Was a career in biotechnology the right decision?

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Biotechnology deals with dynamic problems of human society like medicine, agriculture with food security, environment, and energy.

Few people are fortunate and lucky enough because they are predetermined with their goals in life. But for rest, it can be a daunting task to choose a career. And now talking about a career in biotechnology is tricky in itself. It is highly possible that you landed up in the biotechnology field not by choice but by chance.

There are cases where students end up in choosing a biotechnology career thinking it is same as a medical career. But let me tell if MBBS is pursued then you become a doctor and if you pursue a career in biotechnology you will be called as a biotechnologist. Both are different and add value to society by their means. A doctor cure diseases and save people from misery but a biotechnologist evaluates the diseases completely. He finds out what caused the disease along with its cure.

In recent times the biotechnology field is gaining a lot of interest from students and parents. But even now the career path still remains largely obscure. Even after studying the subject areas, the domains, and the job prospects still the job prospects are not too clear among the students and parents. Which often leads to disappointment among the Biotechnology graduates, and parents as well.

An engineering in Biotechnology will cover mathematical aspects also. Hence after pursuing Bachelor of Engineering in biotechnology, you will be a biological mathematician. A biologist along with technologist who combines the knowledge gained in every sector to create a product or render a service. This will eventually have a positive impact on society.

Being a biotechnologist, you have a vital role to play in multiple industries. Dominantly in food, pharmaceuticals, chemical, bio-products, textile, medicine, nutrition, environmental conservation and animal sciences.

But do we really get to serve in these industries is important to know!!

Consider a case of a pharmaceutical company working on drug development. It is highly possible that the organisation will prefer a highly qualified biotechnologist who has master degree or PhD. So the scope for new bachelor student is quite negligible.

And if the situation of the candidate is in need of a job immediately after graduation. Then realise that this field is still developing in India. Therefore, the number of job openings and pay packages after are both very low when compared with IT and CS fields.

If you are passionate about research and if you want to carefully considerate a particular problem with the scientific methods then you need to enter into Research and development field which is booming rapidly in India.

After pursuing a full-time career in biotechnology and getting a highly qualified degree you may successfully get into any research field across India or abroad but there are cases when things don’t go as planned then you end up in other sectors. Please consider that biotechnology-pharmaceutical section is still not as manpower-intensive like IT, banking or services.

In graduation level, it deals with subjects like Bioprocess, thermodynamics, bio-informatics along with biological subjects like microbiology, biochemistry and cell biology. But the problem is students assume that a four-year course of Bachelor degree in Biotechnology will make you Laboratory Scientist. If you aspire to become a scientist and expert in laboratories a higher degree( Masters and PhD) are almost mandatory.

Let me outline a few challenges that you need to cope up if you choose a biotechnology career. 

1. I took up biotechnology after my class 12. Though I had studied a chapter of biotechnology, that was not enough and there is far more than to be known. Biotechnology is a lot more than genetics. You have varieties of other subjects that are been inculcated hence this field is interdisciplinary. The respective subjects in biotechnology deals with dynamic problems of human society like medicine, agriculture with food security, environment, and energy.

2. You might at least once in your career might have heard about the people’s perception that biotechnology has no scope in India. This is true to some extent but recently there is a lot of development. Colleges might lack a few instruments and facilities required in a lab. But with personal experience, I must say companies like Biocon has taken its stand in the market. And there is a lot of exposure to new graduates to explore more and take full-on advantage in research. 

3. After graduation, there are chances that many of your friends decide to pursue higher studies abroad. It is perceived that doing a PhD and publishing papers from abroad is more valued. They can make their well-established career in abroad. Of course, it is! But I must say  in recent times India has developed a lot many institutes that are indulged in research and working towards making Biotechnology a worthy field. Hence you might get in a dilemma where to pursue higher studies, my recommendation is if you cannot afford higher studies in abroad, you can opt for GATE exam and get into more premium colleges like IITs and NITs. 

4. If you have entered this field perceiving this field is independent of mathematics then you are wrong. Biotechnology is a good blender of biology and technology which comprises of some fancy calculations.

Being a biotechnology student I would say, this field requires a lot of patience and perseverance. It is a multi-disciplinary field which requires intelligence and creativity. Keep yourself updated in recent technology. Because industry requires a biotechnologist who is updated of the current scenario with the latest technologies and methods. Seek opportunities where they conduct varies hands-on experiments and training.

For instance, in the IT sector, the current job market requires higher levels of leading-edge skills like cloud analytics, robotics, process automation, and so on, and engineering graduates of the day do not always come qualified. The true problem lies in the huge skills-gap.

Two major factors are responsible for this worrying trend. One, the ease of securing approval from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to set up engineering colleges has led to the mushrooming of institutes, many of which do not have the right faculty or the curriculum to train students. Second, the courses being taught are not in tune with the industry’s requirements, both in product manufacturing and services sectors. 

Drafted by Nagama Nadaf
 A technophile who is crazy about technology and passionate about blogging. 
I care by sharing recent advancements in technology and try to reach out to the minds of people

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