Bioinformatics students must complete an undergraduate and graduate degree to find promising careers.
With that much schooling, it is fair to wonder if the career is worth it.
Fortunately, bioinformatics is a perfect domain offering fulfilling and lucrative jobs.
This guide will go into further depth regarding bioinformatics as a career and the academic path to success.
One of the best aspects of bioinformatics is that there are plenty of in-demand career options.
The most popular jobs include bioinformaticians, bioinformatics engineers, bioinformatics specialists, and biostatisticians.
Students can also specialize in a few fields, although healthcare research and pharmaceuticals are the most common.
Most people working in bioinformatics claim job satisfaction, indicating that overall, people will be happy with their careers.
They may find their work meaningful, as their contributions profoundly impact how fast and well scientists can find healthcare solutions.
Additionally, since there are plenty of job opportunities, graduates may have better luck finding a positive work environment than in other careers.
There is also significant room for career advancement, especially if they make notable contributions to the field, gain experience, or continue earning academic certificates.
Bioinformatics programs are worth it, especially if you study well.
You can expect to earn a handsome entry-level salary.
Average salaries are high, regardless of the preferred job position:
- Bioinformatician: $86 786 per year
- Bioinformatics Engineer: $140 000 per year
- Bioinformatics Specialist: $106 517 per year
- Biostatistician: $95 570 per year
Naturally, salaries vary according to education level, certificates or licenses, work experience, and notable accomplishments.
Depending on the employee, bioinformatics workers may also have access to great employee benefits packages.
In particular, bioinformatics engineers and specialists can look forward to excellent health insurance, paid time off, paid vacation time, sickness benefits, flexible schedules, and retirement fund matching.
If they work at a well-established research company, they may also receive company stock, yearly bonuses, and yearly salary analyses and corrections.
Many students claim bioinformatics is complex, although it truly depends on your aptitude and interest in the material.
Undergraduate bioinformatics programs contain intensive courses in math, life sciences, and computer sciences.
In this way, students have a sufficient foundation in knowledge and skill.
Graduate bioinformatics programs allow students to specialize in their interests, making it easier for most students than an undergraduate degree.
Students who enjoy learning math, biology, and computer science will find their academic careers manageable.
Bioinformatics engineers or specialists may have the most challenging schoolwork.
They must focus on biology in-depth, as they must understand how to read and use biological data.
Engineers will also need to take engineering courses that are challenging in their own right.
Most bioinformatics jobs require a Master’s degree, if not a Ph.D.
It is a highly specialized field, requiring professionals to work with private data.
They must know how to read the data, understand how the data fits into a specific project, and figure out how to use it to accomplish a goal at hand.
They must handle the information carefully and precisely, as they may be using it to create a specific program or making conclusions based on it.
So, students can expect to stay in school for four to eight years.
There are many pros to studying bioinformatics, such as:
- Creating innovative technology to advance modern-day field breakthroughs
- Making positive contributions to society
- Solving problems that harm people, industries, wildlife, and the environment.
- Encountering plenty of job opportunities especially since the market is growing quickly
- Obtaining a high level of knowledge and a variety of important skills
- Working in a positive environment
- Earning an excellent salary with benefits packages
However, there are also a few cons to consider, such as:
- Studying intensive math and science
- Requiring students to stay in school for an extended period
- Needing extensive knowledge and skills to obtain a job
- Staying up-to-date with changing knowledge and technology in the field
- Having an adaptive and patient nature due to constantly evolving software requirements and research needs
If students plan to become a bioinformatician or bioinformatics engineers, coding or programming skills are necessary.
They will design and develop databases and software programs to store, group, process, and find complex data sets.
Likewise, students who plan to become database managers or bioinformatics software technicians must learn to read code and repair scripts.
The most common programming languages for bioinformatics are R, Python, Perl, Java, and Google’s Go.
Learn more: Can Bioinformatics Work As Data Scientist?
The bioinformatics program requires students to take some chemistry courses, as chemical tests often support diagnosis and treatment of health conditions.
Likewise, chemicals play a role in testing methods and results in other fields such as agriculture and the environment.
Bioinformatics students typically take general chemistry, general laboratory, organic chemistry, metabolic biochemistry, monocular and cellular biochemistry, and biochemistry laboratory.
Bioinformatics does require a significant amount of math.
In particular, students need to understand linear algebra, statistics, and data analysis.
Bioinformatics programs will cover these subjects in-depth because it is crucial to understand how to analyze biological data accurately and write and optimize software using math.
To get a job in bioinformatics, you should follow these steps:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in bioinformatics or a closely related field such as biology or computer science. You may need to take more biology or bioinformatics courses to enter a graduate program in bioinformatics.
- Pursue a master’s degree in bioinformatics and specialize in your preferred field, such as medicine, pharmaceuticals, environment, agriculture, etc. Depending on the university and the program, you may be able to perform a deep dive into a particular topic. After your master’s degree, you can pursue a Ph.D. or begin work in bioinformatics.
- Ensure you take programming courses during your education or during your free time.
- Work or volunteer as a research assistant during your education to garner work experience.
- Find and apply for entry-level bioinformatics jobs through job listing websites or by contacting specific bioinformatics research companies, institutions, or facilities.
Bioinformatics is a field full of fantastic opportunities for students passionate about biology and computing science.
Although the academic portion may be challenging and lengthy, graduates may have many job positions, an expanding job market, and high-paying salaries.