bioinformatics, future of

Sarah Boomer sarai at u.washington.edu
Wed Nov 20 00:35:43 EST 1996


Dear Kim and group,
	I agree with Kim that bioinformatics and general incorporation of
computer modelling in science is a very powerful and marketable skill
right now (though I suspect it is being filled to the gills like every
other Hot thing!).  My partner does phylogenetics and has, indeed, been
schmoozed by various national genome groups as well as done a fair bit of
consulting for local industry in terms of setting up, demonstrating, and
doing phylogenetic programs.  His programming skills are old, though, and
he is more a whiz at troubleshooting and "putting up" with the computer. 
After a lot of talking with industry and one really nice offer, though, he
decided to turn down industry because he was counseled against pursuing a
DNA mining project.  It was felt that in five years, DNA mining was going
to be a pretty worthless skill for a post-doc type person to have (sort of
like molecular biology for me right now!) because everyone would be doing
it.  Rather, he was advised to pursue a more molecular modelling/protein
structure route because that was the way things would be moving.  He was a
little late in deciding this, though, and is thus doing a one year
post-doc in HIV evolution while he writes grants for some local modellers. 

	Anyway - I would be curious what you or other out there think of
the future of bioinformatics. 

	I would also be curious to ask you and others about the breakdown
of programming bioinformaticists vs scientists who are program
technicians/users.  John, my partner, certainly was a regular computerhead
in highschool and early college, having learned all the BASICS and Fortran
(whatever it is) but isn't savvy with the newer things like C++ or JAVA. 
He did teach himself HTML and taught me this programming skill.  As a
potential educator (with no prior computer programming skills), I was
amazed how easy HTML was and how marketable that skill is too.  I
daresay that I've had some interviews with Microsoft but they haven't gone
anywhere desireable (that I had the interviews was something else!).  John
has encouraged me to take a C++ nightclass while I am taking some
education classes and I'm taking him up on it.  I'd be curious what you
thought of that.

	Anyway - I need to put in a plug for learning web skills;  having
that on your resume is increasingly desireable and so easy to learn.  I
would just like to hear from others about their impressions of the
advantages of knowing programming skills vs broad knowledge of program
operation. Also - I'd be curious to hear from people who have gone into
bioinformatics from science how they conveyed their skills on a resume.  I
must confess that I wrote a very bold resume for John that went a long
way with genome groups but I felt really blind doing it.  I've had general
questions about how to properly convey these skills in my own resume and
CV (is it proper to write skills;  how do you say you taught yourself or
communicate your great prowess with computers without having had a formal
class;  it seems that a lot of "jobs" want proof not general things).

	Well - I'm rambling.  Congrat's on your small business - I hope it
pays off.  I've been bugging John to be bold and start his own
phylogenetics consulting firm!  

	Sarah

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sarah Boomer				email:  sarai at u.washington.edu		
Dept. of Microbiology			work phone:  543-3376
Box 357242				work FAX:  543-3376
University of Washington		
Seattle, WA  98195	

personal homepage:  
http://weber.u.washington.edu/~sarai/GOBOOMSINK/GOBOOMSINK.html
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