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Re^2: How can I count the number and kinds of letters at 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions of 3-letter words in a string?

by aaron_baugher (Deacon)
on Apr 25, 2012 at 17:14 UTC ( #967119=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: How can I count the number and kinds of letters at 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions of 3-letter words in a string?
in thread How can I count the number and kinds of letters at 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions of 3-letter words in a string?

That brings up a question I've been wondering about: Obviously we get a lot of questions about mining bioinformatics data, from people in that business who are trying to become Perl programmers in their spare time. (There's nothing wrong with that, of course, although when I started learning Perl, I started with "hello world," not "mine gigabytes of data for complex character patterns.")

So, with many bioinformatics folks doing it themselves, I figure there must be many more who would rather hire a programmer. I'd further guess that many wouldn't need a full-time person, just someone they can call to put together quick scripts. Is that what the pros here are seeing? Is there a large demand in the industry for Perl programmers? Would it make sense to study up on how the data works, to be able to promote oneself as a "bioinformatics data mining guy"?

Aaron B.
My Woefully Neglected Blog, where I occasionally mention Perl.


Comment on Re^2: How can I count the number and kinds of letters at 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions of 3-letter words in a string?
Re^3: How can I count the number and kinds of letters at 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions of 3-letter words in a string?
by davido (Archbishop) on Apr 25, 2012 at 17:39 UTC

    Perl has always been a language dedicated to getting things done. While many of us (myself included) enjoy the exploration of deeper topics, many who use it are more interested in the result than in the tool used to obtain the result. There's nothing wrong with that. But as you've identified, it might benefit some of those people to hire someone. Nevertheless, one of Perl's strengths is that it is within reach of the "weekend mechanics" of programming. If you need to rebuild a car's transmission you'll probably send that out to a mechanic. But if all you're doing is changing brake pads or even building a go-cart with a lawn mower engine, you might tackle that yourself just because you can. That's one of Perl's strengths; the weekend programmer, non-CS student, sysadmin, biologist, and sales manager can all accomplish a lot with the "baby Perl" subset.

    As I attend Perl Mongers meetings, and as I work with clients, it's easy to forget that not everyone is building big web applications sitting on top of database abstractions and powerful frameworks. Not everyone has a release manager, version control, a QA department, unit testing requirements, and all those other things that are common in "the industry." Perl is used within the programming industry, but it's also heavily used just to get things done.

    Whether there's money to be had seeking contracts in the bioinformatics industry, I have no idea. I've always thought (perhaps wrongly so) that many of our bioinformatics questions are coming from academia, which is not necessarily a pot of gold.


    Dave

      Yes, I think the main reason Perl has been my favorite language for 15 years is that it's so useful for just "getting things done." In fact, that's why I asked my question: I much prefer that kind of "just get the results quickly" scripting over "building big web applications." Unfortunately, it seems harder to make a living from the former, but I'm always watching for that kind of work, while doing the web stuff to pay the bills.

      Aaron B.
      My Woefully Neglected Blog, where I occasionally mention Perl.

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