Bioinformatics entails the use of computers to manipulate biological information. Reading the following may help you decide whether a career in bioinformatics might appeal to you.
Are you good at math? Do you like using computers and other technological devices? Is biology one of your favorite subjects? If you answer yes to these questions, then a career in bioinformatics might be a good fit for you.
Bioinformatics is at the crossroads of the biological information and the computer sciences required for managing, understanding and processing biological information such as the human genome and the structural components of proteins. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, you would be able to choose your focus within bioinformatics according to your interest, including biochemistry, biophysics, algorithms, computer programming and database management - all which are key components of the field.
Bioinformatics belongs to the broader biological sciences field, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects will expand faster than the average during 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that, by May of 2010, biochemists and biophysicists (two of the positions closely involved with bioinformatics) had an average annual income of $86,580, while microbiologists (another related position) earned $72,030.
Since it's a complex field, bioinformatics requires advanced degrees in bioinformatics and high specialization, which you should take into consideration if you want to become a bioinformatics technician or researcher. If you wish to work in bioinformatics, a master's degree in bioinformatics is the minimum needed to work in research; however, a doctoral degree would not only qualify you for research but also for teaching at the college level. You may opt to pursue a bachelor's degree in microbiology, computer science or similar programs with a concentration or minor in bioinformatics in order to prepare yourself for a graduate level program. Coursework in bioinformatics typically includes advanced math, computer programming, logic, molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, statistics and genetics.