A career in Bioinformatics involves the application of computer science and other related fields to provide solutions to biological problems. This career path is relatively new. However, it is not impossible to have a great career in this field. This field encompasses areas such as statistics, mathematics, biology and computer science. Additionally, the theory behind the initiation of this field of study has been used to solve intricate problems in the past few years. Additionally, this field is highly innovative and has been used to discover new drug technology. It has also been used to discover areas such as gene expression studies and gene sequencing.
A bioinformatician or a bioinformatics scientist uses these techniques to identify new connections between a disease and the genetic sequences that cause it. These professionals can work within different medical science and health fields such as biology, genetics, proteomics and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, you can decide to specialise in different areas of speciality. Therefore, some professionals specialise in a biomedical research background while others specialise in computational tools.
This is an interesting field and I will guide you on how to start a career in Bioinformatics.
How to Start a Career in Bioinformatics
Have an O’level Certificate
You must complete your secondary education and obtain an O’level certificate. You should have a minimum of credits in subjects such as Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Computer Science.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
This is a vital phase in starting any career. When applying for jobs, most employers prefer people with bachelor’s degrees. You should apply to an accredited university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in disciplines such as Biology, computational biology, and Bioinformatics. Additionally, you can also gain a degree in related fields such as Biochemistry, genetics or molecular biology.
Gain Programming Skills
You need to have good programming skills if you want to start a career in Bioinformatics. Therefore, you can learn these skills through online courses, boot camps or a computer science program. You can learn programming languages such as Python, Perl and R.
Become Proficient in Databases
As a Bioinformatician, you will work with large datasets. Therefore, you must learn how to manage data using databases. You can learn about databases and gain proficiency in languages and database management systems. This will enable you to function properly in your work.
Pursue a Graduate Degree
You can pursue a master’s or PhD degree in areas such as Bioinformatics, Computational Biology or a related field. These degrees will give you advanced knowledge and skills in this field. You will also gain advanced knowledge in topics such as genomics, proteomics, statistical analysis and machine learning.
Gain Practical Experience
You must gain practical experience while pursuing your career in bioinformatics. Therefore, you should seek out opportunities to work in research laboratories, participate in projects and undergo internships. These experiences will allow you to use bioinformatics tools and techniques to solve practical problems. Additionally, it will allow you to hone your skills.
Choose an area of Specialisation
Specialising in a niche is the best method to achieve mastery and become an industry expert. You can begin by enrolling in niche-specific courses. This will give you the appropriate expertise that will set you apart from others in your field.
Stay Current with Industry Knowledge
Bioinformatics is a dynamic field. You have to keep up with the trends to understand the industry better. You can do this by keeping up with industry publications, events and certifications.
Network with Professionals
Having a mentor or an expert in this field is vital while starting your career. This enables you to develop your career and gain access to new opportunities.
Skills Required for a Career in Bioinformatics
- Bioinformatics Skills
- Statistical Skills
- Programming Skills
- General Biology Knowledge
- Knowledge of Genomics and Genetics
- Database Management
- Data Mining and Machine Learning
- Interpersonal Skills
Areas of Specialisation
Proteomics bioinformaticians are experts in analysing proteomic data, which encompasses information on protein expression and interactions between proteins. Therefore, they analyse protein-protein interactions, predict the structure and function of proteins, and identify protein sequences using computational techniques and tools.
These professionals are experts in studying intricate biological systems such as regulatory networks and metabolic pathways. Additionally, they also work on creating fresh approaches for studying intricate biological systems.
Clinical bioinformaticians are experts in the analysis of proteomic and genomic data for use in medical settings. Additionally, they work on developing individualized treatment regimens and interpreting genetic and proteomic data for diagnostic purposes.
Genomic bioinformaticians focus on the analysis of genomic data, such as DNA sequencing and gene expression data. Additionally, they could also be part of the study of genetic variation and the discovery of disease-causing mutations.
Structural bioinformaticians specialise in the analysis of protein and nucleic acid structures. Additionally, they might be working on the creation of fresh approaches to protein structure prediction.
Universities in Africa that Offer Bioinformatics
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Cairo University, Egypt
- University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
- Alexandria University, Egypt
- University of Pretoria, South Africa
- Ain Shams University, Egypt
- North-West University, South Africa
- University of Ibadan, Nigeria
- Beni-Suef University, Egypt
- Makerere University, Uganda
- Suez Canal University, Egypt
- Tanta University, Egypt
- Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
- University of Nigeria, Nigeria
- University of Nairobi, Kenya
- Minia University, Egypt
- University of Sfax, Tunisia
- University of Khartoum, Sudan
- Menoufia University, Egypt
- University of Monastir, Tunisia
- Helwan University, Egypt
- University of Ghana, Ghana
- Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
- Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeri
- Benha University, Egypt
- University of Malawi, Malawi
- University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
- Tunis University, Tunisia
- Mohammed V University, Morocco
- University of Lagos, Lagos
- Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
- Covenant University, Nigeria
- American University in Cairo, Egypt
- Durban University of Technology, South Africa
- University of Buea, Cameroon
- University of Mauritius, Mauritius
- Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria
- University of Zambia, Zambia
- University of Gondar, Ethiopia
In Conclusion, a career in bioinformatics is constantly evolving as technology advances. Venturing into this field would bring you perks such as job security and a high salary rate. This is a career path that requires diligence and consistency to scale through. However, the return it gives, in the long run, is worth every investment you put into this career.