How to Become a Bioinformatics Engineer

A Bioinformatics Engineer is an extremely specialized professional who uses their knowledge in Information Technology (IT), Biology and Computer Science to develop and design intricate databases that store detailed biological information.

An important and well known example of biological information currently being stored is the human genome which was developed and researched through the year 2003 by the Human Genome Project (HGP).

Individuals interested in working with complex biological information and research as well as Information Technology and Computer Science can look at the requirements needed to become a Bioinformatics Engineer

Education Requirements to Become a Bioinformatics Engineer

Individuals who want to become a Bioinformatics Engineer will need to learn a wealth information from different areas of specializations including: Engineering, Information Technology, Biology and Computer Science.

Recommended courses of study include a Bachelor’s degree in Bioinformatics Engineering.

During their undergrad career in Bioinformatics Engineering, an individual will take a variety of courses including:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecules
  • Cells and Genes
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Genetics
  • Statistics
  • Software Project Management
  • Biochemistry
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Database Systems and
  • Molecular Biology

As the list of classes suggests, individuals who want to become a Bioinformatics Engineer will need to focus their studies in mathematics, the sciences and computers in order to prepare themselves for this profession.

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Although not required, most employers seek candidates with higher levels of education.

For better job prospects, individuals should look at acquiring an advanced degree such as a Master’s or PhD in Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Molecular Biology, Genetics or a closely related field that provides the equivalent amount of education in Information Technology, Biology and Computer Science.

Bioinformatics Engineer Job Description

Bioinformatics Engineers work in the Biotechnology industry and are specially trained to collect, study and manage biological data.

Bioinformatics Engineers use their attention to detail to process biological information at the molecular level as well as maintaining bio molecular sequences databases.

Because of the amount of detail and amount of data being collected, Bioinformatics Engineers use computers to process and analyze the information gathered during research.

In addition, Bioinformatics Engineers conduct research and use the principles of bioinformatics theory to work in Medical Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology, Computational Biology, Biology, Computer Science and Medical Informatics fields.

Bioinformatics Engineers may also develop and design databases, create algorithms to process and analyze genomic or other biological information.

In addition, these professional may develop scientific software tools, software engineering, bioinformatics algorithm design, pipeline development and implementation.

Some typical day to day duties may also include:

  • Lead the development of bioinformatics methods and algorithms for genomic data generation and analysis
  • Incorporate bioinformatics tools for the delivery of efficient and automated pipelines for data analysis
  • Create and track the quality metrics for sequencing and variant detection workflows
  • Assist with the development of project plans

In addition to working extensively on projects, algorithms and other complex science and IT, Bioinformatics Engineers must also be able to work well with other individuals.

The development of projects requires working with other individuals and teams; the use of communication and interpersonal skills is also a quality and skill needed to succeed in these partnerships.

Bioinformatics Engineer Salary and Career Path

Biological Scientists, which includes Bioinformatics Engineers, can expect to earn a median wage of $72,720 per year according to 2013 figures.

Exact wages will depend on experience and the industry an individual works in.

For example, the highest earning Biological Scientists work in the Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing industry and earn an average wage of $102,430, while professionals working for state governments earn the lowest wages at $54,070 per year.

Individuals who are interested in this profession may also look at being a Database Manager, but Bioinformatics Engineers typically earn more money than these professionals because of the amount of detail that is analyzed and maintained by a Bioinformatics Engineer.

Because of the advances in science and the medical field, individuals pursuing a career as a Bioinformatics Engineer can use their specialized skills to work in a variety of industries therefore creating plenty of job opportunities and a strong career path.

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