Over the past 25 years, the powerful combination of genome sequencing and bioinformatics analysis has played a crucial role in interpreting information encoded in bacterial genomes. High-throughput sequencing technologies have paved the way towards understanding an increasingly wide range of biological questions. This revolution has enabled advances in areas ranging from genome composition to how proteins interact with nucleic acids. This has created unprecedented opportunities through the integration of genomic data into clinics for the diagnosis of genetic traits associated with disease. Since then, these technologies have continued to evolve, and recently, long-read sequencing has overcome previous limitations in terms of accuracy, thus expanding its applications in genomics, transcriptomics and metagenomics. In this review, we describe a brief history of the bacterial genome sequencing revolution and its application in public health and molecular epidemiology. We present a chronology that encompasses the various technological developments: whole-genome shotgun sequencing, high-throughput sequencing, long-read sequencing. We mainly discuss the application of next-generation sequencing to decipher bacterial genomes. Secondly, we highlight how long-read sequencing technologies go beyond the limitations of traditional short-read sequencing. We intend to provide a description of the guiding principles of the 3rd generation sequencing applications and ongoing improvements in the field of microbial medical research.