The amalgamation of biological sciences and information technology has led to the birth of bioinformatics. This field is slowly becoming popular due to its research intensiveness and depth. It is paving the way in core job sectors due to the dynamism it offers.
There are plenty of careers in bioinformatics that can make up a good living. In this blog, we have tried to bring the best bioinformatics career paths for young bioinformaticians and experienced learners.
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The science field in general offers multiple job opportunities to the graduates and highly qualified students such as scientific writers, editors, publishers, and more. However, the IT sector is the most prevalent and job providing domain nowadays.
It is interesting to note that bioinformatics qualified students can avail opportunities at information technology companies as well as pharmaceutical firms. Given below are the top five bioinformatics career paths that could change the life of job seekers in the Bioinformatics field.
1. Data Analyst
Why a data analyst?
This job belongs to all those bioinformatics students who have great command over mathematical concepts of statistics, problem-solving skills, and calculative mindset. Due to continuous flow of data from different biological backgrounds, the need for analysts has increased tremendously.
This job requires professionals skilled in using programming languages such as Python, R language, SQL, and similar database storage and retrieval platforms. They should know how to represent data in the form of charts, graphs, and other pictorial forms.
Task to perform
The job of a data analyst is to view the data, store it, manage it, and interpret positive results from it. It is a simple job that is entirely based on logical understanding and mathematical skills. The primary job is to accurately interpret, annotate, and curate the available information.
Data analysts are hired by big companies that regularly assess customer data for business growth. The biological laboratories and research centers hire data analysts for maintenance and retrieval of biological genome data.
For the beginners or entry-level job seekers, this position can provide a salary of 47,000 USD to 113,000 USD per year. With gain in experience and skill improvement, the pay can increase on a regular basis. A promising career in bioinformatics for data enthusiasts.
2. Software Programmer
Why a software programmer?
This job is for those bioinformatics students who wish to pursue a career in building software and tools. The candidates having expert knowledge of coding and programming can pursue a great career in bioinformatics.
With the deepening of understanding of biological data, more sophisticated software is needed for analysis. The RNA-seq data, cancer genome data, and similar data need better tools for precise information gathering.
The professional skills required here are deep understanding and expertise in coding languages such as C++, Java, Python, HTML, R, and more. Writing flawless scripts and debugging the program are also required.
Software developers get hired in big companies especially at information technology firms such as, Google, Microsoft, Oracle where software and applications are regularly built and upgraded. The universities with IT departments can hire bioinformaticians to code for new biological tools.
Task to perform
Software programming can be done for both economical and biological problems. Those who developed bioinformatics tools are called bioinformatics developers and those who program for other purposes are called software developers.
The salary of a programmer is great at the start itself. It ranges between 86,000 USD to 113,000 USD per year for beginners. For professional and experienced coders, it can be even more than this.
Honestly, there is no limit to what you can deliver to the company. Your unique software can earn you lots of money for a lifetime. More the people use it and download it, the more benefits you receive.
3. Research Assistant
Why a research assistant?
People with scientific approaches and understanding of biological problems can pursue their careers as research assistants. Bioinformatics career in discovering new therapeutics models for diseases and diagnosis is very delightful.
Mostly, the laboratories hire such individuals on a contract basis which is extended depending upon their performance. Opportunities to work for pharmaceutical companies are also open. They need assistants to research the drugs and efficacy. The bioinformatics career path is bright here.
The candidates should possess expertise in reading and writing in English language. They should have an understanding of scientific papers. Knowledge of biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, immunology, and more are a must.
Task to perform
A research assistant could help senior scientists with carrying on a bioinformatics study. They can help in manuscript preparation, citation list preparation, and developing high quality research images.
The pay for such a position can vary between 30,000 USD to 60,000 USD per year at the starting of the career. Experience and knowledge of the subject field can land you a high pay job in research. Bioinformaticians with more than 5 years of experience can be hired in the teaching profession.
If you as a bioinformatician have concrete knowledge about the field and are passionate about passing it on to the younger generation, then this career in bioinformatics is for you. Teaching is a noble profession and it awaits talented people to join in.
Many universities across the globe, national and international, seek to hire skilled and experienced professors. Sometimes the opportunity is temporary, as a guest faculty. Often it is a permanent job with high regard by everyone in the education domain.
The professor must know the language of communication very well. Being aware of the local language is a plus point. However, in most nations, English is the primary language to converse in official spaces.
Lecturer is expected to be a good conveyor of talks. He must have high qualifications, probably a Ph.D. and postdoctoral. A good number of research publications and high citations can increase the chances of getting hired.
Task to perform
Most important part of their job is to be regular in taking classes and giving notes for preparation. Professor must come ready to take long hours of lectures. Preparation of topics and examples are necessary. They must take regular tests and provide assignments to the students.
Another task is to do exceptionally well in research and publications. Identifying potential candidates with research interests and accommodating them in their own team for work is important. Besides that, regular official meetups and seminars are necessary to be attended.
The respect and regard for this bioinformatics career is high. The amount paid to each professor is commendable. The pay varies between 70,000 USD to 102,000 USD per year. It can be more or less depending upon the teaching experience and capabilities.
Increase in the salary is guaranteed when students perform well in the course and get into good careers. The years of experience are an additional attribute. The number of published original work and citations also propels the career.
5. Computational Biologist
Why a computational biologist?
First of all, it is important to clarify that a computational biologist is not a regular biologist. The bioinformatics learner can have a good career as a computational biologist in research laboratories and drug companies.
The upcoming years are bright as a computational biologist due to its rising demand in every college and computer facility. Each lab needs a computational nerd with biological data knowledge to interpret them accurately.
To be at the position of computational biologist, the bioinformaticians must be thorough with the software and programs used for biological analysis. From the basic to the complex, all programs must be known.
A little bit of programming knowledge in C++, Python, SQL, HTML, Java, and similar languages is required. They must also know how to represent biological data in the form of pictures and tables.
Task to perform
A computational biologist’s work is entirely based on the IT environment. Their main goal is to represent biological data computationally and discuss the findings. They work in the area of drug identification, repurposing, designing, and screening.
Studies on protein fold mechanisms are also made by them. Another key task is to generate high pixel scientific images for publications. The protein structures construction and labeling should be done appropriately for survival in this job.
Computational biologist is somewhat similar to a research assistant working in an IT lab. Hence, the expected salary is also similar to this. The salary can range between 78,000 USD to 102,000 USD per year. This range varies from country to country and on the complexity of the task.
Again, experience is the king. More a bioinformatician practices and learns to apply his skills, chances for bagging a great job becomes directly proportional. The more publications they make in renowned journals more they get attention and offers.
Besides these top five careers in bioinformatics, other opportunities include- computer lab operations, database maintenance, research writer, teacher, mentor, editor, and more.
We hope that this blog helps you in finding the best bioinformatics career path. The subject not only promises a great job and life but imparts advanced knowledge to the learners. The future of bioinformaticians is certainly bright.
It could be life changing to pursue a great career in bioinformatics.