What Careers are in Bioinformatics?

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), careers in bioinformatics are rapidly expanding because big data is creating new research opportunities for businesses. Bioinformatics is a field that uses software to analyze and understand biological data. Graduates of the interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics, which draws on math, statistics, and computer science, are trained to analyze and interpret biological data.

Bioinformatics Analyst

Bioinformatics analysts develop new and improve existing analytical tools for bio-data evaluations. For instance, those who work with genetics use proprietary digital encoding technology to support the data analysis of the customer’s genetic information. Some work closely with R&D scientists to collect data, perform analysis and interpret findings. Bioinformatics analysts create methods to visualize highly complex and dimensional data that is used for product developments and scientific collaborations. During their analysis, they must often integrate incoming data with other research and experimental data. Bioinformatics analysts are expected to have a doctorate or Ph.D. in bioinformatics with advanced training in statistics, information science and biomedical engineering.


Bioinformaticians are responsible for the analysis and interpretation of biological datasets using various analytics platforms. This may involve casual and predictive models that use both standard and proprietary software. They use these programs to do conduct interpretations, statistical analyses, data preparation and report-writing. Bioinformaticians must provide in-person presentations to clients, conferences and collaborators. They regularly submit written publications to scientific journals. Bioinformaticians must be skilled at manipulating large datasets in R, Matlab and Python. They usually specialize in fields like medicine, genetics, pharmacology or molecular biology. When applying for jobs, they will need documented experienced with statistical inference, machine learning and Bayesian inference or multivariate linear modeling.

Agricultural Microbiologist

These bioinformatics professionals apply the principles of statistics and computational biology to study and characterize target areas. For example, they may work for the USDA inspecting the gastrointestinal tracts of commercially raised poultry or livestock. They leverage bioinformatics tools to build bioinformatic databases that consolidate and track key information. Agricultural microbiologists develop computational methods to determine the effects of antibiotics on target bacteria in animal gastrointestinal tracts. Their goal is to examine the gastrointestinal tracts of livestock to prevent colonization in humans. They develop alternatives to antibiotics for poultry production and assess the bactericidal activities of probiotics, vaccines and pathogens. Agricultural microbiologists are expected to have a general degree in biology, chemistry or microbiology, but they can also earn a specialized degree in biochemistry or organic chemistry.

Statistical Genetics Analyst

Statistical genetics analysts are responsible for the design, analysis and interpretation of genetic studies. They work with scientific collaborators to manage data warehouses of large genomic sequencing and genetic datasets. They access electronic health records to gather data, create analysis-ready datasets and implement study designs for population projects. From a technical standpoint, they carry out statistical genetic analyses to determine genotype-phenotype relationships. This involves logistic regression, variant aggregation tests, family-based pedigrees and quantitative biomarkers. They sometimes work with computational biologists to provide programming support for the creation of algorithm and automated pipelines. Job candidates should have strong statistical, data analysis and programming skills.

Related Resource: Data Scientist

The careers in bioinformatics also include software engineer, computational biologist and bioinformatics analyst.