I'm actually trying to get into bioinformatics myself. Here are some of the resources I've been using:
- Khan Academy (Biology, Chemistry, Statistics, Probability)
- Molecular and Cell Biology for Dummies <-- includes overview of lab techniques like PCR and electrophoresis
- Bioinformatics for Dummies
- R Cookbook
- Molecular Biology of the Cell <-- expensive textbook, very detailed
I was pretty surprised to see a lot of stats being used. I'm sure other people can recommend better resources for bio-hacking instead of bioinformatics.
If you are a good programmer you ought to know math and statistic.
I would suggest trying to learn biology or chemistry like anyone going for a degree in either or both. Look into what books and other publications they read. Or just go back to school and add a squishy degree to your CS degree. Or do the equivalent of that on your own.
I would say that is way better than Bioinformatics for Dummies.
The great thing about bioinformatics is that there's so much data available online for free. Here are some links:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ - sequences, papers, and so much more
http://smd.stanford.edu/ - microarray data
http://archive.ics.uci.edu/ml/ - not biology related but good data sets to play with R
Talk to me if you're serious about it ... there is a HUGE community basically waiting to blow open ... I've recently begun working in bioinformatics and bio into my skillset, in this short time the interest has only grown.
You should watch iBioSeminars (www.ibioseminars.org) to become familiar with biology research. These are free online talks given by leading scientists. They contain a general intro to a topic and then go into the research behind it.
I was IBO(International Biology Olympiad) participant during high school, majored in Bioengineering and now a full time web programmer(entrepreneur). Knowing both domains pretty well(better than average person) I have no idea what kind of books should one read, or what kind of approach should one take in order to start biohacking. If any bioprogrammes around here, share some thoughts and recomendation.
I believe general biology genetics would be more than enough to get into the business. And for an average hacker, those concepts won't be hard to consume. Campbell-Reece Biology book(just the genetics part) might be the right choice.
I recommend watching Steve Yegge's excellent presentation at O'Reilly's OSCON Data. He points out a number of books in the video, but in general this is an excellent talk about preparing to solve hard problems in bio.