Biotechnology is an upcoming popular career option for many students. It is one of the rapidly growing areas of science that is catching up with youngsters of today. Simply stating, Biotechnology is the use of the 2 most important areas of science – biology and technology. However, it’s not at all a new or a unique science. From ancient times people have been using yeast – a living organism, to make beer, bread and wine.
Biotechnology engulfs many disciplines of science and technology. They include: Stem cell techniques, Gene Therapy, Immuno-technologies, Genetic Engineering, Tissue culture, Enzyme engineering, Biosensor, Bioremediation, Photosynthetic efficiency, Biotechnological techniques involve living organisms as a means of production; cell or tissue culture; cloning and fermentation; cell fusion; embryo transfer and recombinant DNA technology. There are a few sub-fields of biotechnology like:
- Red biotechnology is biotechnology applied to medical processes. An example would include an organism designed to produce an antibiotic or engineering genetic cure to diseases through genomic manipulation.
- White biotechnology, also known as grey biotechnology, applied to industrial example would include an organism designed to produce a useful chemical.
- Green biotechnology is applied to agricultural processes. It tends to produce more environmentally friendly solutions then traditional industrial agriculture. An example of this would include a plant engineered to express a pesticide, thereby eliminating the need for external application of pesticides.
- Blue biotechnology is used to describe the marine and aquatic applications of biotechnology, but its use is relatively rare.
There are various degrees offered in the field at various levels. However the title of the Degrees (B.Sc. / B. Tech/ Integrated M. Sc. /M. Tech. / MBA, M.Sc. / M. Tech. / Ph.D.) conferred will be as per the discretion of Institutes/University. Some of the students pursuing courses in Life sciences are also eligible for Biotechnology. Various Entrance exams (All India / State level/ Deemed/ Autonomous/ Private Universities) conduct for entry into different courses of Biotechnology.
To be a Biotechnologist, one should:
- Have an inquisitive mind and the ability to work with abstract concepts
- Be methodical and meticulous in approach to work
- Be skilled at problem-solving and analysing statistical information
- Have good computer skills and the ability to interpret technical data
- Have well-developed communication skills, both verbal and written
- Be able to work alone well as part of a team
- Have ability to work for long hours
- Have Perseverance
- Have Creative Thinking Skills
Bio-technology has caught up the young Indian minds a lot and a lot of youngsters opt for this course without understanding the field. It is essentially a RESEARCH based field wherein working in laboratories for long hours would be the most important aspect. And also the job opportunities may not be essentially in the Metro cities.
Biotechnologists have a huge spectrum of work. To name a few:
- Agriculture Industries
- Animal Husbandry
- Beverage and Food Production
- Bioprocess Industries
- Chemical Industries
- Educational Institutes
- Forensic sciences
- Government & Corporate run Research & Development Organizations
- Medicine & Health Care Institutions
- Pharmaceutical Companies
Though research is the main area of work biotechnology also has a wide variety of career opportunities ranging from sales and marketing, to manufacturing, quality control and assurance, scientific writing and journalism.
India is poised to become a leading global player in biotechnology. The vast population of India helps not only in creating significant domestic demand, but also provides biotech research companies with a vast gene pool. India, with all its inherent strengths, can definitely use biotechnology as a vehicle to improve the lives of billions across the world.