I'll continue with the remaining parts of my career series shortly, but for the time being, I want to bring your attention to a really good post on doing bioinformatics as a software professional, and some commentary on the question that never seems to go away: "do biologists need to be able to program?"
Thanks to GenomeWeb.
In this, and the next post in this series, I want to answer some of the questions that came up in the comments.
One of the commenters on part II wrote that:
For most academic biology groups, however, being a bioinformatics specialist is a dead end job! People in these roles may or may not be PhDs, but they end up in fouth author hell - always the fourth author on hundreds of papers - ... Read more
I don't usually blog about work for wide variety of reasons. But, last week, since I wanted to write about bioinformatics software companies, I broke with tradition and wrote about Geospiza as an example.
Naturally, I got some feedback about this. Some people liked it, but one of the most opinionated people said that I had given the software engineering and IT side short shrift and that I should write about that side a bit more. ... Read more
What do people do in bioinformatics software companies?
In our old conference room, in our last office, we used to have this little card on a stand, entitled "Sun's universe of stars." Over the years, we watched several of those stars blink out, one by one. The card disappeared, too. Maybe we got tired of marking off the companies as they went, maybe we just lost the card when we moved to our present office. No matter. Over time, the bioinformatics universe got a little smaller and colder each time another company disappeared from ... Read more
If you missed reading some of the comments on yesterday's post, I highly recommend that you go back and catch up.
I especially want you all to pay close attention to the comments from Deepak and Keith Robison. Like me, they work in industry and not in an ivory tower. Unlike me, they actually work in the biotech industry, while I work with people who slave away building the picks and shovels (picture a Greta Garbo sigh, for dramatic effect ... Read more
I had an enlightening experience recently, after I wrote some bioinformatics activities, under contract, for a community college. At the end of the project, the person at the college asked me if the activities were anything like the things that a "bioinformatics technician" would do on the job.
Well no, I said, and added that I'd never heard of a bioinformatics technician before and I really didn't know what they would do. I thought that the people most likely to use our activities on-the-job would be research ... Read more
What can students do with a science degree once they've finished college? Some answers can be found at the "Life Sciences Central web site. Created by the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, this is a wonderful resource for anyone who's considering biotechnology for a potential career.
My favorite part of the site is the series of short video interviews from people in the biotech industry, describing what they do on the job and how they got there.
I'm tempted to joke and say "Recruit hotter guys?" but that would be just as wrong as Razib's charming notion of what cute women read for fun or our uncertain physicist's misconception that there's nothing that he can do to improve the situation for female students at his small college. Of course our physicist friend has tenure, now, so perhaps he'll study up on ... Read more
Have you ever wondered how people actually go about sequencing a genome?
If they're sequencing a chicken genome, do they raise chickens in the lab and get DNA from the eggs? Does the DNA sequence come out in one piece? Why is there so much talk about computers? What are Phred, Phrap, and Consed? What is the Golden Path?
Wonder no more!
You too, can take a virtual tour of the Washington University Genome Center.
I found this really excellent series of short videos that ... Read more