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Biotechnology refers to the use of biological or living organisms and systems to fabricate new products, which are mostly biopharmaceutical drugs. It is often seen as overlapping with bioengineering, biomedical engineering and related fields. The biotechnology industry has witnessed significant growth in the last few years and that trend looks set to continue for years to come. This post provides useful information about the biotech industry and some job titles you may be eligible for as a first-timer.
The biotechnology industry, which is relatively a new one, has been growing at a rapid rate. It would have grown at a faster pace had it not been for the recession of few years ago that many companies are still trying to recover from. The main focus of biotechnology is the improvement of existing processes and development of new products. Biotech companies can be found in several industrial sectors, including biomedical, agricultural and environmental.
The development of the biotech industry was given a huge boost and made more commercially viable in 1980 when the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case, Diamond v Chakrabarty, that a genetically-modified microorganism could be patented. The industry has witnessed almost 100-percent growth in the last 10 or years, bringing about surge in employment level in the sector. It has helped to greatly increase the supply of corn and soybeans, which are essential ingredients for biofuel. And with demand for biofuel rising, the biotechnology industry looks to witness more growth and increase in the number of available jobs.
The United States, Europe, Australia and Canada are the main centers of global biotech industry. There are about 170,000 biotech jobs in these countries and global industry revenue is put at around $90 billion. These figures look set to increase in the coming years.
Getting Your First Biotechnology Job
Science education is usually required to work in the biotech industry. The minimum qualification used to be a master’s degree in a relevant field, but as low as an Associate’s degree is now being considered for certain roles these days. Besides, it is not all positions in the industry that require science education. There are personnel, marketing, sales and information technology roles, amongst others.
Experience counts when looking to work with some biotech companies. The question then is how do you get useful work experience? You could link with a student resource and help center in your school to link you up with available, relevant opportunities, including internships. Contact companies about available placement opportunities and attend job fairs for a chance to meet employers and possibly get an offer.
Here are some biotechnology job titles you may be able to apply for as a first-timer:
- Biological technician
- Biomedical engineer
- Bioproduction operator
- Medical or clinical lab technician
- Quality assurance associate
- Clinical research associate
- Research study assistant
- Clinical trial research assistant
Just like for every other job, it is helpful to have a network of people who could link you to these and other types of jobs available in the biotechnology industry. Connect with alumni and join professional groups (both online and offline) to expand your network and get useful links.