Bioinformatics is an amalgamation of biology and informatics, where computer applications are used for accessing the biological data. Responsibilities of a bioinformatics programmer / analyst comprise processing the complex medical and research data into computer applications for data management. Such procedures are required to convert the DNA based research information into computer based program and creating its multiple databases.
A bioinformatics programmer is required to carry out certain DNA and molecular biology based research projects and run them in computational programming systems, carry out the automation of genomic processes, and simplify the analyzed data in computer systems. Bioinformatics is an upcoming branch of science, and its demand will increase in the near future. Due to increasing possibilities of research in the field of DNA sequencing and genome analysis, there are lots of growth opportunities available for the bioinformatics specialist.
Bioinformatics programming is a specialized job profile, where one needs to have a fair knowledge in database programming and biotechnology. Bioinformatics programmer, bioinformatics specialist, and bioinformatics analyst are synonym terms for professionals involved in programming algorithms that suit the requirement of living materials. The key responsibilities of a bioinformatics programmer comprise formulating a series of computer based algorithms for data management of large sequence of living material.
The main responsibilities of a bioinformatics programmer include:
Required Qualifications and Skills
The basic qualification needed to enter the field of bioinformatics is Bachelor of science degree in bioinformatics or computational biology, though the master's degree in the same is preferred if you are applying for this post. A bioinformatics programmer should have the basic knowledge about the principles of gene sequencing, proteomics, etc., and experience with handling bioinformatics tools like Ensembl, SAS or R, and in-depth knowledge of various programming languages like Perl and Python, C/C++, Java, J2EE, RDBMS systems like MySQL or Oracle is required for obtain a better position in the field of bioinformatics. Previous experience in computing and other related biotechnological / bioinformatics field is considered.
Apart from programming skills, a bioinformatics programmer is required to have management skills for effective work performance. Also, he needs to possess clear communication skills for translating the research data into project reports. Additional knowledge in other related fields like systems biology, biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, etc., is always welcome.
A bioinformatics programmer is expected to work for a minimum of 40 hours per week in indoor settings, either in an office or in a laboratory. No field work is assigned for the technical professionals in the field of bioinformatics. A bioinformatics programmer spends most of his work time in a controlled temperature settings, working with computer based programming systems. A laboratory meeting with research scientists is organized on occasional basis for facilitating the research.
Average salary of a bioinformatics programmer falls in between $60,000 to $1,00,000 annually, and it is likely to grow with increase in professional experience.
With advancement of genomics, DNA sequencing, and Human Genome Project, there is a growing need for bioinformatics programmers who are familiar with both biotechnological processes and informatics. Currently, bioinformatics is one of the highly sought out field with great career prospects. If you have the intellect and aptitude to pursue a career in this field as a programmer, it is advisable to have a thorough look at the roles and responsibilities of a bioinformatics programmer.