Friday, December 30, 2011

Bioinformatics Courses Result in Futuristic Career

Do job titles such as bioinformatics analyst, bioinformatics and research technician, application, software or database developer; and bioinformatics software developer interest you? Have you completed a college advanced diploma or university degree in computer science, software engineering or related discipline? Can you offer proof of English proficiency as well as a transcript of your college record and resume? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you may want to consider attending bioinformatics courses at Centennial College in Toronto, Ont.

Before we look at the bioinformatics courses of Centennial College, let’s take a look at the field and what entails. Bioinformatics is an exciting new area that merges biology with information technology and computers. It uses 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. Recently, there has been a demand for professionals who have attended bioinformatics courses at a reputable post-secondary institution. This demand actually exceeds supply, and employment is found at research centers, universities, private companies and government institutions. However, skills in bioinformatics can also be utilized in the pharmaceutical, agricultural and environmental industries and in all areas of biotechnology.

Centennial College’s bioinformatics courses prepare students for work in all of these places in a concentrated training format, which is completed in 12 months and results in a post-degree bioinformatics certificate. Due to its pace, this program (officially known as Bioinformatics for Software Professionals) is targeted to students with existing software backgrounds. Faculty members who lead the bioinformatics courses in the program are knowledgeable and approachable with diverse business experience and academic credentials and encourage a mature learning environment.

Meanwhile the bioinformatics courses themselves are intensive, hands-on and problem-based. They include course work and an individual research thesis. Specific bioinformatics courses within the program include: Molecular Biology and Genomics (students are introduced to the exciting field of molecular biology through an analysis of its origins, exploration of its key concepts, and an investigation into its future potential. Topics covered include genes, genomes, functional genomics, and the major tools and techniques used in the field of molecular biology); Current Topics in Bioinformatics (introduces “culture” of bioinformatics through an analysis of current applications and exciting advances in the field. Subject matter will vary based on invited guests, but may include topics in comparative genomics, pharmacogenomics, microbial genomics, systems biology or environmental bioinformatics); Database Design and Biological Data Management (students design, utilize, and integrate biological databases to facilitate novel approaches for biological data management, retrieval and analysis. Students also evaluate major database implementation issues and demonstrate software project management skills); and more.

To balance these in-school bioinformatics courses, this program also has a co-op component, which gives students a unique skill set and training that are in high demand in the field. Upon graduation students who have completed all of the bioinformatics courses at Centennial College have been hired by: OICR, Ontario health network, Ontario hospitals and the provincial government.

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