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Career in Bioinformatics

Updated: Jun 7, 2020


WHAT IS BIOINFORMATICS?

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data, in particular when the data sets are large and complex. Bioinformatics is the science of storing, retrieving and analysing large amounts of biological information. It is a highly interdisciplinary field involving many different types of specialists, including biologists, molecular life scientists, computer scientists and mathematicians. Bioinformatics combines biologycomputer scienceinformation engineeringmathematics and statistics to analyse and interpret the biological data. 


WHAT DOES A BIOINFORMATICS SCIENTIST DO?

Bioinformatics scientists study and dissect large amounts of datasets at the molecular level such as proteomics, raw micro array, and genomic sequence data. They also manipulate databases that are commercially or publicly accessible, which contain genomic and post genomic data. They design and update any web-based informatics tools they may need. They will also change existing software applications to fit the needs of any projects they may be working on, and, if necessary, create a whole new software application for the job. Bioinformatics scientists often have to come up with creative means both analytically and computationally to solve many biological mysteries in order to meet research goals. They typically work with other biologistsmicrobiologistsplant scientists, and computer research scientists to develop biological databases in order to decipher all the information they have collected, and to look for future product development opportunities. Together they troubleshoot any errors that occur and determine the next best course of action. Bioinformatics scientists also consult with other laboratory scientists to design bioinformatics efforts that may be of value to the health or pharmaceutical industries.


HOW MANY TYPES OF BIOINFORMATICS ARE THERE?

  • Biochemistry.

  • Cell biology.

  • Enzymology.

  • Genetics.

  • Immunology.

  • Molecular biology.

  • Plant biochemistry.

IDEAL DAY AT THE WORKPLACE

  1. Identify and develop software tools for efficient data integration and for mining biological data

  2. Collaborate closely with scientists from a variety of disciplines

  3. Build innovative frameworks for data integration and automated data mining and develop reusable libraries

  4. Implement best coding practices to build and continually improve a company's computational capabilities and workflows

  5. Apply computer tools to transform genomics data into higher yielding crops and pest control solutions

  6. Share modern computational methods and bioinformatics solutions

  7. Work closely with end users to identify, analyse and solve bioinformatics resourcing and application

  8. Propose and implement novel bioinformatics analysis strategies adapted to analytical needs

  9. Report progress in relation to objectives and critical milestones to program leaders

  10. Ensure compliance with all existing safety standards in the area of responsibility and evaluate potential risks of research activities

EDUCATION QUALIFICATION

Career Requirements

Degree Level Ph.D.

Degree Field Bioinformatics or related field

Experience Research positions and postdoctoral appointments are common

Key Skills Analytical, critical-thinking, communication, problem-solving, logical thinking, advanced mathematical skills.

KNOWLWDGE AREAS REQUIRED

Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

  Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services. 

Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labour relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.

Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modelling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


SKILLS

Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.

Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.

Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behaviour.

Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.

Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.

Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.


PERSONALITY TRAITS

Analytical Thinking - Job requires analysing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.

Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Self-Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behaviour, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

ABILITIES

Verbal

Communicate by writing

Read and understand what is written

Ideas and Logic

Make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information

Notice when problems happen

Math

Choose the right type of math to solve a problem

Add, subtract, multiply, or divide

Memory

Remember words, numbers, pictures, or steps


TECHNOLOGY SKILLS

Analytical or scientific software

SAS Hot Technology

The MathWorks MATLAB Hot Technology

Object or component-oriented development software

C++ Hot Technology

Python Hot Technology

Web platform development software

Hypertext mark-up language HTML Hot Technology

Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP Hot Technology


JOB OUTLOOK

The Bureau of Labour Statistics doesn’t do a great job of breaking down specializations like data science and bioinformatics, tending to lump everything under Mathematicians and Statisticians. For that category, the BLS says the job outlook from 2016 to 2026 is 33 percent, much faster than average, and that the median pay in 2017 was $84,760 with a Master’s Degree. Statisticians were cited as one of the fastest-growing occupations, at 34 percent, and epidemiologist having a growth rate of 9 percent and median pay of a Master’s Degree candidate of $69,660.In 2018, O*NET Online, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labour, projected job growth for bioinformatics scientists in the U.S to be 5 to 9 percent and as high as 12 percent in California. They projected that from 2016 to 2026 there would be 3,700 new job openings and that total employment in 2016 was 39,000 staffers. According to the same survey, median wages in 2017 were $76,690 annually for bioinformatics scientists and $47,700 for technicians. And the Bioinformatics Home blog correctly notes, “In any case, median salaries give only a vague idea of reality since the wages vary enormously between levels of employment. “Bottom line? If you have expertise, training and an interest in data science and the life sciences, the area of bioinformatics is booming and continuing to grow with high demand and excellent salaries.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is bioinformatics a demand?

What is the career outlook for Bioinformatics (2018-2026)? The simple answer to this question is that the overall outlook is excellent, the demand outweighs the supply, but the devil is in the details as usual. Nevertheless, it is good to be a bioinformatics scientist


Is bioinformatics a good career?

The role of big data in bioinformatics is to provide repositories of data, better computing facilities, and data manipulation tools for data analysis. According to experts, Biology is going to be the Next Big Thing in Data Science. Yes, bioinformatics is itself a great area of research at present


Which country is best for bioinformatics?

Canada has some great bioinformatics groups. USA and the UK have a ton as well. Israel has some good programs as well, especially in evolution.


Is bioinformatics a hard major?

Bioinformatics is such a broad topic and application that it’s hard to give everyone the same advice when it comes to doing bioinformatics. Honestly, if I had to redo it, I would double major in computer science and biology and get research experience along the way


How much do Bioinformaticians make?

Bioinformatics scientists earn an average yearly salary of $79,590. Wages typically start from $45,030 and go up to $126,390.


How much does a PHD in bioinformatics make?

What is the average salary for jobs related to "bioinformatics PhD"? The average salary for "bioinformatics PhD" ranges from approximately $97,619 per year for Scientist to $139,882 per year for Software Architect.


What is the difference between bioinformatics and biostatistics?

Biostatistics is the integration of statistics with Biology. On the other hand, Bioinformatics is the incorporation of computer science and information technology with molecular biology. It is concerned with the investigation and processing of large sets of biological information.


What are the objectives of bioinformatics?

The field of bioinformatics has three main objectives: To organize vast reams of molecular biology data in an efficient manner; to develop tools that aid in the analysis of such data; and to interpret the results accurately and meaningfully.


Can a biostatistician become a data scientist?

Yes, a good statistician can become a good data scientist provided he has sound knowledge of the domain he is working in and a good programming background and experience and some other most widely used tools. However, Statistics is old way of looking at data.



What is the work of biostatistician?

What Does a Biostatistician Do? Biostatisticians analyse data and statistics on living things collected during medical research studies to draw conclusions or make predications. They may also contribute to the design and execution of research studies in collaboration with other statisticians and scientists.


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