Microbiology vs Biotechnology
So now you’ve finished your BSc in a life science subject and are yet to choose your options. You’re confused between microbiology and biotechnology as options. While both may seem very similar, there are some differences when it comes to jobs and PhDs in the future. So worry not my friend, after some extensive research we have pulled together a comprehensive and unbiased guide that may just help you choose!
Firstly, let’s discuss job opportunities. Since both the subjects are quite interrelated, biotechnology depends on many basic laboratory techniques of microbiology, while further development of microbiology is quite dependant on biotechnological methods, it is quite common to share the same job opportunities.
Having said that having a Biotechnology degree opens up many more doors, in various fields like industrial processes, management jobs while microbiology jobs are more research oriented. You also have an option of doing an MBA in Biotechnology, which a new and emerging field of work.
The job market while not absolutely lucrative is growing with the Biotechnology sector on the increase in India. There are jobs in the agricultural, pharmaceuticals, medical and various other fields, making it a very flexible subject. Also, there are many independent Biotechnology start up companies that promise a good future. After a few years experience, the salary does increase, as does your market value.
What I have found is that in most jobs the requirements is for either Biotechnology or Microbiology graduates, though the latter tends to go for Quality Control in various industries. When it comes to salary, the starting pay packages are usually in the same range, though managerial positions always pay more than research ones.
Now, coming to PhDs and full research careers, it is very easy to switch between these two subjects because of their similarities once again. Having said that, there is a Department of Biotechnology as part of the Ministry of Science and Technology started by Rajiv Gandhi, that aims to promote the growth of Biotechnology in India to help the common man.
It is very important to understand that PhDs in India are usually not very well paid, a Ph.D. abroad would be a better option, especially in countries like Germany, UK, Australia or US. Foreign degrees are coveted because they are indeed valued much more in the industry and academia alike.
However, it is not possible for all students to pursue their PhDs outside India and for them, there are many good options right here. It is important to mention that while PhDs are available without Fellowships, it would be most prudent to try and gain one, due to low funding in most Ph.D. programmes. In relation to this, it must be mentioned that there are many Fellowship programs, like the DBT-JRF and CSIR-NET that provide Fellowships to scholars in Biotechnology. This aspect is much more developed for Biotechnology than Microbiology.
While concluding it must be mentioned that while regarding jobs both fields seem at par, for PhDs in India Biotechnology does seem to have an edge. However, it is up to you which field you would like to follow. Follow what you have the most interest in because that is inadvertently the field you will succeed at the most, no matter of the numbers and trends.