bk2skl
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I am currently at the very start of my journey.

Ive enrolled on an access to science course and if i do well enough I'd like to apply for graduate courses in the areas stated in the title. Both interest me...

I'm aware that I'll need at least a master's to specialise and be competitive, so my question is, would it make more sense to do Bioinformatics as an undergrad or a master's?

New to all this and getting sick of the sight of Google.

Any help appreciated!
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IlikeDonerKebab
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uhm. yes
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bk2skl
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yes to what?
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QuentinM
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(Original post by bk2skl)
I am currently at the very start of my journey.

Ive enrolled on an access to science course and if i do well enough I'd like to apply for graduate courses in the areas stated in the title. Both interest me...

I'm aware that I'll need at least a master's to specialise and be competitive, so my question is, would it make more sense to do Bioinformatics as an undergrad or a master's?

New to all this and getting sick of the sight of Google.

Any help appreciated!
I'm a bit confused. Access to science courses are taken before an undergraduate degree but you then talk immediately about applying for postgraduate courses? Its also not clear what your plans might be post-degree(s).

I think you would struggle to find a purely bioinformatics-focused course at undergraduate level in the UK (although I believe a few exist), personally I'd think it would be better to take whatever optional modules you can for it during your undergraduate degree then specialise with a masters if you really want to go down that route.

Both options you mention are very different courses, why are you interested in each one?
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bk2skl
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Firstly thanks for taking the time to reply.

The reason I'm trying to plan so far ahead is that I'm drastically changing careers at 33 with a family and from what I have repeatedly heard, it's really difficult to get a job in the sciences without at least a masters. One of the few big reasons I'm making a change is so that I am able to work and support my family so I want to be smart with my investment. Biology is what I find most intriguing but have reservations over studying this alone as it is very broad and for the aforementioned reason regarding job prospects after graduation.

I like the look of bioinformatics because I find the cross-section of computer science and biology interesting too and despite having no previous experience with coding, I've started to learn some Python and I'm enjoying it so far. That coupled with the fact (as far as I understand) it's possible to get a job after completing an undergraduate degree makes it quite attractive. I suppose I don't know what I'll actually enjoy until I'm on the course, but based on what I can find out this is where I've landed.

You make a good point about selecting modules that would help me learn in those areas, I guess because I've never been to uni I find it hard to picture what I need and where I'll end up as a result of it.
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In short, I find biology fascinating and would like to have the option of working in a related field someday... but I'm trying to find a happy medium that allows me to be able to work after college if I need to as opposed to probably having to get a masters before landing a decent job.

Does that make more sense?

Again thanks for replying and I'd be interested if you have any other advice?

Cheers
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medicphd
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Hi there, I thought I'd just share some of my experiences as I'm a bioinformatician who started off as a biologist. I'm not aware of many undergrad programmes that are solely bioinformatics, but there are quite a few bioinformatics masters programmes. However, you should have the opportunity to do a research project during your undergrad degree and you should be able to find a lab that does computational analyses, this is where you can get some solid bioinformatics experience. Most job adverts will say they want someone with Bash, python and R skills, and it's always good to have a Github profile to show your work. Because bioinformatics is a relatively new field, you'll be competing with biologists, bioinformaticians and computer scientists for jobs after you graduate, and as a bioinformatician you need skills in both biology and computer science.

I don't want to sound negative but biology (including bioinformatics) is incredibly competitive, and you'll be fighting with MSc and even some PhD candidates for entry-level positions after you graduate. You have to find a way to set yourself apart from others so that companies will choose you over a candidate with a higher degree. And unfortunately you might find that you hit a ceiling without a higher degree.

I presume you're wanting to work in industry rather than academia so I can't provide that much detail unfortunately, but feel free to ask any other questions and I'll try to help.
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