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Re: Advancing oneself personally and professionally as a programmer (discussion)

by scain (Curate)
on Aug 29, 2001 at 00:53 UTC ( #108593=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Advancing oneself personally and professionally as a programmer (discussion)

dep,

Hopefully, you will get many useful answers to this question, as I get the feeling there are many scientists here who also program in Perl. I am one of those. I am trained as a PhD Chemical Engineer, but I now call myself a bioinformaticist, after working in this field for the past 5 years. My entrance to this field was one of convience: I didn't really want to be a "real" engineer, and I liked coding and had a biology background by virtue of some of my research.

It seems to me that you do have a pretty good picture of our field; the question for you is what to do about it. Since you already have some engineering background, it might not be a bad idea to go back and finish it (especially if you can get someone to pay for it). Once you have a BS, you can further evaluate where you want to go. For instance, there are now graduate programs in Bioinformatics (UPenn and Stanford, for example (I think)). The Stanford program might even be entirely online, at least I believe that they (have|used to have) a bioinformatics "certificate" program that was entirely online.

Whatever you deside to do, it will be much easier to do it with the BS. You are still young (wippersnapper), eh, so taking the time to get a BS shouldn't prove too painful.

Good luck,
Scott


Comment on Re: Advancing oneself personally and professionally as a programmer (discussion)
Re: Re: Advancing oneself personally and professionally as a programmer (discussion)
by dmmiller2k (Chaplain) on Aug 30, 2001 at 21:30 UTC
    Whatever you deside to do, it will be much easier to do it with the BS. You are still young (whippersnapper [sp]), eh, so taking the time to get a BS shouldn't prove too painful.

    At the risk of having this sound like a flame, I don't think it's fair to say that, at least not across the board.

    While it is most certainly true in most other disciplines, the computer field is, I believe, unique in that the luminaries are not necessarily all degreed, let alone in their area of computer expertise (those in the Perl world perhaps more so than in other computer-related areas).

    In my own limited experience (I've only been doing this for eighteen years), the best people I've ever worked with were, if at all, degreed in areas OTHER than computers. Of these, the ones with just an ABD (All But Degree) were no less capable or well respected as technologists.

    Programming: it's in the blood or it isn't. A degree (or lack thereof) makes no difference in this regard.

    dmm

    Just call me the Anti-Gates ...
    
      Not to worry; it doesn't sound like a flame to me. In fact, your observations are (probably) largely correct. Except for the fact that dep has indicated that he is interested in scientific computing. I guarantee that a degree will be a necessity here, or people won't take him seriously. Heck, look a few nodes down where toma indicates that he believes that a PhD is necessary to do anything interesting in bioinformatics. While I disagree with him on that point, it is clearly true that a demonstrated understanding of science will be necessary to do scientific programming, at least the interesting stuff. And the best way to demonstrate scientific understanding is to complete a science or engineering degree.

      As a side note, I do disagree somewhat with toma, as I am the only PhD in my group, and we are all doing interesting things. The others in my group have BS degrees in biology or computer science, sometimes both.

      Scott

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