Bioinformatics is an exciting and new field of biological sciences that uses computer programming to manage biological information. While common perception is that biology is limited to field work and lab assays, many fail to see that the results from experiments have to be analysed and processed before they can published a scientific finding in the media.
Many colleges offering undergraduate degrees in Bioinformatics require a background of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology. Additionally, you will be required to cope with a lot of computer based work, coding, programming and database management.
Bioinformatics is a relatively new field that emerged after the advent of computers, and is growing very rapidly. As scientists aim to make their discoveries more credible, they start building larger and larger data sets. Bioinformatics allows these researchers to translate results from the laboratory onto a computer for easy analysis. Computational Biology is one of the main sub-disciplines in Bioinformatics, and here, the researcher uses programming code to test or validate his data in a rapid and efficient manner while minimizing errors.
A career in Bioinformatics will involve completely computer and internet related work. There are many facets to this fascinating field – database management is one of the most important careers in Bioinformatics. There are many online databases that manage all the biological information regarding proteins and the living systems (for example, UniProt, EMBL, NCBI etc.) and each new entry they receive has to be categorized and reviewed before it can be made public. This may seem pointless but without standardized information, research work may get lost and impede global research.
Bioinformatics can also provide a fulfilling career in programming and coding. Every day new information is discovered, and there exists a need to create software, packages, or even programs that can efficiently analyse the results of experiments to provide a readable output that can be used for further research. Bioinformatics provides a background in many standard programming languages (usually C, C++ and Perl), and you can use these as a background to further your knowledge and create powerful software like Wolfram Mathematical, R programming or even SPSS.
Bioinformatics seeks to make biological results more efficient and easy to generate using computers. With a basic knowledge of Biology and a love for programming, logic and mathematics, a career in Bioinformatics can be extremely rewarding and useful to the scientific community at large. It is a rapidly expanding career path that is uncovering potential and opportunities almost all the time.