Career in Bioinformatics
Are you a person with superfast coding skills? Or more a biologist but not really wet lab person? If so, then this article is for you. If you are blessed with a multidisciplinary skill set and have an interest in pursuing biology along with the computer skills, then go no further than making a career in bioinformatics.
According to Industry Daily Observer, the global bioinformatics market generated $6,389.00 million in 2017 and is expected to reach $18,233.00 million by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 13.8% from 2018 to 2025. The world bioinformatics market is segmented based on technology, services, and applications. With the development of computational biology, health science, genetics, genomics, drug discovery and molecular biology; bioinformatics has created a huge scope for life science industry professionals.
What is Bioinformatics?
Bioinformatics is the application of computer science to biological sciences. It is a multidisciplinary field that comprises the application of molecular biology, statistics, computer science, mathematical modeling for analyzing large biological data sets.
Bioinformatics helps in understanding the biomolecules at the molecular level using various visualization software’s, machine learning, understanding evolutionary genetics, DNA sequencing, drug development, precision medicine, data analysis, and interpretation. It is an upcoming field due to the information technology, and artificial intelligence revolution in the country.
The job prospect includes various pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, research & development labs, data Science companies, biotechnology & healthcare companies, drug designing, bio-analytics, clinical research, proteomics.
Requirements for a great career in bioinformatics
Since it is an interdisciplinary field, it requires expertise in both computer science and biology.
- Programming skills -C, C++, Perl, Shell, Python,( with knowledge of Linux system)
- Statistics with R Programming
- Bioinformatics Databases – NCBI, Entrez, UniProt, Swissprot, MySQL, PDB, and others.
- Tool kits – Scaffold, Protmax, Indigo, Swissdock, OEchem, and others.
- Data Mining (Extraction of data) and data analysis
- Data Visualization (Visualizing the extracted data using simulations)
- Molecular Biology &Genetics
- Learning bioinformatics software
These skill sets may not be necessarily be taken up by paid classes or university credits, simple free MOOCs on websites like Coursera, Edx, and Udacity are available for help.
With 10+2 level science in PCMB:
Bioinformatics as a qualification can be taken at various levels like Bachelors (B.Sc), Masters (M.Sc), Diploma, Advanced Post Graduate Diploma, Certification. However, to compete in the industry a master or doctoral degree in a relevant field like life sciences, biotechnology or bioinformatics will be beneficial.
Top Universities which can help you in having a great career in bioinformatics
- Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi (M.Sc Bioinformatics, Only For Women, Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- Calcutta University, Calcutta (Ph.D. Molecular Biology, Biophysics, Bioinformatics)
- Manipal Academy Of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal (M.Sc Bioinformatics, Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), Pune (M.Sc Bioinformatics, Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kerala (M.Sc Bioinformatics, Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- Panjab University (M.Sc Bioinformatics, Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- Bharatiya Vidyapeeth, Pune (M.Sc Bioinformatics, Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- IISC, Bangalore, Bangalore (Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- Institute Of Bioinformatics, Bangalore (Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- Institute Of Bioinformatics & Applied Biotechnology, Bangalore (M.Sc Bioinformatics & Applied Biotechnology, Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- Pondicherry University, Pondicherry (M.Sc Bioinformatics, Ph.D. Bioinformatics)
- IIT Delhi (M.Tech Bioinformatics)
- IIT Hyderabad (M.Tech Bioinformatics)
Opportunities in Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics Analyst: This is an entry-level job basically, where you may be required to perform custom bioinformatics and statistical analyses. M.Sc Bioinformatics is the minimum requirement for this job role.
Bioinformatics programmer: Bioinformatics Programmer is the professional who applies knowledge for programming using either of C / Perl / Python/Statistics. For this role, you must have strong concepts in statistical and mathematical modelling.
Teaching – Jobs as an associate professor can be taken up by qualifying the NET exam. Top 15% of candidates of the NET exam are also given JRF positions at universities.
Research – If someone has core interest in bioinformatics or a related subject, he or she can do a Ph.D. from India or abroad to become a bioinformatics scientist. Many major universities provide stipends for researchers.
Post-Doc Associate – After Ph.D., one can also take an associate Postdoc position at an Indian or foreign university.
Data Scientist – There has been a big data boom globally which has lead to an increase in the data scientist jobs in the market. The job requires skills like analyzing, understanding and interpreting data using programming and statistics skills.
Major Recruiters in India
The job prospect for bioinformatics includes various pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, research & development labs, data Science companies, biotechnology& healthcare companies, drug designing, bio-analytics, clinical research, proteomics.
Few of the famous companies hiring bioinformaticians are – Roche, QIAGEN, Roche, Thermofisher Scientific, GVK Biosciences, Agilent Technology Inc, Dassault Systems, Eurofins Scientific, Bruker Daltonics Inc, PerkinElmer Inc, Strand Life Sciences, Innoplexus.
Starting salary of a bioinformatics professional can range from 2-2.5 Lakhs. With 1-2 year experience, you can get 3-4 Lakhs per annum package and pay increases with experience and knowledge.
- The average salary of a bioinformatics analyst is 2.5 Lakhs per annum.
- Bioinformatics programmer can earn 5-6 Lakhs per annum.
- The average salary of a bioinformatics scientist is 8-9 LPA.
The era of digitization has its own footprints in the healthcare industry also. The burgeoning use of technology in combination of biology is significant in new discoveries. Look ahead if you are thinking of making a career in bioinformatics. Don’t be disheartened by the fact of not knowing the computer programming language. Nowadays one can learn them easily via short online courses. So go ahead and help the scientific community with your bioinformatics skills.