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As a software engineer who decided to learn about biotech with absolutely no background, here is how I started:

- Organic Chemistry course on itunes U (don't remember which one, just first 4-5 lessons)

- Introduction to Genetics: A Molecular Approach by Terry Brown

- Virology course on iTunes U, by Vincent Racaniello - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/w3310-virology-videocast...

- Molecular biology of the cell book ( https://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Cell-Bruce-Alberts/... )

After going through that (took ~3 months full time), I went for a month to the Bay Area, went to Biocurious hackerspace, to get some practical experience, and within a month I did stuff like ordering custom dna online, and putting it into bacteria :)

All the above was sufficient to understand basics of whatever I'm reading now about biotech, and gain extra knowledge when necessary.

Some notes: - Virology may seem a weird addition, but the course by Racaniello is super-fun, and if you understand how viruses work, you will understand how everything else works - If, like me, you were afraid of Chemistry and Biology in high school, don't worry. Organic Chemistry deals just with just four basic elements, and Molecular Biology is really not much different from mechanics - not that much to remember, and a lot to understand. - Even if you complete just 3-4 first chapters of all the above, you will get nice foundations for understanding biotech. - There are bio hackerspaces in major cities in US (not so much in EU - regulations)

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