Will A Masters In Bioinformatics Help Me In Getting A Job?
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10.5 years ago
Bioinfo ▴ 50

I have completed my Bachelors in Bioinformatics and want to build a career in Bioinformatics.

Recently I applied for MSc in Bioinformatics at Universities in UK and have got offers from some good universities. I want to build a career around Bioinformatics in Industry and have little or no interest in Academic jobs right now.

Currently I have offers for jobs in good IT companies and I am uncertain if I want to join an IT company as I lose my core branch of interest, i.e Bioinformatics.

My question is: Would MSc in Bioinformatics in UK would help me increase my job prospects in a Bionformatics Industry. If so, then why?

What will be the average salary for a person with no job experience but with MSc in Bioinformatics? And if its not true then would doing job in IT company and then persuing MSc would help? And will it make a difference with respect to job scenario if I persue MSc from good universities in US?

career education • 67k views
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See related post here.

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I would suggest not spamming members of this forum with your question would be a good place to start if you want eventual employment. I do not appreciate finding reposts of BioStar questions in my inbox.

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I am sorry if you find it offensive, Basically I am in a fix right now and cannot decide on my own, So I am taking any step that I could to solve it. I am deeply grateful that you conveyed me your view. Thank you.

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I am sorry if you felt offended. Basically I am in a fix right now and cannot decide on my own about a career, So I am taking all the steps that I could to solve it. My questions are just meant for inquiring not to offend someone. I am deeply grateful that you conveyed me your view. Thank you

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am sorry if you felt offended. Basically I am in a fix right now and cannot decide on my own about a career, So I am taking all the steps that I can to solve it. My questions are just meant for inquiring not to offend someone. I am deeply grateful that you conveyed me your view. Thank you

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See pretty much the exact duplicate here.

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10.5 years ago

Yes, it will help you to get the more interesting jobs, let me explain:

First of all, as the head of an academic department, I would not even consider hiring a BSc in bioinformatics unless it is for a short term programming or routine analysis job. There is more than one reason for that. The two most important ones are: I think you need the more advanced level and general overview that results from that to collaborate in a team (and that argument is true everywhere), also if you have an MSc you are more likely to at some stage graduate as a PhD and publish the papers that are needed for that which is beneficial both for growing to the more senior positions and also for an academics department where you do the graduation.

I see larger industries more and more asking for opportunities for continued training at universities even up to PhD level for their internal bioinformaticians. So I am sure it is important there as well, at least for the people that want to grow up to project manager level. I think companies actually do the same thing I do. They do hire people at the BSc level to work on short projects or to do relatively simple analysis and programming tasks. The difference might be that they have more of those tasks and thus might hire more of them. But you do not get the most interesting jobs that way.

My advice would thus be very clear. If you are any good at bioinformatics and you can go for an MSc, do it! If you are not that good, first consider whether there is something more interesting in live for you. But of course you might also just be content to function as a team player.

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I would like to know why this was voted down... Of course other people could have other experiences, and it would be interesting to know those. So please explain when you don't agree.

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As the head of a professional MS Bioinformatics program in the U.S. I agree with Chris Evelo. The students that come in with BS degrees in bioinformatics just are not ready to tackle interesting bioinformatics problems. They need additional coursework, but most of all some experience with real bioinformatics tasks. An additional year or two years doing some research projects, and an internship, makes a huge difference.

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Whether you do the MS in the UK or the US will primarily affect where you search for jobs - being in the US will make it much easier for you to apply and interview for jobs in the US, and being in the UK will make it much easier for jobs in Europe. I would look closely at the different programs to see which programs offer the best educational opportunities with authentic research and project experiences.

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I totally agree Chris. Btw, don't bother uncommented downvotes, I think it happens out of frustration, when there is no comment. Sometimes people can't accept reality not meeting their expectations and punish the messenger.

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"jchoit" , sir please suggest me for doing MSc, what should I opt whether universities in UK or universities in USA.

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"jchoigt" , sir please suggest me for doing MSc, what should I opt whether universities in UK or universities in USA.

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@jchoigt , sir can you please suggest me for doing MSc, what difference does it make if I do MSc from UK or from US with respect to JOB.

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You probably limit your choice to US and UK since you want to do an English language course. Please be aware that masters courses in Europe but outside the UK are often also in English.

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@Jchoigt and @chris Evelo, Sir Thank you very much for your valuable suggestions.

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10.5 years ago
Melanie ▴ 640

I'm a hiring manager, but I'm in the US and honestly don't know much about what companies in Europe are doing. With that caveat, here is my opinion: the level of education to get depends on what sort of bioinformatics you want to do. If you want to code other people's algorithms, then you can probably get by with just an undergrad degree, but a master's won't hurt you and might help, depending on its quality. A PhD is probably not necessary, and may actually hurt- we've all seen too many PhD scientists who write appalling code. In fact, I am one of them! (I don't code for a living.)

If you want to develop novel algorithms, you absolutely must get at least a masters, and should probably get a PhD. And you should do us all a favor and learn how to write decent code, too.

If you want to do project support, usually applying other people's algorithms, sometimes collaborating with other team members to develop new ones, the masters level may be best. But I know the least about this type of position, because it is found primarily in large pharma and I have worked primarily in biotech.

If you want to have the opportunity to run the department some day, you should probably get a PhD. But that is not a hard and fast rule.

And you should go into all of this with your eyes wide open about the realities of life in industry right now- jobs are nowhere near as plentiful as the used to be. Your best bet for landing a job is to really stand out in your chosen niche- which in my opinion means you should choose a niche based on what you really like doing, not what you think is going to get you a job. None of these routes is guaranteed to get you a job.

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10.5 years ago

There are a lot of questions here, but it is likely that doing an MSc will improve your job prospects at least financially. According to the Economist, doing and MSc in the UK increases your earning potential over just holding BSc, and almost as much as doing a PhD:

"A study in the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management by Bernard Casey shows that British men with a bachelor’s degree earn 14% more than those who could have gone to university but chose not to. The earnings premium for a PhD is 26%. But the premium for a master’s degree, which can be accomplished in as little as one year, is almost as high, at 23%."

Admittedly, these figures are not specifically for bioinformatics, but there is no reason to suspect that bioinformatics does not follow general trends for the UK.

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These figures are also roughly true in the U.S. MS degrees in natural sciences do provide significantly higher earning potential than BS degrees. In some cases, the longer time to the PhD means that lifetime earnings are almost equal between MS and PhD holders.

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10.2 years ago
Eric Fournier ★ 1.4k

The other answers provide very helpful insight, but my own experience is a bit different, and I would say: it all depends on how good you are.

If you happen to be brilliant and can easily learn on your own, then experience trumps degrees. Finding a good position where you are surrounded by experienced and competent collaborators/superiors will teach you just as much as an M.Sc. would, and maybe more. For industry positions, this is what will be most important. But to get such a position without a degree, you'll have to prove you can deliver results.

However, if you're just an average Joe in the growing fold of bioinformaticians, a degree might be a safer way to build up your credentials. It's also a reliable way to fill in the gaps left by your B.Sc. formation. And if you plan to work in academia someday, you'll soon find that academics love degrees (since they worked so hard to get theirs), so having one of your own will be very advantageous.

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10.5 years ago

Since you say you have little interest in going into academia, you might go for the MSc since it keeps the door open. But if your interest really lies in industry, you might even consider going for an MBA. For the rest it all boils down to what precisely you want to be doing in the end. I guess with some companies an MSc would be a leverage. Other companies will educate you internally and then a Bachelor would suffice.

Personally I would say only go for a Master if your would like to study Bioinformatics a bit more profoundly. For a job in industry it might even be an asset to do a MSc on a total different discipline, or as I have already mentioned a MBA.

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Of course that is true. But you don't need an MBA to build your professional network in bioinformatics, so I still don't think companies will prefer that over a masters in bioinformatics if its about bioinformatics jobs.

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An MBA is more then only doing sales. It is more about managing and building profesional networks.

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Andra, I don't agree on the MBA thing. Companies will not ask for an MBA for their bioinformaticians, unless they actually need them to do sales.

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