. in genetics. Which does involve a lot of computer work, but that is mostly using online databases and things like that. I have some programming experience, as I studied computer science for several years in college but did not finish with a qualification in it. I really like statistics and math, and therefore, I am very active with the R statistical programming language. I think to become employable you need to demonstrate more than anything else, you have a practical understanding of the challenges required of bioinformaticians, which 90% of time are programmatic in nature. If you understand the biology behind these questions I don't think that you would have much trouble getting employed as a bioinfromaticican. I on the other hand think that I will have more difficulty, as I think the general consensus is, it is harder to teach a biologist how to program than it is to teach a programmer how to think within a biological framework. Perl and R seem to be the main languages of choice for bioinformatics, but Python is on the rise as well. There packages for all these languages: BioPerl, Bioconductor and GenABEL for R, and although it's in its infancy, BioPython. Check out their websites for more info on what they are used for. Experience with these packages will definitely give you an edge, and even better, contributing to their content, and being an active member of their communities, would be a massive advantage.

ADD COMMENTlink written 8.1 years ago by Davy360
Please log in to add an answer.


Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy.
Powered by Biostar version 2.3.0
Traffic: 788 users visited in the last hour