Bioinformatics is the field of science that constitutes mathematical, statistical and computational approaches that aim to analyze, manage and store biological data.
The term bioinformatics was coined by Pauline Hogweg in 1979 for the study of informatics process in biotic systems. Its primary application since the late 1980s has been in the area of genomics and genetics involving large scale DNA sequencing.
Scientists mapped the genomes of various organisms but storing or compiling of that huge biological data is a very challenging task so bioinformatics plays a vital role to overcome this problem.
Researchers are not only able to store their biological data easily but they can extract the required information from the mass of the data quickly by the help of bioinformatics tools.
Designing of these tools is quite simple so that biologists can use them easily, as they are not much aware of the computers and these tools are available on the internet.
The wide range of computational techniques available to researchers includes sequence and structural alignment, database design and data mining, macromolecular geometry, Phylogenetic tree construction, prediction of protein structure and function, gene finding, and expression data clustering.
Bioinformatics has a great impact in the fields of human health, agriculture, environment and biotechnology, advance biomedical research and development. Pharmacogenomics, a branch of bioinformatics has enabled to develop more effective clinical medicines.
It is being used now in the area of molecular medicine to produce better and more customized medicines to prevent or cure diseases. In the environmental field, bioinformatics can be used for identifying waste cleanup bacteria and in agricultural it can be used for producing low maintenance and high yield crops.
Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing career field and emerging scientific discipline. The career prospects in bioinformatics have been steadily increasing with more and more use of information technology in the many fields of biotechnology.
There are different types of career opportunities available for different stream students, Scientific Curator, Gene Analyst, Protein Analyst, Phylogenetic, Research Scientist / Associate, Database programmer, Bioinformatics software developer, Computational biologist, Network Administrator / Analyst, Structural analyst, Molecular Modeler, Bio-statistician, Bio-mechanics, Database programmer, Cheminformatician, Pharmacogenetics, Pharmacogenomics, Research Scientist and Associate.
Some renounced companies like NETPATH, PATHBUILDER, RAPID, HUMAN PROTEINPEDIA, HPRD, etc have great opportunities for bioinformatics students. Software platforms designed to teach bioinformatics concepts and methods include Rosalind and online courses offered through the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics Training Portal.
The Canadian Bioinformatics Workshops provides videos and slides from training workshops on their website under a Creative Commons license. The 4273π project or 4273pi project also offers open-source educational materials for free.