Systems People

Francis Ouellette francis at monod.biol.mcgill.ca
Wed Jun 24 17:43:28 EST 1992

>elliston at msdrl.com (Keith Elliston) writes:
>>Come on, step up... how many of you who are running mol. bio.
>>computing facilities have CS degrees? 

and then Rick Westerman  (westerm at aclcb.purdue.edu) writes:

>I do. A lowly B.S. but a C.S degree never-the-less (with a minor in Biology).

I guess this is list/group should be renamed:

 "bionet.where.did.you.do.your.degree"      ;-)

Well I am from a stricktly biology background, and I had a supervisor who let 
me play with computers ...  I guess I qualify as one of those with a "knack" 
for computers, and I find myself lucky and happy to be in a job with a relativelly small project where I can learn the ropes as we move along the chromosome.  
I manage a very small group of computers (10 PCs, 9 MACs and one Sparc2), 
but I use and appreciate much the unix support I recieve from our Computer 
Center.  I have created a great links with the people there, and one in perticular 
is very interested with our work.  He even asked me for a general biology book, 
so he could look at the basics!  He and I both know that neither of us could know 
as much as the other, and I think we are a great team.  I do most of the basic 
stuff, installing and updating software, backups, training of new users and so 
on (besides the actual job I was hired to do which was to manage the team of technicians and do the sequence analysis for the  YEAST chromosome I).  
But for example, when it came time to put the Sparc on the Net he (David Holmes, delphys at cc.mcgill.ca) came down for an hour or so, and he showed me how it was 
done (after I had passed many hour with another system manager passing thick coax cables ... lots of fun!) ...  I should be able (I think!) to do the next Sparc.  
In the last six months David has probably charged us for about 24 hours of his services.  This is a wonderful price for the services (I won't mention the $$, but it is adequate for the professional help we receieved :), and for the professional training I obtained too, not to mention the verbal abuse ("YOU DID WHAT !!!!"  
.... ok, ok, ok, ok ... so I'll stay away from the L1-A key next time! :-).

The point being in all of this, I am doing biology here, it is new biology 
that uses new skills for which there are still very few programs for 
(and I know this is changing) and a computer science major can probably do 
well, if she or he has a "knack" for biology.  But the biology that is required is probably best thought in the "traditional" way.  

>BTW: I hated my last year in school; I would have much prefered to complete
>my degree in genetics. But I was 32, with kids, broke, and knew that a 
>B.S. in C.S. would pay better and get me better jobs than any degree in Biology.

I have a sob story to tell too, but I am not sure it is appropriate for 
public dispersal ...  

well, that was my CAN$0.016 cents worth ...



| B.F. Francis Ouellette  
| manager, yeast chromosome I project
| dept of biology, McGill university, Montreal, Qc, Canada
| francis at monod.biol.mcgill.ca

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