[Baypiggies] Bioinformatics Python Programmer

Glen Jarvis glen at glenjarvis.com
Wed Oct 7 01:22:13 CEST 2009

On Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 2:27 PM, Benjamin Sergeant <bsergean at gmail.com>wrote:

> Only Glen can answer that. Out of curiosity, Glen, did you have a
> degree in biology / or good grasp of biology before starting / finding
> this job ?
> - Benjamin

My degree was Computer Science, but I did take both graduate and
undergraduate courses in Bioinformatics (although these courses counted for
my undergraduate degree). I'm, by far, not an expert. I'm just the
'programmer' here.

Please realize that these questions are 101 type of questions, and are not
generally meant to be difficult. Knowing the answers to these questions, I
still struggle, a *lot*, when I'm given an assignment. Assignments aren't
 "spec'ed" in any computer science or industry terms whatsoever -- and, I
need to fully understand the biological needs to be able to interpret and
give what they want.

The quiz I gave gives one a basic understanding of what someone, who is just
starting out, should probably know before they start -- or they'll probably
feel completely overwhelmed and lost. It's already an overwhelming
environment. One doesn't have to understand everything 100%. But, if they
scratched their head in a majority of the questions that I asked, they will
most probably feel additionally overwhelmed and ask themselves "why am I
doing this again?"... This is not exactly the easiest environment to work in
-- some of it is sink or swim.. produce or go...

But, again, if you're an excellent programmer and are up for the challenge,
I think you should go for it. What's the worst than can happen? You spend a
little time working for something, only to find out that you didn't get the
job? That's not horrible -- especially if you have the time. And, who knows,
you may get it...


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