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Career in Bioinformatics

Published On: 21 Apr 2010 | Last Updated On: 06 May 2011

Ever since the first genetic sequence was deciphered in the 70s, Biology has been steadily evolving into an information science. Efforts made by The Human Genome Project and various other projects, have made Bioinformatics  Bioinformatics enter the industry about decade ago. With this information scientists can understand how genes interact in health and disease. Bioinformatics is an applied science which refers to use of information technology in the field of molecular Biology. Bioinformatics as a discipline aims at collection, storage, analysis and merge of biological data using computer technology to improve the quality of life of individuals. Bioinformatics has several applications in the fields of agriculture, health, environment, energy and biotechnology. Bioinformatics helps to produce better curative and preventive medicines, identify waste cleaning bacteria, and produce high yield low maintenance varieties of seeds


Eligibility: For a career in Bioinformatics you need to have a strong background in two areas- biology and computer science. A bioinformatics career starts with a graduate degree in this subject for which the minimum qualification is 10+2 pass with Science subjects. You need to have either a computer science graduate with an additional degree in biology or a biologist with a degree in computer science.  Studying the behaviour of complex molecules and developing tools to find out their capabilities would require a person with a background in chemistry.
Course Details: However, the course is offered only as an advanced post-graduate diploma, in select universities. Science graduates, postgraduates or PhDs with specialisation in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Structural Biology, Medicinal Chemistry, Neurosciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Veterinary Sciences, Food Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics are eligible to apply for this course. Computer scientists, IT professionals and software engineers with a background in specialised tools and database programmes are eligible too.

Nature of Job: Genetic information is the key to understanding genes and their functioning. Making sense of this gives an insight into how it functions in health and what goes wrong when we contract disease, and why some people are allergic to certain drugs while others are not.  Some other specific areas that fall within the scope of bioinformatics are sequence assembly, database design and maintenance, gene analysis, proteomics and pharmacogenomics.
Skills and aptitude: You need to work with scientists, to help them organize data. You also need to work with the people who are mining data in and see that it is stored in a retrievable fashion. Hence, you need to be a team player with good interpersonal skills. Companies are looking for efficient problem solvers. You need to think creatively and look for better ways to do computations.
Career Prospects: Bioinformatics professionals have multiple career options. Most of these professionals are absorbed in pharmaceutical and Biotech companies. They can also work with premier scientific research institutes of public and private sector. They can also work with government and private hospitals. These professional also can find employment in industries manufacturing various biomedical products.
Remuneration: Bioinformatics is a highly remunerative career options. Those employed in government research institutes and hospital get salary as fixed by government. It can be Rs 8,000 to Rs 20,000 depending upon work profile and experience. Those working in private sector pharmaceutical companies or multination companies get a pay scale of Rs 4, 50,000 - Rs 6, 00,000 per annum.

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