How to Become a Bioinformatics Professional

Bioinformatics is a growing industry that combines biology, computer science and math. In order to become a Bioinformatics professional, you must enjoy analyzing and interpreting data. These professionals study issues related to biotechnology, including gene sequencing and protein structures. Bioinformaticians develop new algorithms to analyze relationships within data sets and prediction protein functions. Bioinformatics is also referred to as computational biology.

Steps

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    Understand what Bioinformaticians do.
    • Broadly, computational biology is involved with developing and implementing tools in order to use and manage biological data.
    • The medical field is a major employer of Bioinformaticians, but they are also needed in industry and agriculture.
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    Stay abreast of new developments in Bioinformatics and biotechnology.
    • This highly technological field is undergoing rapid changes.
    • The Bioinformatics Organization offers continuing education courses.
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    Become proficient in computer science.
    • This includes database administration and programming skills.
    • UNIX is currently the preferred operating system platform.
    • Be able to write programs in computer languages such as PERL, SQL and C.
    • Learn to use genomic sequence analysis and molecular modeling programs.
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    Study college level biology.
    • Biology courses should include analytical techniques and molecular biology.
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    Take math courses, particularly those for biologists.
    • Biostatistics is an important discipline in Bioinformatics.
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    Pursue higher education. Undergraduate degrees can be in biology, computer science or biotechnology.
    • In graduate school, find a program that combines both disciplines, if possible; however the emphasis seems to be on molecular biology study with the acquiring of information technology skills.
    • Bioinformatics or computational biology programs are still fairly new.
    • Researchers should have a doctorate in biology, statistics or math.
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    Learn to identify the right questions to ask in addition to the methodologies to apply.

Tips

  • As the Bioinformatics field grows, Bioinformaticians may be limited in finding jobs unless they have a doctorate.
  • Companies like Accelrys create Bioinformatics software for other companies.

Article Info

Categories: Occupations