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What is a Bioinformatician?

Joseph A White whitejo at pilot.msu.edu
Sun Mar 16 23:22:35 EST 1997


William Bains' comments are quite true.  I consider myself the type of
person SmithKline is looking for--i.e. a molecular biologist with extensive
experience as a user of computers for analysis of DNA sequence and other
perposes.  I have applied with SK-B several times, but have failed to get
past their human resources department.  Why? You might ask.  Well, I know
they scan the resumes they receive for keyword matches--an ineffiecient way
to identify someone who doesn't quite fit into one catagory or another.  So, as
Mr. Bains has pointed out, the interdisciplinary people are at a disadvantage
in the market.

Joe White
> I agree with this rather pessimistic view. At the end of one meeting on
> bioinformatics, when several senior industry figures (especially from
> Smithkline Beecham)had said how they needed multidisciplinary
> bioinformaticians, how they were the life blood of the company, I asked
> whether they would actually hire someone who did not fall into a
> pre-defined emplyment box. Rather to their own embarassment, they all said
> that, no, their companies would not. They just did not have the mechanisms
> for identifying someone who was good at an ill-defined subject (i.e. one
> that did not fit into the form on an HR person's desk), nor the mechanisms
> for evaluating, using and promoting (or firing) them once they had got
> them. So, while evryone talks about multidisciplinary work, the big
> companies cannot hire people to do it.
> That leaves academics to dabble, and a few biotech. companies big enough
> to afford good bioinformatics but small enough to be flexible. Not great
> future, really.
> --
> William Bains

Joseph White

e-mail:     whitejo at pilot.msu.edu
snailmail:  301 Biochemistry
            Michigan State University
            East Lansing, MI  48824
phone:      (517)355-1897
fax:        (517)353-9334

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