Just some background...
Over the past school year (my sophomore year) I worked part-time as a bioinformatician, at least that was the job title, at the university's life science institute. In reality, I was just a programmer, translating requirements from the PI (I guess that's the right word) into tools he'd find useful. By the end of the year we kind of had a cool toolchain, along with one bigger project that involved me implementing a unique approach to sequence assembly. I'll be returning to this job once the school year rolls back around (could have worked there during summer but...see below).
During this time, I don't feel like I got a very strong background in the biological aspects of what I was doing. The work came in spurts, so the stuff I'd learned from the last project I'd usually forgotten by the time the next idea rolled around. In addition, I worked a lot with the PI to turn his high-level problems into problems that could be solved programmatically, so I wasn't really required to learn the bio aspects of the problems that much. Effectively, I just saw everything as fancy parsing. A lot of the bio stuff I was exposed to went way over my head, and while I was encouraged to learn more about the bio aspects of it ("there's a big future in bioinformatics!") I never did that much besides watching the KhanAcademy bio videos, since I was more interested in my side projects outside work and school.
Currently, I'm interning at a gigantonormous tech company, and don't like it very much. It's considered a "dream internship", but honestly the work I do doesn't provide nearly the same sense of fulfillment as knowing that the biologists used some of my tools to make new discoveries.
With that out of the way, here's my question...
I want to get more serious about bioinformatics. I'm largely a learn by doing kind of person, though I enjoy reading textbooks and papers as much as the next guy (I just tend to forget it if I don't apply it). I know I need a stronger background in biology, probably wetlab stuff (at least an understanding of what's going on), and particularly statistics. The latter is part of the core curriculum, but I'm largely a self-learning kind of person and don't really like the classroom environment.
So, what resources do you recommend I look at to gain a better understanding of these topics, appropriate to the scope of problems I'm likely to deal with? I've seen a ton of recommendations, but have no idea where to start. In addition, what kind of opportunities are there in terms of side projects? What would you like to see? I know web-based stuff has been pushed as the next big thing, but again I don't feel that I have enough background knowledge to figure out what biologists or bioinformaticians would need in a web interface so pretty dry on decent ideas in that area. There's also open source stuff.
If more information is required, let me know. Thanks.