$100,200 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (salary for computer and information research scientists)
University of Alabama-Birmingham, Masters and PhD programs in computer science (with a specialization in bioinformatics)
- Briefly describe your career as a bioinformatician.
- I graduated from the UAH School of Nursing in 1983 and worked as a Registered Nurse in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit where I became interested in understanding the underlying technology of the biomedical equipment being used in hemodynamic monitoring. I later enrolled in the UAH School of Engineering and graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 2004. After graduation, I began working at Radiance Technologies. Through the support of the management team at Radiance, I began my involvement in the biotechnology community. I became a member of the Partnership for Biotechnology Research and later began serving on the PBR Steering Committee. Through the PBR, I met Jim Hudson, Brian Pollock and Troy Moore which led to a Radiance/Open Biosystems collaboration and, with the support of Congressman Bud Cramer, federal funding was awarded for a bioinformatics effort.
- What type of environment do you work in.
- Radiance is an engineering technology company so most of my colleagues are engineers, physicists or software developers, a high percentage of which have a Master’s degree or PhD. In addition, Radiance is a 100% employee-owned company and that ownership creates incentive to go above and beyond the requirements of the job to develop new business opportunities.
- Describe a typical workday.
- The majority of my day is spent completing the technical work that is required on our government contracts. Briefings, teleconferences and meetings with our customers occur regularly.
- What type of education and experience is required for a career as a bioinformatician?
- Currently, the strongest demand in bioinformatics is for an individual with a degree in the life sciences and computer science/engineering, coupled with IT experience.
- What is your educational background?
- I have a B.S. in Nursing and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, both from UAH.
- Why did you choose this career?
- I wanted to find a way to utilize my experiences from both nursing and engineering and with the growing biotechnology industry in Huntsville, bioinformatics is a perfect fit.
- What is your favorite and least favorite part of your job?
- The favorite part of my job is interacting with the scientists and engineers in our community. The most rewarding aspect of my job is the knowledge that the work I’m doing will have a positive impact on human health.
- Do you have any suggestions or words of wisdom for high school students interested in a career in your field?
- Work hard, learn all you can and network, network, network.
- Are there any other career opportunities in your field you think students should be aware of?
- Bioinformatics is actually a very diverse field and there are opportunities beyond algorithm development. Database administration is one of those opportunities due to the massive increases in genomic data and the subsequent storage needs.