Career Options in Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is a relatively new subject of study, and it refers to the use of computer science and information technology in the fields of medicine and biology. Web technology, information systems, soft computing, software engineering, artificial intelligence, algorithms, data mining, signal processing, statistics, discrete mathematics and circuit theory are all an integral part of Bioinformatics. Therefore, one can say that a bioinformatician needs to study principles of science and engineering as part of his course program.

Institutes Offering Courses in Bioinformatics 

Several education institutes across India have introduced the Bioinformatics course after the subject started generating several employment opportunities in India and abroad. The most popular institutes for studying Bioinformatics are:

  • Bharathiyar University
  • Madurai Kamaraj University
  • SRM University
  • Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
  • Amity Institute of Biotechnology
  • University of Allahabad
  • Jamia Milia Islamia University
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology
  • Vellore Institute of Technology
  • Vels Group of Institutions
  • The Bose institute
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Institute of Microbial Technology
  • Indian Institute of Science

Types of Bioinformatics Courses 
The different types of courses in bioinformatics that you can choose from to be a part of the competitive job market are:

B.Sc, B.Tech 
Eligibility Criteria - completion of 10+2 examinations with Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology as the compulsory subjects in standard XII. You will also need to score at least 60 percent in the respective subjects in the 10+2 board examinations.
Duration of Course - 4 years

MS, M.Tech
Eligibility Criteria - successful completion of B.Tech degree. Students with a Graduation certificate in Computer Science with Biology as the additional subject in college level are also eligible to pursue higher studies in Bioinformatics.
Duration of Course - 2 years

PG Diploma
Eligibility Criteria - 
successful completion of 10+2 level examinations with 60 percent in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science.
Duration of Course - 6 months to 1 year

Entrance Examinations to Enroll in Bioinformatics Course 

To pursue the course at the Indian Institute of Technology, you will have to qualify the IIT – JEE entrance examinations. Put greater stress on the learning of subjects like Biotechnology, Computer Science and Molecular Biology during the preparation stage. The entrance examination comprises objective questions from the high school textbooks. Adequate knowledge on every subject of science is necessary. The candidate will however have a choice from a set of questions and can choose to answer those that match his / her subject background. Interest in Science and an experimental bent of mind is very necessary for studying Bioinformatics.

Cost of Studying Bioinformatics 

The course fee of Bioinformatics is sometimes a pinch on the common man’s pocket. The tuition fees range anywhere between 70,000 to 1,00,000 for 3 semesters. Added to this is the laboratory fee which is another 30,000 and a security deposit of 30,000. However, a student and his parents have the option to pay the fees in installments throughout the year.

Career Prospects in Bioinformatics 

The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) has listed Bioinformatics as one of the fastest growing industries in India and abroad. This is the reason why grants are being provided by the government to institutes teaching the course, so that all institutes may be fully equipped to impart education on Bioinformatics and prepare the students to seek a bright career in the job market.

Students who have pursued a degree in Bioinformatics from a premier institute of India can be a part of all leading IT firms in the country. Bioinformatics is increasingly becoming a popular option to explore in the filed of information technology. Software companies employ bioinformationists from time to time.

Besides IT and software, knowledge of Bioinformatics can also be applied in agricultural companies, biotech and biomedical organizations and pharmaceutical companies. You can also be an academician after completing Bioinformatics studies. The position that one holds after pursuing a degree in Bioinformatics are:

  • System Analyst
  • Technical Support
  • Database Designer / Administrator
  • Applications Analyst
  • Programmer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Marketing Department

Average Salary Package in Bioinformatics 

A handsome pay package follows completion of a course in Bioinformatics. You may earn anywhere around 10,000 to 50,000 per month as a project assistant, assistant programmer or content editor as a bioinformatician. The salary depends on the degree, the institute that the candidate has passed out from and his experience. Bioinformaticians are in great demand in countries in the US and Europe.

Top Companies in the Field of Bioinformatics 

In a survey conducted in the year 2010, NASSCOM names a few Indian companies which have emerged as the leading bioinformatics firms in the country. A few among them are:

  • GVK Biosciences
  • Ranbaxy
  • AstraZeneca Research Centre
  • Torrent Pharmaceuticals
  • Dr Reddy’s Laboratories
  • Biscon
  • Strand Life Sciences
  • Celera Genomics
  • Avestha Gengraine Technologies Private Limited
  • CuraGen