Biotechnology has become quite a favourite among engineering students as a specialisation in the past few years. The study combines biology with technology to create new products which can be used for specific purposes.
Biotechnology is a growing field, simply because of the nature of work. It involves studying cells and microorganisms to reach the root of a particular disease and evolve such products that can be used to combat it in future. The knowledge gained is used to improve existing drugs and vaccines to tackle problems of not just human beings but also plants and animals.
Genetic engineering and tissue culture are the latest additions to the field of work.
Biotechnology has further branches namely, Bioinformatics (addresses biological problems), Blue biotechnology (marine and aquatic applications), Green biotechnology (agricultural processes), Red biotechnology (medical processes) and White biotechnology (industrial processes.)
Education: A Bsc degree in any discipline from a recognised institute is a must to sit for the MSc / MTech Biotechnology entrance examination. You can also do a PhD in areas of plants, animals, fisheries etc.
Examination: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) holds an All-India Combined Biotechnology Entrance Exam on behalf of 53 universities, with support of Department of Biotechnology under Ministry of Science & Technology. Top 30 study at the JNU.
Those interested in Plant biotechnology can sit for the All India exam conducted by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) conducted across various state universities.
There is a huge demand of professionals for Research & Development work in collaboration with various foreign companies. So they are required in government-run research institutes, plant, medical, pharma, chemical, IT industries.
The pay varies from industry to industry and also depends on your proficiency, experience and academic qualification. As a fresher, expect to earn from Rs. 3.5 – 9 lakh per annum. Ph.D holders get n additional stipend from UGC.
The job of a biotechnologist is a tough one as research and discovery of a new product takes time which is then tested and may still need improvement. So if you are the tough one who doesn’t mind spending hours and days on research, choose Biotechnology.