Nurturing a career in bioinformatics takes a certain kind of aptitude, despite its popularity. First off, you have to like being intimately involved with computers, agree those who already work in this burgeoning field. "For some, staring at a glowing, blue screen all day is like a ring of Dante's inferno," says Larry Hunter, past president of the International Society of Computational Biology (ISCB) and director of the Center for Computational Pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Number two, he says, it helps to like math. "A lot of bioinformatics involves statistics."

To retool for a job in bioinformatics first requires some considerations. You need to ask yourself: "What kind of job do I want? Research at a pharmaceutical firm or genomics start-up? Teaching and research in academia? Or, do I really want to learn the latest tools to enhance my molecular biology research?"

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