Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Take a Bioinformatics Course to Start a Cutting-Edge Career

In the most common of terms, bioinformatics is a field that merges biology with information technology and computers. It entails the creation and advancement of databases, algorithms, computational and statistical techniques and theory to solve formal and practical problems arising from the management and analysis of biological data. Due to a recent increase in the available biological data types, there is a demand for skilled specialists who have attended a bioinformatics course. In fact, demand exceeds supply, ensuring that you will obtain a job upon graduation from a reliable post-secondary program.

Centennial offers its Bioinformatics of Software Professionals program in a one-year, graduate certificate format. It is the first of its kind in Canada to provide 12 months of concentrated training that results in a post-degree bioinformatics certificate targeted to students with existing software backgrounds. Those interested should submit an official transcript demonstrating proof of successful completion of a four-year degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering or related discipline, from an accredited college or university. They are also expected to submit a resume.

Courses within the program range from Bioinformatics Tools, Databases & Models, and Biochemistry, to Ethics & Intellectual Property, Computational Intelligence, Developing Bioinformatics Tools, and more. In addition, students have the opportunity to gain an upper hand on graduates from other programs, as Centennial College offers a paid co-op placement. In order to participate in the co-op component, students must obtain a minimum GPA 2.5 or above in their bioinformatics courses.

Upon graduation, students can obtain job titles such as: application, software or database developer; bioinformatics analyst, bioinformatics software developer, bioinformatics and research technician. Employment positions in bioinformatics for software professionals are found at research centers, universities, private companies and government institutions. Skills in bioinformatics course can also be utilized in the pharmaceutical, agricultural and environmental industries and in all areas of biotechnology.

One example of a career in bioinformatics is that of a research technician who uses computer programs to gather, analyze and track data about specific biological functions or characteristics in order to gain a better understanding of complex biological activities. Another route is to become an analyst or programmer. This person builds programs by using computational formulas to determine outcomes based on biological projects or research. Yet another popular option is taking on the role of a bioinformatics software developer, who works with the software development team to provide software solutions that address scientific challenges. This person also participates in design, review, coding, testing, troubleshooting and support for custom developed software solutions.

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