Bioinformatics Zen

The Ph in a Bioinformatics PhD

// Tue August 28 2007

In a month, I start the third and final year of my PhD. Usually it's around this time that students begin thinking about what's gone before and contemplate the future, and I'm never one to buck a trend.

I did a master's degree in bioinformatics, where before I had never used a computer for anything other than email and browsing. On completion, I was proficient in Java, R, MySQL, and Linux, all the hard skills I need as a bioinformatician. The informatics in bioinformatics, if you like. I look back on my masters in a positive light, hard work, but I made some good friends, learnt a great deal, and left with high expectations, certain of the career I've chosen.

I started my PhD, straight after my masters. My hard skills may have improved slightly, I've become more proficient in R, but what I have learnt more, are the soft skills that a bioinformatician needs. Less tangible than command line piping, but equally as important, these include: dealing with failure, being an independent researcher, dealing with failure, self-discipline, dealing with failure, what qualifies as publishable data, and dealing with failure.

So as I plan whether to stay in science, or look outside the field (Anyone at Google reading this?), here are the three main thoughts, inspired by indexed, that are occupying my mind, for your consideration.

The meaning of hard work

Two things that are important

I've been two of these