Is Bioinformatics the Next “Rock Star” in Data?

Alyssa Liew our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 11/7/2019 10:36 AM
It’s open enrolment for healthcare here in the US with a maze of plans to choose from. If you want to dip your toes into the world of healthcare with a tech bent, you may want to check out Bioinformatics or health informatics, and yes, there is a difference. 

Bioinformatics is a growing field and is expected to grow to $16 billion by the 2022. It may just be the next “rock star” profession for those in the Data & Analytics fields. So, what is Bioinformatics and how is it different from Health Informatics?

What is Bioinformatics?


It’s the marriage of biology and information technology. In a world constantly on the go, and as we grow older and live longer, it helps us find the answers we seek. Bioinformatics often begins at the beginning. Think genome research, for a start. Yet, ultimately, it focuses on biological data in medical research and drug development. Imagine collecting and organizing data to annotate, record, analyze, and extract structural information in relation to protein sequences or applying your knowledge to chromosome therapy, drug innovations, or forensic analysis. 

Because of the advances in IT, what was once unimaginable is now available. A booming industry which is a boon to the population. House, M.D. meets Bones. 

Within this industry are sub-categories and sub-applications. In other words, there’s something for everyone interested in both biology and computer science. Here’s a quick list:

  • Medical Biotechnology
  • Animal Biotechnology
  • Academics
  • Agriculture
  • Forensics
  • Environmental

And within these sectors, though not the full list, their applications:

  • Genomics
  • Chemoinformatics
  • Drug design
  • Transciptomics

What is Health Informatics?


Health Informatics is similar to Bioinformatics in that it uses computer technology to further advancements in medicine. However, while Bioinformatics focuses on the biology side of things, Health Informatics (HI) is focused on the patient side; helping doctors and patients determine care.

HI is the application of design, development, and analysis of patient and healthcare Data systems. It’s the nervous system equivalent of a hospital or doctor’s office which houses medical records, billing systems, and compliance systems. For those with a computer science background who are more interested in the information infrastructure and architecture of a healthcare enterprise, Health Informatics may be for you. If you’re interested in the administration side of healthcare, you may want to think about Health Information Management (HIM). You can also learn more, here.

Getting Your Foot in the Door


You know the basics. Have a technical background with the communication skills to explain your findings. Boost your resume with video. Have done a project or two to show your work and capabilities, but when you drill down to something like informatics, there’s one more bit of training you’ll want to have.

Since Bioinformatics, for example, is the marriage of biology and technology, it’s important to have a background in molecular biology and computer science. Drill down further and you’ll want to include database design as well.

The Sum of its Parts


Bioinformatics is an emerging science, in which we develop and use computer databases to enhance our biological research. Analyzing, storing, managing the data we collect or extract; this is the sum of its parts.

Advancements here give us the opportunity to more efficiently identify new therapies, new treatments, new sequences to better understand disease. The potential to improve personalized medicine is exponential. What we learn and find today may help us solve tomorrow’s healthcare issues. 

Want to get in on this growing healthcare field and the next generation of IT? Interested in Big Data and Analytics, but not necessarily the healthcare industry. We’ve got you covered. We specialize in Junior and Senior roles. We may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more. 

For our West Coast Team, call (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com

For our Mid-West and East Coast Teams, call (212) 796 - 6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.

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