I never planned to do bioinformatics. It just happened because I liked to spend time in front of my computer and my boss was OK with it. Still, as every sane individual, I sometimes think that I should do something else with my life, and I wonder whether I am doing the right thing. On this topic, I recently came across the famous farewell to bioinformatics by Frederick J. Ross, which is worth reading, and from which the most emblematic quote is the now celebrated aphorism
Fuck you, bioinformatics. Eat shit and die.
There is nothing to agree or disagree in this quote, but Frederick gives further detail about his point of view in the post. In short, bioinformaticians are bad programmers, and community-level obfuscation maintains the illusion.
By making the tools unusable, by inventing file format after file format, by seeking out the most brittle techniques and the slowest languages, by not publishing their algorithms and making their results impossible to replicate, the field managed to reduce its productivity by at least 90%, probably closer to 99%.
There are indeed many issues in the bioinformatics community and I am on Frederick’s side regarding file formats...