Bioinformatics is the field of science in which biology, computer science, and information technology combine into a single discipline. A bioinformatician's goal is to develop new biological insight with help from the computer analysis of data. Using data, they create and maintain databases to store biological information like gene maps and protein models.
Bioinformatics utilizes mathematical and computer techniques to analyze chemical data to solve biological problems at the molecular level. Bioinformaticians play an essential role in gathering and interpreting data from the genome sequencing of diverse organisms, though they most commonly focus on humans.
Bioinformatics is one of the most challenging fields in healthcare today, but it is key to the future of biotechnology. Bioinformaticians lead the way in discovering the secrets of genetic structure and behavior, employing cutting edge methods to be among the first to explore new frontiers in genomic and genetic science.
Working Conditions & Context
Bioinformaticians typically work a 40-hour week in a laboratory setting. Those with advanced degrees and considerable experience in their field may teach at the university level or pursue independent research projects.
A typical Salary Range for this career is $35,620 - $101,030 annually.
The Median Income for this career is about $65,080 annually.
Students interested in bioinformatics should take as many biology and computer science courses as possible. Classes like molecular biology and biochemistry are especially important, as are computer courses focusing on programming languages. Any course that helps develop an understanding of logic, set theory, and statistics will be very helpful.
Many universities in the United States offer programs in bioinformatics, and students wishing to pursue a career in the field can start there. Others might consider majoring in a related field, then pursuing a graduate degree in bioinformatics later on.
Entry-level positions are available for individuals with Bachelor's degrees, but to remain competitive and assume positions of seniority, a person will need to obtain at least a Master's degree.
Certification & Licensing:
The Bioinformatics Organization
The National Center for Biotechnology Information
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The American Association for the Advancement of Science
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.