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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.

NCBI is pretty good (i'd say definitive) resource (and time sink :).

For example http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20260/ or http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/education/ or just http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

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.

When you're experimenting with bioinformatics (specifically in R), are there sample data sets you can run queries on? What have you been using?

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
To navigate NCBI databases and learn file formats, you can read their documentation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/education/) or get any bioinformatics book.

Thanks very much for the helpful links!

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