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Biotechnology as a career is among the first choices of most of the students after schooling who are interested in developing their career in biological sciences. India, saw biotechnology boom during the last decade but still many times the students are not clear about their career choices. They start as a biology student and end up in choosing doing job in completely different segment. There are lots of career options in biotechnology.
Here we have compiled most of the career options in biotechnology available to a student after schooling and what can help them in shaping their careers. This article is divided into Post School and Post College career options. The other main careers for biology students is to go for Medical or Pharmaceutical Sciences. We will skip those in this article. This article will mainly focus on non-medical and non-pharma courses.
The following education options are available to the students after schooling:
1. Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)
A student can opt for B.Sc. in many streams such as Life Sciences, Botany Honors, Zoology Honors, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics and many others. The options mentioned earlier are available with most of the colleges and universities in India. A B.Sc. degree is very basic graduate level course and you do not specialize enough to get yourself job ready. After B.Sc. you can get into Master of Science (M.Sc.) if you want to remain in biology industry or can opt for MBA if you want to go into Sales and Administration or M.Phil. if you want to go into teaching.
2. Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.)
Students with aptitude in engineering can pursue B. Tech. degree from prestigious IITs, NITs or any other engineering college. A B.Tech. degree makes you job for many different job profiles without compulsion to do a masters.
After graduation in any branch of biological sciences you can opt for a specialization course in Post-graduation to shape your career.
- M.Sc. (Master of Sciences): M.Sc. is available in different specializations. Most popular are Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Bioinformatics, Genetics and Human Genetics, Biomedical Sciences, Zoology, Botany, Forestry and Environmental Sciences, Fisheries etc.
- M.Tech. (Master of Technology): Few options are available for engineering students to get super specialization in certain technical courses. Most common options available are in Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Biomedical engineering.
- MBA– Students with aptitude for management, sales or marketing can opt for MBA in biotechnology or any other MBA specialization.
- Mphil/B.Ed for teaching.
Depending upon interest and post-graduation qualification you may opt for following career options in biotechnology:
One of the first choice among all career options in biotechnology, you can continue to work in research in various government and private institutions. For many positions you can be enrolled at M.Sc. level while for others you may have to get a PhD degree. The most sought-after research institutions are CSIR labs spread across India. You can find full list of CSIR labs here. Although, you need to clear NET and sometimes GATE exam to get entry into these institutions. Many times, you are enrolled as a PhD student and continue to do research thereafter. For people who are not able to clear UGC-NET (there are around 3200 positions and more than 6M applicants every year!), you can join either as Research fellow or project fellow in different short-term projects. After completion of these projects you can go for another project. Another option is to enter private research labs offering Contract Research and known as CRO’s (Contract Research Organizations). Research is available in almost all segments of biotechnology such as- molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, bioinformatics, drug research, bioprocessing technology etc.
Another good option of biology post-graduate student is to enter the molecular diagnostics industry. There is requirement of postgraduate to doctorate level candidates. In past couple of years, the molecular diagnostics industry has grown at a very fast pace and there are many companies in India with a lot of manpower need. You can work as a lab technician, back-end scientific support, lab manager, genetic counselor, scientific affairs manager etc. List of such companies can be find here.
Though very limited, many government departments are open apart from CSIR labs, such as Department of Biotechnology, BCIL, Forensic Labs, Pollution Control Board, Sea and Fisheries, Forestry and climate change, Public and Family Heath etc.
Biotech/Microbiology students can also enter the pharmaceutical industry in R&D or QA-QC as Analyst.
For those who are not keen to be involved in any of the technical or semi technical job profiles, other options are available.
- Sales/ Marketing: If you go for MBA, you can certainly find a sales, marketing, administrative, HR, finance or logistics job in almost any company in biotechnology or non-biotechnology sector. This segment is many times high paying than other job profiles but demand a lot of exhausting hours.
- Market research and journalism– A little off the line segment is to get involved with companies who provide market research analysis like Boston Consulting Group(BCG) etc. and other media houses who require people with scientific background to curate scientific articles.
- Medical Writing and Editing– People with a good command on English and an interest in writing can do a job as Medical Writer and/or editor in publication houses involved with medical and biological sciences industry such as Cactus Communications, Mc Graw Hill etc.
- Software developer: B. Tech or students with interest in computer sciences can enter in healthcare software development companies. These kinds of companies develop software and apps to be used in healthcare industry. Currently hot topic of Artificial Intelligence and Data science is having lot of requirement for biological software developers.
Choosing a right career is largely dependent on your interests and skills but many times it also is affected by the environmental conditions. Not all jobs are high paying initially and not all high paying jobs may give you best satisfaction. It all about balancing the need to likes.
A careful understanding of the job sector should be done before taking a decision as numerous people can be found who started education in a particular segment and ended up doing a job in completely different segment. The result is that you are not perfect in the job because you don’t possess the necessary education to give you an edge over others.
The data presented above have been attempted to include all the necessary information. However, not all the career options could be included here which do not directly relate to biotechnology/microbiology. Students may find themselves at opportunity to many different kind of profiles. This article just serves as a reference article. Students are advised to do their own research about a course and career.
If you have any doubt or suggestion kindly leave a comment below. We will get back to you.