[Bioperl-l] Genentech is hiring [more].

George Hartzell hartzell at alerce.com
Fri Apr 9 16:59:26 EDT 2010

We're hiring.  You want to do Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
at a great company in South San Francisco, CA.  Sounds like a good
match!  There are both full-time and temporary openings.

I'm looking for someone who's sharp and who enjoys computers, biology,
and technology; someone who gets excited about picking up new tools
but who also has a sense of responsibility and restraint.  You've
worked with a variety of computer languages over your career and look
forward to learning more in the future; you can build up a system from
a blank hard disk and an OS cd if necessary but are just as happy if
someone else takes care of it; you like your projects to build and
install themselves because let's face it, who wants to do that stuff
by hand.  It sounds like we're made for each other.

I'm looking for someone who's familiar with several modern tool sets
and has used them to deliver applications that really solve a problem
and that aren't a bear to extend and maintain.  Modern Perl
complemented with C is my first choice these days, supplemented with R
and (when necessary) anything from the rest of the programming
language bestiary.  There's a fair amount of Java flying around here
too so some familiarity with it and the JVM world would be great.
Relational databases are part of the picture: Oracle for the big
stuff; SQLite, PostgreSQL, and MySQL in supporting roles.  I generally
interact with them via ORM's, lately it's been Rose::DB::Object on the
Perl side though I've been convinced to take another look at
DBIx::Class.  Most of my web apps use CGI::Application, as fastcgi's,
mod_perl, or simple CGI scripts, but (as with ORM's) I may take
another look at Catalyst.  If most of those words ring a bell, we
should talk.

Does it sound like you'd be happy working here?  Well, you're still
reading....  Great!

Strong candidates will have an understanding of basic bioinformatics
concepts and the ability to pick up new biology and computer science
concepts as necessary.  You could probably leverage a strong
non-biological science background complemented with the right software
engineering experience and make an argument that you're a good fit.

At the junior end of the spectrum I'd expect a bachelor's degree + 3
years of experience, at the upper end would a masters + 5 years (or a
PhD interested in moving towards the production side of the house).

When you get to an interview, you might get questions like:

- What's the difference between Smith-Waterman, blast, sim4, gmap,
  and/or bowtie alignment algorithms or tools? Which would you use
  when, and why?

- Why is Moose better than Class::Accessor? (yes, it's Perl centered,
  but it could spin out into any language [e.g. why is Java better
  than Perl?]).  What's a MOP? Who cares?

- How do you roll out a release of your software?  What's automated,
  and how?  What's not, and why?

- CVS, subversion, git, mercurial. You've already picked one, of
  course.  Which one? Why? Why not?

- XML or JSON or YAML.  Pick one for moving data back and forth in an
  Ajax based interface.  Why? Would it also work well in other

- How would you store information about positional features on a
  genome so that you could get fast random access? How would your
  solution tie into a larger data context?

Genentech's a great place to work: solid salaries, great benefits,
great Bay Area location.  We're open source friendly and with the
arrival of Robert Gentleman (our new Director, of Bioconductor/R fame)
are becoming even more so.

Send a cover letter and CV to me at georgewh at gene.com.  Bonus points
if it's easy to unpack and read (pdf would be great...).  Demerits if
you use an obscure archive format to deliver Wordstar files.  Double
demerits if you don't follow directions and reply to this account....

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