Most of the people have no clue where to go after having studied bioinformatics. There is also a lot of confusion about the meaning of the word 'bioinformatics' itself: many people keep asking what 'bioinformatics' is and which are its practical applications.
Is Bioinformatics really declining in India? Or is this an artifact and only online web presence is decreasing? In case it is that only web presence getting declined, why that so?
I think Alastair is right, there really is an enormous problem related to this. If you put any open position in bioinformatics online you get at least a hundred replies from India (and China) and since we have no clue how to discriminate the good ones from the bad ones we usually ignore them. Typically they studied almost everything according to their CVs and had grades somewhere in the top 90% at least for some kind of scoring system that we don't understand either. So if you are on the other side of the story the question "how do I get a job or at least an opportunity to continue studying?" is a very legitimate one.
Here is some advice:
Don't even try to get a job with just a BSc or a BTech. Continue to do a masters first. If you can do (part of) your masters in Europe or the US that will definitely give you an advantage, but you will need at least that masters. Check out other questions here on BioStar about opportunities.
Try to publish something. Even being active here on BioStar or on blogs is already helpful.
Be critical about your own CV. Explain what the notes actually mean, include only the relevant things (I really don't want to know that you also learned MS-DOS or know how to run a web browser). Write it yourself! I see CVs from different persons that are identical.
Read the advertisement and respond to it. This is really important. A future employer wants to know why you think the job is interesting and why you are an interesting candidate. Motivations that say you want to improve the world as a whole may sound nice, but they don't help.
Put the most relevant things on top, or in your letter (or both). Be aware that people will probably make up their mind in the first 5 seconds when reading your letter.
Have the English checked.
After doing a masters the most logical thing is to try to get a PhD, at least if you want to continue in research. So look for opportunities to do that. If you can do a PhD in India try to go to the best institute (you already know that, don't you?), try to publish your work, and try to collaborate with research institutes abroad. That might sometimes even allow you to get a dual degree.
I personally have a few different suggestions as to why bioinformatics is on decline. It could be because of the decline in computers combined with the decline in the major types of data that bioinformaticians analyze, e.g. from genomics and proteomics. Maybe all of this is caused by the declining interest in funding. Or maybe it is just due to the general decline in intelligence.
More likely, though, it is just a normalization artefact, namely a general baseline shift in Google searches caused by the ever increasing hordes hunting for porn. Thankfully real bioinformaticians know all about how to deal with such normalization problems.
Google trends for bioinformatics (light blue), computers (red), genomics (orange), proteomics (green), and porn (dark blue). Full version.
Google Trends analyzes a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter.
Those Google trends plots only show how often the word "bioinformatics" is searched. For me, I do not know why I want to put a word "bioinformatics" in google. Searching it less often actually means more people know the meaning of "bioinformatics", which is a sign of the rise of bioinformatics instead of decline. BTW, this word is mostly searched in India (region) and in Korean (language), which is quite surprising. Perhaps they are mostly curious to know what bioinformatics is about? Or do they have a robot to query google constantly for some survey?
On the decline in what regard? Importance? Opportunity? Usefulness?
Saying "bioinformatics is on the decline" is like saying "the internet is on the decline" at any point in the last 15 years. He fails to establish two things: a definition of what's important, and a causal link between importance and search engine trends. If he wants to determine what's important in the world based on search engine trends, that his prerogative, but he probably thinks that p53 is the only protein worth studying, and Britney Spears is dead.
The rate of data generation is increasing. The rate of information processing in biology is a rate limiting step. Bioinformaticists are the valve. Those with imagination can seize the opportunities. Bhrat would do better to focus on that, rather than search engine optimization (then again, once you call yourself a "marketing expert", I'm not sure there's any going back).
I don't think that bioinformatics is declining. There are a few observations that can be made:
The word 'bioinformatics' has always been used as a generic container to refer to different fields. As time passes, new words have been coined to better define these distinct fields. For example, ten years ago, the word 'structural biology' wasn't popular, and people used 'bioinformatics' to refer to what today we call 'structural biology'. As another example, today we use 'genome assembly' to define one aspect of bioinformatics that a few years ago we didn't had the need to define as a distinct field. So, the word 'bioinformatics' itself is being used less, but it is because it is being replaced by more precise words.
Bioinformatics is an highly technological field, and requires an advanced training. After the financial crisis and the cut to fundings to research in many countries, fewer people have been able to afford this training. As such, it may be true that bioinformatics has seen some decline in the recent years... but that is due to a general decline in all research fields. It is a sort of 'background effect' due to the fact that all research is decreasing.
More specifically, every institute seems to be jumping on the high-throughput bandwagon but many leave the analysis to overworked entry-level staff, which creates a serious gap between good solid bioinf and husch-pfusch rockstar code-pasting exercises.
Entering 'bioinformatics' into Google Trends and inserting the image into a blog post is not what I'd refer to as 'work'. Its totally misleading for many of the reasons already stated above. A more appropriate assessment would be to assess the job websites and private company websites in India. A quick look on the website Indeed searching bioinformatics returns a reasonable number of jobs in both North and South India:
There are many large biotech and genomics companies in India as well that take on bioinformatics graduates including Monsanto, Life Technologies, Roche, Strand Genomics, Genotypic, Geschickten Solutions, Ocimum Biosolutions, Xcelris Labs to name just a few.
These companies could be approached directly to determine if there are any positions within the company or to receive any feedback about the future plans for recruitment of bioinformaticians or computational biologists.
In terms of future opportunities in India, the decline of cost regarding equipment for next generation sequencing should lead to an increase in demand for bioinformatics expertise.
I am in sync with allPowerde as even I talked about the gap in demand-and-supply which is not wide in this industry (in India) and over here colleges are shutting down under graduate courses in Bioinformatics.
No offences meant but I just wanted to share plight of hundreds of Bioinformaticians in India and no is speaking out for them.
Even I am from BioInformatics background. You know when I was in M.Sc, even I was worried about my future in BioInformatics. And Yes, you are absolutely correct that many colleges are shutting down Graduation courses in this field, even from mine's college from where I have done Graduation in this field, now closed this field. Main reason behind this is that strength of students was now not that much as it was initially. Even I never saw a batch-mate of mines getting absorbed in field of BioInformatics, and closing of courses is another proof.
There are/were too many universities offering bioinformatics courses and way too many students, who ultimately graduate without any “jobs”. Many bioinformatics programs in India are closing down because of lack of interested students. All this is again ultimately related to “lack of expected jobs” in this field in India.
I have done my PhD in bioinformatics [sequence and structural analysis], but was unemployed for nearly a year in that field. Today's bioinformatics is very vast, and to some extent include programming and wetlabs as a skill , rather than just being an analyst. people are now looking for multidisciplinary fields, and that's were bioinformatics opportunities are becoming less and no jobs in this sector.
Why would I bother about some random blog posts of some random guys?
I am from India and I have a fair understanding of bioinformatics experts from India (both scientific and technology experts). Never heard of "Bhrat Brij", I would pass this one if you want me to comment on Brij's take on decline in Google Trends for the search term "bioinformatics".
@Bhrat: What u have presented in your blog is just one sided perspective. As far as Indian Bioinformatics is concerned, better check out the work/reserch carried out at CDFD, CDRI, IITR, IIIT's, NBRI, TIFR, BARC... list is endless... check their publications and you will know the quality of Bioinformatics and its growth in India.
@SNPMiner: I agree with your point of view too but I just wanted to bring the Northern Indian scenario. They have done research no doubt but what is being done to develop this course in grass root level? I want to raise a questions: Why there are no takers in undergraduate courses in North India for Bioinformatics?? Why colleges are shutting courses for undergraduates? Reason is bit clear: If people don't see future in a course, why they will take it!
Hey, this is not a discussion forum, if you haven't noticed yet.
Now you get into regional division tell me from which region of India I should name a University or RI which is doing reasonable well in the field. Secondly, in most part of the world undergraduates in BI often end up jobless or they turn towards core informatics line (In India they are hired by Infosys, Wipro, TCS, US Tech., and many more.... and these IT giants have big Pharma industries as clients as an example Merck is client of Cognizant.... hence I don't see the decline)... Kindly see the Answer from Dr. Chris Evelo.
Have a look ak GGSIP,DU, etc in north India and you will see how well they are running Bachelor courses in life science. Before you make such comments on an international platform please get your facts corrected because you are projecting all the Indian Universities good for nothing. Which is not true. In my opinion you had opted for a wrong University in India (and this can happen with any student and in any part of the world).
I have no clue what your question is.
ok, I have tried to restructure the question to make it easier to read. I hope I didn't change the meaning of the original question. Feel free to revert the changes to the previous version.
oh no, it is back on top again
A small edit (Asia)
Thanks for editing SNPminer. Now the question does make sense, even if the blog posts do not in my opinion.
Bhrat here. Its not about if Bhrat is a common name in Bioinformatics or not but if I have presented the correct figure on Indian Bioinformatics scenario or not?
Take Punjab University and Haryana University. I know aleast 2 colleges where B.Sc. (Bioinformatics) is closed now. Let me tell you in and around there are 6-8 colleges offering B.Sc. Bioinformatics. In other two colleges, there are no or less than 5 admissions in B.Sc. Bioinformatics. I am not talking about undergraduates, I am talking about post graduates not getting absorbed into Bioinformatics. In seven years, I know only 10 among 300-400 post graduates who are into Bioinformatics still, rest into other lines and I have seen answer of Dr. Chris Evelo.
Have look ak GGSIP,DU, etc in north India and you will see how well they are running Bachelor courses in life science. Before you make such comments on an international platform please get your facts corrected because you are projecting all the Indian Universities good for nothing. Which is not true. In my opinion you had opted for a wrong University in India (and this can happen with any student and in any part of the world).
Dear running B.Sc. in Science and B.Sc in Bioinformatics is entirely different.
@Bhrat: B.Sc in life science I meant secondly B.Tech in BI from DU or GGSIP or any University is quite good. For instance take IIIT's or IIT's. Problem is you all come out of your nappies and start demanding a good position in BI and when you don't get it, the first thing to do is to blame teachers followed by University and then the country.
@SNPMiner: I am not blaming any one for myself if you think I am job less. FYI I am running two companies (though they are not big, 20 employees in each). I was just highlighting the issues which many people have faced.
@Bhrat: I never said that u were jobless and good for you that u own 2 companies. But what u are highlighting and the way you are highlighting is not appropriate. You are presenting the facts which are unidirectional and by doing such an act you are probable ruining or putting doubts (regarding educational system in India) in the minds of the people present here (Many of them are team leaders and potential recruiters) and furthermore many of them have Indian co-workers or PhD students or Post Docs under them.
@SNPMiner: I never started that :) You can check I realized it today when I saw visits to my posts from this link.