Careers in Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics is one of the fields that apply a range of disciplines like applied mathematics, informatics, statistics and computer science, artificial intelligence and chemistry to conduct research on a molecular level. Some of the major research areas being conducted in the field of bioinformatics are sequence alignment, gene finding, genome assembly, protein structure alignment and the modeling of evolution.
Biotech research produces massive amounts of information and bioinformatics professionals are also involved in mining, digitizing and indexing massive amounts of data with the application of very high-end computational technology. At its core, bioinformatics is a confluence of IT and biotechnology. Another term that is used in place of bioinformatics is computational biology.
The biotech industry is currently valued to be around $60 billion. But the future projections seem to be very resurgent. The global bioinformatics industry is poised to grow steadily for the next ten years. It is also one of the fields that would impact and drive new research in other areas such as medicine and pharmaceuticals. Rare biological insights and the discovery of new drugs would also come from extensive work being conducted in this field.
Bioinformatics professionals are required to develop new tools with new algorithms that have better productive capacities and also apply the existing tools to gain new insights in molecular biology.
Career opportunities for bioinformatics professionals are available in various streams. As gene analyst, protein analyst, phylogenitist, research scientist in the field of Life Sciences. As data base programmer, bioinformatics software developer, computational biologist and network analyst in the field of computer science.
As structural analyst, molecular modeler, bio-statistician, biomechanics and database programmer in the field of Applied Sciences. As cheminformatician, pharmacogenetician, pharmacogenomics, research scientist or associate in the field of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The starting salaries in the field are also quite good. In India, the starting pay scale ranges from Rs. 10,000 – 15,000. This can rise upwards of Rs. 25,000 with a few years of experience. In the US, the starting salaries range from $60, 000 to $90,000 for experienced professionals.
In conclusion, Bioinformatics is an exciting field to be in for those who love challenges and want to work at the cutting edge of research and development in medicine and the sciences.