Bioinformatics is a degree program that combines mathematics, computer science, and biology. There are three main scientific applications of bioinformatics: genome mapping, evolutionary biology, and protein modeling. Bioinformatics is essential to the use of genomic information in understanding human diseases. Those who have a degree in bioinformatics develop and improve methods for storing, retrieving, organizing, and analyzing biological data. Bioinformatics is found to be the most useful in genetic engineering and biotechnology; however, more career possibilities are available. There are career opportunities within the federal government, state government, post-secondary schools, scientific research and development, and pharmaceutical companies. Because it is such a new field, expect to see proportionate growth in the job market in the future.
Bioinformatics students learn how to interpret complex biological information, model and research DNA, and perform analysis of sequence data using sophisticated software. Course instruction includes molecular genetics, statistics, calculus, chemistry, programming structures, computer science, cell biology, and genomics. Important skills to have are observation, data-analysis, and communication.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the median annual wage for biological scientists as $72,700 in which the lowest ten percent earned $41,890 and the highest 90 percent earned $112,400 in May 2012. In addition, the BLS listed the top paying states for biological scientists as Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, Indiana, and the District of Columbia.
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