Engineering and Medical are generally seen as two of the most popular career options among students in India after completing their XIIth boards. A new area that is rapidly becoming popular among students is Biotechnology. Though this is not a new field, there have been lots of advances in technology in this area in recent times. This has caused the demand for biotechnology graduates to skyrocket. Consequently, many companies today offer excellent packages for fresh biotechnology graduates. As a result, more and more students are opting for a career in biotechnology rather than in traditional areas. Thus, the demand for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in biotechnology is at an all-time high.
Biotechnology is often seen as an amalgamation of biology and engineering. The scope of biotechnology is vast and encompasses such diverse applications as development of new vaccines and medicines, genetic modification, food processing, and so on. Given the vast application of biotechnology, it is no wonder that this area offers such excellent job opportunities for young graduates. As the demand for biotechnology graduates has been growing, more and more students are choosing this field. Correspondingly, in order to meet the demand from students, many top universities today offer various courses in biotechnology and allied areas. Thus, a single large city like Bangalore alone would have many top universities and colleges that offer many highly reputed programs and courses in biotechnology, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. What this means is that a student interested in any biotechnology course, for example M.Sc. in Biotechnology, would be spoilt for choices – he or she will have the option of choosing the best college and the best course according to his or her interests from among a wide variety of options.
To have a wide variety of choices at your disposal is, of course, a privilege and an advantage. However, this privilege also means that in order to make rational choices, you need to have good knowledge and awareness. In order to be able to choose the best biotechnology course for yourself, you need to first understand the different career opportunities available for biotechnology specialists. Once you are aware of these opportunities, you will be able to decide which career path appeals most to you and therefore, which course is ideal for you. So, let us quickly look at the typical career opportunities available in the field of biotechnology.
1. Biochemist and Biophysicist
Biotechnology is a knowledge intensive field. Accordingly, research oriented careers are among the most common and most rewarding careers in this field. Biochemists and biophysicists typically work as research scientists in large corporations. Such scientists study how living things function and then use this knowledge to improve our lives. They may study proteins, enzymes, DNA, etc. and may work towards eliminating or curing certain diseases. They may work towards creating new types of organic fuel. They may work towards creating genetically modified plants, etc. Companies working in areas like pharmaceuticals, energy, food, etc. are among the biggest recruiters of biochemists and biophysicists.
2. Biomedical engineer
Biomedical engineers too work as research scientists. The difference between biomedical engineers and biochemists or biophysicists is that biomedical engineers would work almost exclusively in pharmaceutical companies or in large hospital-cum-research centers or in companies that specialize in making medical tools, devices and instruments. Biomedical engineers would typically design and invent new medicines, discover new ways to cure diseases, and devise new diagnostic and palliative tools and devices.
3. Food Scientist and Technologist
Nutrition and food science is another popular field in biotechnology. Food scientists would study the nutritional requirements of people and would design better diet programs. They would study the impact of different types of food on various body types, the palliative properties of various foods, the methods of preserving and processing food, and so on. They would use technologies and methods such as genetic modification and selective breeding to design better foods for people and thereby improve the general health of the populace. Companies working in areas like pharmaceuticals, foods, chemicals, etc. typically employ food scientists. Many hospitals too have food scientists on their panel and many food scientists also start their own private practice.
Some of the worst killers known to man are too small for us to even see them with the naked eye – bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. can sometimes be helpful but often, they are quite deadly to us humans. Microbiologists are humanity’s last line of defence against such invisible predators. These scientists study various microorganisms, their functioning, and their impact on the human body. They design medicines, vaccines, and other tools that defend us against microbes. Microbiologists typically work in companies that deal with pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and food and nutrition.
5. Agricultural scientist
Agriculture is another area that is heavily dependent on biotechnology and agricultural scientists play an extremely important role. These scientists work towards improving farm productivity, plant health, etc. They may design new methods of agriculture, new insecticides, herbicides, and so on. They may work towards eliminating weeds or towards improving the health and yield of farm and dairy animals. Such scientists are often employed by dairy companies, farm products’ companies and even by governmental and non-governmental agencies.
These are some of the most popular career opportunities for biotechnology specialists. As you can see, most of these jobs involve research. Biotechnology is a knowledge intensive area and this reflects in the career opportunities available to students who opt for this field. So, now that you know about the top career opportunities in biotechnology, you are well equipped to choose your career path in this exciting and highly respected field.
All the Best!