Does your heart beat faster at the thought of scientific data? Then this could be just the field for you. A marriage of IT and biotechnology, bioinformatics is about managing the huge volumes of data generated by research labs.
Why you should do it?
Bioinformatics is slated to be one of the most prodigious growth areas over the coming decades. It is currently a multi-billion dollar industry and still growing, which means loads of job opportunities.
What you need for it?
You can either be a biologist with IT skills, or an IT professional with interest in biology. One needs a fairly deep background in some aspect of molecular biology and experience with at least one or two major molecular biology software packages. You should also be comfortable working in a command-line computing environment and have experience with programming in a computer language.
There are several institutes in India and abroad that offer courses in this area. The Indian colleges include Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) in Bangalore, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Kharagpur, Bioinformatics Centre at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Madurai Kamaraj University, in Madurai, Pune University, Bioinformatics Institute of India in Noida, among others.
Salary: The starting package in India is around Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000. The going price for bioinformaticians with a year’s experience is around Rs 50,000 per month. Starting salaries in the USA range between $60,000 and $ 90,000 for professionals with a couple of years of experience.
Scope: There is no typical career path in this field. You can be anything from a scientific curator, gene analyst, protein analyst, phylogenitist, research scientist/associate to data base programmer, bioinformatics software developer, structural analyst, bio-statistician, bio-mechanics, among others.