How to Become a Bioinformatics Professional

1 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.

2 Stay abreast of new developments in Bioinformatics and biotechnology.

  • This highly technological field is undergoing rapid changes.
  • The Bioinformatics Organization offers continuing education courses.

3 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.

4 Study college level biology.

  • Biology courses should include analytical techniques and molecular biology.

5 Take math courses, particularly those for biologists.

  • Biostatistics is an important discipline in Bioinformatics.

6 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.

7 Learn to identify the right questions to ask in addition to the methodologies to apply.


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