Bioinformatics is an emerging field and has lots of research scope and that's the reason why students are showing profound interest in this field. Given below are some of the aspects of bioinformatics, which can provide ample of information to those who are interested in pursuing a career in this. This can also provide a clear insight to those who are still not aware of this new field of research.

How did bioinformatics originate?
The need for bioinformatics was ignited due to the requirement of huge databases for store biological information in the DNA and nucleotide level. GenBank, EMBL and DNA Database of Japan are the databases developed to store, compare and analyze various genome sequences. Though the initiation had a mere interest of storing biological database, but today bioinformatics database provides myriads of information like gene and protein functions, metabolic pathways of species, etc.
Under the flagship of the pioneer Margaret Dayhoff, bioinformatics got a new definition. The first protein database to be discovered was known as Atlas of Protein Sequences. One of the milestones of bioinformatics is the Human Genome Project. Apart from this various algorithms like Smith Waterman algorithm, FASTA algorithms are also developed for sequence alignment.

What is bioinformatics?
If we divide the whole term into two parts: "bio" and "informatics"; one can clearly understand that bioinformatics is a subject which requires the concept of biology and computer science. Going further deep, bioinformatics can be defined as manipulation and interpretation of biological data using the techniques of mathematics, statistics and computer science.

What are the important skills required to be a bioinformaticians?
For being a competent bioinformatician, one should have the following qualities:
• Should be well versed with the discoveries and innovations made in both national and international levels.
• Should have a thorough expertise in biology, mathematics, chemistry, statistics and computer science
• Should have the potential to come up with new ideas and objectives satisfying the ethics of humanity

What are the various professional courses available for this?
Bioinformatics is generally available for bachelors and masters degree level. And it is also available as Diploma, PG Diploma and Certificate courses. The minimum eligibility required for getting enrolled into a degree course in bioinformatics is 10+2 pass in mathematics, biology, physics and chemistry; for masters degree graduation is the minimum eligibility requirement.

What are the job prospects immediately after completion of the course?
This is quite a broad topic to discuss! Bioinformatics has ample of job opportunities. Both in international and national level there is a heavy demand for bioinformaticians because this subject targets three main areas which are in heavy demand in the job market: sound knowledge of computer science, software and database and biological issues. Therefore immediately after completing the course, one can go for any research institute and join as a Project Assistant (PA), Junior Research Fellow (JRF) or Senior Research Fellow (SRF). One can go opt for MNCs and other leading IT companies for a lucrative job. Apart from this, teaching is another promising job prospect for every bioinformatics graduate.

What is the status of this emerging field in India?
Well, it can be said that bioinformatics has just stepped into its teenage in India. Still there's a long way to go! India still needs to compete to among the already developed countries in this field. There are a lot of institutes (government and non-government) involved in this field of research, but what's worsening the status of bioinformatics is the unavailability of potential researchers in India, particularly in this niche. Lack of awareness among students regarding the scope and availability of jobs are the main reasons for this. Further, students are also uncertain regarding the stability of their future, if they choose bioinformatics as an income source.

What is the future of Bioinformatics both in the national and international level?
Though it's needless to say regarding the already established status of Bioinformatics abroad; but in context of Indian research sector there's still to go. The rising interest among researchers and students is showing a positive growth of research in this niche. So in simple words, it can be said that bioinformatics is sure to have a better future in India as it is currently having in the western countries.

About Author / Additional Info:
Maitree Baral holds a Masters degree in Bioinformatics and shows profound interest in sharing and discussing various aspects of Bioinformatics.