The applications of this branch of science
are vast and simply mind-boggling. On one hand, it caters to the industrial
sector such as food and beverages industry, textiles industry, biological
products, medicines and pharmaceuticals while on the other hand this branch of
science caters to the requirements of agriculture, animal husbandry, nutrition
and environmental conservation. The list is a long and an envious one.
What’s more, the branch of science we are talking about is in itself not
confined or bound as a single discipline. Rather it is an interdisciplinary
branch of science that is rapidly gaining significance and opportunities for
youngsters who want to explore the new frontiers of science are immense. The name
of the discipline is Biotechnology.
Although, the name may suggest that this branch of science is steeped in
biology but this is not the case. Apart from biology, this branch of science
also assimilates diverse subjects like physics, chemistry and mathematics.
Furthermore, engineering applications are also an integral constituent of
The concepts derived from this dissimilar mix of sciences are applied to
biological matter, generally living cells, for developing new and improved
biological and industrial products. Most of the work done by professionals
engaged in biotechnology is concerned with research and development work in
Students are showing tremendous interest in biotechnology. The primary reason
behind this interest emerges from the fact that the technical and procedural
application of biotechnology touches a vast array of disciplines. This in turn
opens a lot many job portals for students who are seeking a stable career in
their life. Biotechnology, along with its many sub-fields, finds use in so many
applications that many new fields have and are being derived from within it.
In opting for a specialised profession such
as biotechnology, you must plan your career right from your school days. In this
context, the combination of subjects of study at the 10+2 level must primarily
include Biology, Chemistry, Physics and even Mathematics. Once you have
finished schooling you can opt for a suitable undergraduate program (BSc, BE,
BTech) in Biotechnology from various academic institutions spread across the
country. The duration of a BSc program in biotechnology is three years whereas
it is four years for BE and BTech courses.
The eligibility criterion for getting into an undergraduate program varies from
one institution to another. In some colleges the eligibility criteria includes
a 10+2 with 50% marks in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. In some
other institutions, the 10+2 pass percentage required is 55%. Whereas some
colleges consider physics, chemistry and biology combination of subjects as a
basic entry level qualification and others take into account the physics,
chemistry and mathematics combination. Once this eligibility criterion is met,
you can get admission in to BSc programs.
Once you have earned a
graduate degree in this field you can go for the master’s level (MSc, ME,
MTech). For a Masters in Biotechnology, you should either have a graduate
degree in biotechnology or in any subject that is related to biological
sciences. A graduate degree in subjects such as biochemistry, biology, botany,
chemistry, microbiology, pharmacy, veterinary sciences or zoology is acceptable
for an entry into a post-graduate program in biotechnology.
As it is a blend of numerous disciplines, you
have to do a specialisation in a number of fields. Some of the common areas of
research include fields like: Agriculture and Agricultural Development, Animal
Husbandry, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Botany, Dairy Technology, Environmental
Protection, Fishery Development, Genetics, Horticulture, Medicine,
Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Nutrition, Pharmacology, Tissue Culture and
After post-graduation, you can apply for a doctoral program and from then on if
need be, immerse yourself in post-doctoral research. Here, it is
important to point out that a majority of students prefer to do their PhD and
post-doctoral research from foreign universities.
To follow biotechnology as a preferred
profession, you must have a sound grounding in science from the early school
days. You must have keen interest in various branches of science not just for
study sake or for obtaining good grades. Rather, you must have a keen
perception to understand scientific applications and even keep pace with the
latest news from the scientific world.
Once you are through with 10+2, you must either opt for an undergraduate course
in biotechnology or any subject that is directly or indirectly related to
biological sciences. Remember a masters degree is a must to make a successful career
in the domain of biotechnology.
Is it the Right Career for Me?
Important traits for getting into this domain
are a high degree of intelligence and a general aptitude for science and
Since biotechnology is redefining the boundaries of science, to become a part
of such an innovative field you must posses an inherent attitude of originality
and imagination. Other skills that will sail you through a successful and a
fulfilling career in this path-breaking area are perseverance, immense
patience, analytical proficiency, ability to work for long hours, team spirit
and communication skills.
What would it Cost Me?
A typical course in biotechnology can
annually cost you anywhere between Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,00,000 or above depending
on the college you study.
Usually, government and regional colleges that select students through tough
entrance exams charge less as compared to programs offered by private owned
Various academic institutions and
universities offer scholarships to deserving students who perform
extraordinarily in the entrance test and post-entrance interviews.
However, easy loans are available from banks for students to pursue their
academics. The money borrowed may be returned after a student gets a job.
For instance, State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, State Bank of Mysore and
Bank of Baroda are some popular banks that offer attractive loans to students.
These loans include library fees, book purchases, travel expenses and often
allow students to purchase computers, accessories and scientific instruments
required to complete their work.
Biotechnology assimilates in itself a number
of disciplines. Further, there is a great demand for biotechnical experts in
countless industries and sectors. The following are applications where
biotechnological techniques are used extensively:
• Animal Husbandry
• Environment Conservation
• Genetic Engineering
• Health Care
• Industrial Research and Development
Career opportunities for students in biotechnology abound. Those specialising
in different sub-disciplines of this field can easily find jobs in both private
and government sector undertakings. If you have acquired a post-graduate degree
in biotechnology then you can easily find a suitable position in a number of
Major recruiters include industries engaged in processing and developing
agricultural and biological products, bio-processing industries, pharmaceutical
and chemical industries. There are ample opportunities in industries producing
healthcare products, textile industry, cosmetics and organisations engaged in
different types of industrial research and development.
These days a growing number of qualified biotechnical professionals are engaged
by different industries for environment protection activities and for the safe
disposal of hazardous materials.
Like any other job profile, the pay packet
largely depends on your academic qualification, your area of specialisation and
the institution from where you have earned your degree. Fresh graduates in this
field can generally bag a monthly salary in the range of Rs 8,000 to Rs 20,000.
It has been observed that candidates with a Masters degree in Biotechnology get
a better starting salary as compared with students who just have a graduate
degree in this field. With an increase in the level of experience, there is
abundant scope for getting fatter pay cheques in this exciting and inspiring
Demand and Supply
A number of factors determine the demand of
professionals from this interdisciplinary field. India primarily being an
agrarian economy, requires professionals who can improve agrarian practices and
optimise agricultural output. The growing population of the country requires
improved life sciences related products and medicines. This in turn fuels the
demand for an increased research and development of vaccines, medicines, tissue
culture methods and so on.
There is a steady demand for these professionals in numerous organisations
engaged in different types of industrial research and development. On the
supply side, technical colleges are trying their best to meet the growing
demand for qualified professionals.
One major problem faced on the demand side is that a vast majority of students
who are engaged in cutting edge research often tend to leave India to complete
their research projects. Moreover, once these students complete their research
work they tend to stay and work abroad.
Biotechnology has been making steady progress
in last decade and a half. More than half of the earnings from this industry
currently come from exports and the trend is expected to remain the same in the
Although, students doing research work in this field have a tendency to work in
foreign countries, yet there is huge potential for students who wish to stay
and work in India. According to a recent survey, India is stated to become an
international focal point for development of biotechnology.
The areas where biotechnology has grown in India includes Agricultural
Biotechnology, Animal Husbandry, Bioinformatics, Bio fertilizers and Dairy
development. Growth has also been seen in the area of Bio-resource Development,
Plant Biology, Marine Biotechnology, Microbiology, Genetic research.
The changes in the patent regime along with the initiatives taken by the
government are expected to bear fruit. All this will lead to a rapid growth and
expansion of biotechnological industries in the country.
At the international level, India has started
making its presence felt in the domain of biotechnology. However, there is
tremendous scope for graduate and post-graduate students from this field
especially in the United States and in European countries.
A large number of post-graduate students and research scholars tend to move out
of India to complete their higher studies. Furthermore, these students prefer
to seek employment in the country where they complete their studies or research
• This is an upcoming and constantly growing science and has worldwide scope
especially in terms of research.
• The scope for research is very wide and efficient work gets fast acclamation
• If you succeed in clearing the tests and interviews, it is assumed you are
the right fit for the profession.
• The number of seats for biotechnology courses is very limited across colleges
in comparison with subjects such as physics, chemistry or biology.
• The testing and interviewing processes usually are difficult and one has to
be technically expert.
• The number of companies employing biotechnology students is less when
compared with number of companies hiring IT professionals or finance
• You will have to put in a lot of hard work which can be frustrating at times.
• This is not a profession for people who want to make fast buck but for people
who are looking for a long and a well charted career.
Different roles, different names
Biotechnology, as the name suggests is the
technology of biology and the scope of both put together. On the one hand, it
has concepts from biology explored in depth. On the other hand, this subject
explores the impact and the influence of technology on the subject matter. The
subject is quite similar to Bioinformatics, which explores biological
information in depth using analytical and scientific tools.
Some companies to work with:
2. Serum Institute of India
3. Panacea Biotech
4. Mahyco Monsanto Biotech
5. Rasi Seeds
6. Novo Nordisk
8. Indian Immunologicals
9. Venkateshwara Hatcheries
11. Dr. Reddy’s Labs
12. Piramal Healthcare.
Overall, these are some of the major names in
Indian biotechnological industry which extensively use biotechnological
processes and techniques to develop and innovate products and processes.
Tips for Getting Hired
1. Apply to at least five to ten top
companies to have options for selecting the best job offer out of the ones
2. Carry proof of your technical expertise and assure as much as possible that
you will be an asset to the company that hires you.
3. Demand a reasonable salary as in the beginning, your focus must be to learn
how the industry works, overall.
4. Explore all the possible learning and development opportunities that the
companies you have applied to, will provide you. This will help you in choosing
the best out of all the offers received.