Who's a Biotechnologist?
Do you enjoy learning about biology and different living things – how they work and what they do? Are you curious about how science and technology have made everything so easy? If so, consider a career in biotechnology! As a Biotechnologist, you will essentially study biotechnology. Biotechnology commonly translates to a mixture of biology and technology.
Your role will be to produce useful products from living systems. You will be required to conduct experiments in government and private laboratories to modify or manipulate living organisms to develop new products in the fields of health, agriculture, cell biology, plant physiology, seed technology, etc. Curious to know more about this career? Keep scrolling!
What will you do?
Designing and Monitoring Research Studies
As a Biotechnologist, you will implement and supervise research studies on living organisms to find industrial uses for their physical and chemical attributes.
For example: You will study the chemical and physical attributes of food, cells, tissues or bacteria to solve real-world problems.
Performing Data Analysis
You will perform data analysis to interpret the results of your experiments, produce findings reports and present them to other team members.
For example, you will write technical papers describing the methods you used to conclude your research.
Ensuring Strict Standards of Quality
You will follow strict regulatory and quality standards to ensure your experiments are safe.
For example, to ensure the progress of your research, you will lead, guide and oversee the technical staff in experiments and laboratory safety procedures.
Using the Latest Technology to Cure Illnesses
Your major role as a biotechnologist will involve developing therapies, vaccines and hormones to treat the cause of diseases. You will also produce medicines using techniques like cell culture and genetic modification.
For example, a disease is spreading rapidly, in this case, you will help scientists and other professionals find the cure by developing new technologies or products.
Inventing Biodegradable Materials
Environmental biotechnology has a demand for biodegradable materials from plant starch. It will be your responsibility to produce more environmentally friendly raw materials for the industry.
For example, there has been a rise in the demand for biodegradable plastics. As a biotechnologist, you will find more ways to produce such products.
Staying Updated with the Latest Developments
You will study topics such as human genetics, proteins, antibodies, plants, fungi and bacteria. It is important to stay updated with the latest advances in biotechnology to utilise new techniques, products and processes.
For example, if a new virus is on the rise, you will use your skills to research the virus and keep up with the latest developments of its spread, mutation and cure.
Where will you work?
You will work in laboratories, where you will collaborate with a team of scientists and researchers on various technological developments. Here, you will work according to the shift timings set by your organisation. In case of a deadline, you may have to work long hours. You may also be asked to travel occasionally for conferences.
You will spend most of your day working from the comfort of your office. You will work in healthcare companies, government-funded research labs, private or public universities, etc. Regardless of the work setting, you will work for a fixed schedule, so you won’t have to worry about long or irregular working hours.
How do you get there?
What skills would you need?
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How do you make it to the top ranks?
Pursuing your career locally VS abroad
Biotechnology offers an array of career opportunities in India. A postgraduate degree or MSc will further boost your employment opportunities and salary package. Some of the most popular and preferred roles you can explore are Biochemist, Quality Control Analyst, Senior Research Scientist, Biomedical Engineer, and Crime Lab Technician among others. If you have a master’s degree in BioSciences, you can work with both corporate and government sectors. You’d mostly be employed by drug (pharmaceutical) companies, chemical or bioprocessing industries, agriculture-related industries, and pollution control industries.
If you’re planning to pursue your education in India, a bachelor’s course in Biotechnology should cost you anywhere between INR 25,000 to INR 7,00,000 and a master’s course in Biotechnology should cost you anywhere between INR 40,000 to INR 2,40,000 per year.
A master’s degree in Biotechnology makes you eligible for most research jobs. Some organisations even consider students who have qualified for national level entrance exams like DBT BET, CSIR NET, GATE, ARS NET, ICMR JRF, etc. As a qualified biotechnologist, you can also opt to do a PhD, which makes you eligible for a corporate research job or as a professor in a university.
This is a field with a great demand abroad. If you are looking for opportunities after your master’s degree, you need to be well aware of the latest technologies and advancements in this fast-emerging field. International companies will check your proficiency across many disciplines of biotechnology. This makes it difficult for people who are trained in just one discipline. However, securing a job abroad is not an easy task. One way to go about it would be to study your master’s course abroad after a few years’ experience, and take up as many internships as possible during your course.
Germany and the USA are known to be the best countries to pursue your career in Biotechnology. The average salary for biotechnologists abroad is around USD 58,175 per annum. Some of the prominent organisations that hire postgraduates in Biotechnology are Baxter, Merck, Biocon, Bio-ceramics, Torrent Pharma, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cipla, Ranbaxy, Cadila Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Invitrogen, IFGL, Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer among others.
A bachelor’s course in Biotechnology should cost you anywhere between USD 4,000 USD to 45,000 per year. A master’s course in Biotechnology should cost you anywhere between USD 5,000 to 50,000 per year. If you want to know more about studying biotechnology abroad, click here.
How much would you get paid?
As a biotechnologist, your salary broadly depends on the area of your employment, the organisation you’re working with and your experience in the field. The annual pay scale ranges from INR 2.1 lakhs for an entry-level biotechnologist to INR 60 lakhs for an experienced chief scientist.
What are your career options?
As a Medical Biotechnologist, you will apply biotechnology to the field of healthcare. You’d be at the heart of the healthcare industry, developing diagnostic kits, vaccines, biologics, drugs, or medical machinery. Your primary responsibility would be contributing to the advancement of the medical sector and biotechnology domains such as molecular biology, cell biology, recombinant technology, and immunotherapeutics.
Previously, a Pharmaceutical Biotechnologist’s job involved only discovering and developing small molecules (drugs), but the industry has evolved over time. As a Pharmaceutical Biotechnologist, you will develop new products, new methods and processes and improve the existing methods in the field.
Plants provide many of the world’s raw materials and food. As a Plant Biotechnologist, you’ll contribute to bringing the best of agriculture to the general public. Low crop yield, crop quality deterioration, infestation, weeds, loss of soil fertility, abiotic stress, and biotic stress are some of the real-world issues you’ll encounter.
The increasing human population is proportional to the demand for food. As a food biotechnologist, you will work towards solving difficulties in food production, processing and preservation. Your primary responsibility would be to identify alternative food sources. You’ll also assist in the introduction of technology that aims to improve food production, processing, packaging and preservation.
As an environmental biotechnologist, you will help rebalance nature, ecology and human interests. For instance, the disposal of plastic has always been a problem. Oil spills and the accumulation of heavy metals in natural sources of water and soil are a few other crises. Your responsibility will be to address these issues by using biotechnology.
As a Bioinformatician, you will deal with the analysis of biological, genomic and molecular data. Your responsibilities would include managing and processing biological and health research with the help of other specialists in the field. Here, you can choose to specialise in a field of your choice with top job profiles in the field, such as Bio Analyst, Data Scientist, Informatics Developer, Bioinformatics Researcher and Pharmaco-genetic Engineer.