Q: How DO You Search for an Entry Level Position?

Dr. Greg Quinn greg at franklin.burnham-inst.org
Mon Oct 19 20:00:50 EST 1998

Harry Erwin (herwin at gmu.edu) wrote:
: I'm trying to help my son find an entry-level position in computational
: biology in the USA.  He has a new degree in biomedical science, a
: background in C++ programming, and a senior project that computed
: primer-template bonding temperatures using a nearest-neighbor algorithm.
: He's deferring grad school until he knows what specialized field he
: wants to work in.  He's been e-mailing resumes to the human resources
: offices of companies on the web, but I have the impression that he's
: getting lost in the hundreds of resumes they must get that way.  I'm
: sure there's a lot of research labs that could use his skills, but most
: of them don't post their openings on the web.  Is there a better way to
: do this?
: -- 
: Harry Erwin, Web Page: http://mason.gmu.edu/~herwin 
: Senior Software Analyst supporting the FAA, PhD candidate in 
: computational neuroscience--modeling how bats echolocate--and 
: lecturer for CS 211 (data structures and advanced C++).

Harry, you may want to check the bionet.jobs.offered group. There's 
usually an assortment of computational biology positions to be had.

There's a real need for computational biologists, though many of the 
positions do seek someone with a few years lab experience and many
require a Ph.D. If I had to give my personal opinion, it would be that
unless your son is desperately interested in getting a Ph.D., try to get 
into a computational position with his present qualifications (plus some 
lab experience) or a Masters degree at most. I wouldn't advise anyone to get 
a Ph.D. simply to get into computational biology, and in fact with
the current career/funding structure, I wouldn't advise anyone to get a bio 
Ph.D., period. If he wants any real financial/career stability, stick with the
computing/biocomputing, which in career terms has 'outs' into mainstream 
commerce. Most of the Ph.D. computational biology positions advertised by 
companies (and all the ones that I have been contacted about)
are usually looking for someone to do very light programming 
(PERL scripting, etc) and a ton of data analysis, which your son may or may 
not find interesting. Any real  programmer worth his salt won't find such 
a situation very satisfying, so your son needs to really think this through.

Good luck with your search.

Computational Biology Group
The Burnham Institute
(formerly La Jolla Cancer Research Inst.)
12901 North Torrey Pines road
La Jolla
Phone:(619) 646 3103
Email: greg at franklin.ljcrf.edu

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