Getting started with Genomics/Bioinformatics* at your own pace


A previous colleague of mine recently asked me on how I got started learning Bioinformatics. Though the majority of learning happened on the job, I put in quite a lot of evenings early on to get into the domain, and most importantly the vocabulary so that I could communicate well within the team. For the astute readers, please be noted that the term Genomics and/or Bioinformatics is used very loosely in this context, so as to encourage beginner participation rather than the absolute correctness.

During the early days, I took a bunch of online courses and also read a couple of beginner friendly books. I didn't do a very good job writing it down back then, but here's a couple of them off the top of my head.

I'm hoping this will be somewhat useful for an absolute beginner looking to get into this domain.


The New Genetics is the first book I'd recommend for the complete beginner. It's freely available as well.

The Cartoon Guide to Genetics is a fun read, if you prefer a rather lighthearted and visual approach.

The Biostar Handbook is a must for the ones looking into digging into the data and pratice analysis right away. The book does assume some knowledge of the fundamentals.

Online Courses

Genomics: Decoding the Universal Language of Life is a great introduction to the wide umbrella of Genomics. This course bootstraps from the beginning and gives a sneak peek of the various sub domains. Moreover, it demonstrates the interdisciplinary nature of this field very well.

Online courses at Wellcome Genome Campus is another superior freely available resource to dig into. While focussed on microbial/bacterial genome, this is a very well produced resource directly by scientists at work.

Introduction to high-throughput sequencing is the next best resource to dig into before digging your hands directly into the data. The team publishing this also makes their other past workshop videos available on their channel.

Bioinformatics Specialization is the next series of courses that I'd recommend. Fun and highly educational, this course comes along with a hefty textbook.

Genomic Data Science Specialization is another one series of courses that will supplement the knowledege above. This course is designed to be a bit more hands-on.

Foundations of Computational and Systems Biology seems to be another very detailed in-the-classroom lecture series. I haven't yet had the opportunity to go through this, but the lecture listing seems very thorough.