Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Bioinformatics MS

Program Overview

Students in the Bioinformatics program develop the skills necessary for analyzing the data being generated by Next Generation Sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics, and other current technologies. Students develop their understanding of biology and molecular genetics, as well as statistics and computer science, giving them many career options. B.S., M.S., 4+1 B.S./M.S., and molecular laboratory focused option programs are available.

Degrees Awarded

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Master of Science
  • 4+1 B.S./M.S.

Enrollment

  • Approximately 25 undergraduate and 20 graduate students

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • Each undergraduate student is required to complete at least one semester of co-op. Students are typically eligible to pursue co-op after their 2nd year courses.

Salary Information

                                Avg.                           Range
BS Co-op:               $26.00/hr                  $25 - $27/hr*
MS Co-op:              $27.00/hr
BS Full-time:          $68,480 - 75,809
MS Full-time:         $93,447 - 113,436
*From self-reported data on Glassdoor.com from 11 different companies nationwide

Student Skills & Capabilities

Beginning in their first year of study, students attain a combined skillset in the biotechnology laboratory and in computer programming fundamentals.
 
While taking upper level courses, students develop a range of laboratory skills that is nearly equivalent to that attained by students in our Biotechnology program. Additionally, Bioinformatics students gain considerable experience applying common bioinformatics software tools and have a deep understanding of the algorithms underlying those tools. Students strive to hone their quantitative and analytical abilities.

Equipment & Facilities

The Bioinformatics program maintains a server room with systems dedicated to and accessible by students for coursework and research projects. We frequently update our hardware, software, and other resources. Our systems include a combination of storage and database servers. Additionally, we maintain local copies of common bioinformatics databases and software to ensure that our students have access to the latest versions.

Nature of Work

Bioinformatics jobs encompass several different areas of focus which are less strictly hierarchical than bioscience discovery research jobs. The analyst/programmer job provides focused computational analysis support. Analyst/programmers design and develop software, databases and interfaces used to analyze and manipulate databases. Programmer/analysts also competitively compare existing software to identify the highest performing tool for a specific research application. They collaborate with production to develop high-throughput data processing and analysis capability and to design and implement data queries, novel algorithms, and/or visualization techniques. Analyst/programmers also maintain large-scale DNA databases, prepare data for other scientists, monitor new data from public databases, and curate loaded data to satisfy quality control criteria. Scientist/engineers develop gene discovery algorithms for integrating sequence-based/functional knowledge about genes to help scientists analyze and interpret gene-expression data. They also analyze DNA information and identify opportunities for innovative solutions to analyze and manage biological data. In addition, they often assist in developing software and custom scripts to automate data retrieval, manipulation, and analysis; application of statistics; and visualization tools.

Training / Qualifications

Within the bioinformatics field employers tend to look for the following skills and strengths: fundamental training/knowledge in molecular biology, biochemistry and biotechnology, genomics, relational database administration, and programming skills using SQL, PERL, C,C++, and Python, among others on a UNIX operating system. They must have strong analytical abilities using relevant mathematical/statistical tools, a strong interest in applying computational skills to leverage the data outcomes of those working in the laboratory, be meticulous, and able to work independently.

Job Outlook

The pharmaceutical, vaccine development, and electronic medical records industries tend to be the major employers of bioinformaticians, although biotech companies, especially those involved personal care products, industrial organisms and agriculture have seen bioinformatics play a more important role in their industry. Big pharmaceutical, biotech, and software companies are clamoring to hire professionals with experience in bioinformatics and the identification, compilation, analysis, and visualization of huge amounts of biological and health care information. With the rapid development of new tools to make sense of life science research and outcomes, spurred by innovative research in bioinformatics itself, scientists who are entranced by data can pursue more career options than ever before. There is a wealth of biological information out there to be deciphered and there has been an increase in the number of bioinformatics research programs. The bioinformatics market is growing worldwide and is expected to surpass the 50 billion dollar mark soon.

Job Titles

Computational Biologist, Gene Analyst, Bioinformatics Software Developer, Research Assistant/Associate, Biologics Database Programmer/Administrator, Computer Analyst/Programmer, Molecular Modeling Assistant, Bioinformatics Scientist, Data Scientist, Bioinformatics Engineer, Bioinformatics Analyst, Bioinformatician

Employment

Post Graduation
Nearly all of our graduates seeking positions are hired by academic and industry employers, or go on to higher level graduate (PhD) programs at major research institutions.

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Pfizer, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Anthony IT, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Life Technologies, Applied Biosystems, 5Linx Enterprises, Childrens’ Hospital (Cambridge MA), Baylor College of Medicine, Broad Institute (at MIT), 454 Life Science, McNeil Consumer Products, The Institute for Genomic Research, Knowledge Computing, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, FM Global, UCB, Inc., US Food & Drug Administration, University of Rochester Medical Center, US Dept. of Agriculture, Personal Genome Diagnostics, Roswell Park, Human Longevity, Inc, University of Maryland School for Genomic Science

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career. We will make every effort to help you succeed. Call our office and ask to speak with Mindy Blake, the career services coordinator who works with the Bioinformatics program. For your convenience, you can access information and services through our web site at www.rit.edu/careerservices.
 
Mindy Blake, Career Services Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 585.475.5467
Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603
585.475.2301

Unless otherwise noted, information is based upon data collected by RIT Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services.