Why Study Computational Biology/Bioinformatics?

The bioscience and biotechnology industry is a fast-growing field both at the national and state level. On the national level, employment in this industry grew by 2.7% from 2016 to 2018, and the industry has a total economic impact of $2.6 trillion. This industry relies heavily on bioinformaticians, biostatisticians, and data scientists.

Science research discussion between two people

The students in the ComBiNE program will combine a computational major (computer science or data science) with a minor in biology, or a biological major (biology or biotechnology) with a computational minor (computer science or data science). These selected major/minor combinations are intended to prepare students with the skills needed for the bioscience and biotechnology industries.

The first two rows in the table below (shaded in blue) represent the intended job sectors for the ComBiNE scholars. These area show a high job growth rate and commensurate pay scale, which uniquely qualify these career choices as rewarding and assuring social mobility. The table also shows the median annual salary and projected growth for other candidate job sectors for ComBiNE scholars. The numbers show high job prospects for other computing-related jobs. The enrichment of biology majors with computing skills through the ComBiNE interdisciplinary curriculum adequately prepares them to move from modest-growth job families into the higher-growth categories. The 3i (introduction, incubation, independence) tiered research program, which is an important component of the ComBiNE program, introduces and prepares scholars in their research readiness and connects them to potential employers for further work-based learning.

Job Sector Median Annual Salary Projected Growth
Bioinformatics and Data Scientists* $98,230 31%
Biostatisticians** $92,270 35%
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts & Testers $110,140 22%
Computer and Information Research Scientists $126,830 22%
Microbiologist $84,400 4%
Molecular and Cell Biologist $85,290 5%
Clinical Laboratory Technologists $54,189 11%

Median annual salary and projected 2020-2030 job growth for candidate job sectors for ComBiNE scholar (Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021. O*NET Program, 2021) *Listed under Data Scientists and Mathematical Science Occupations on O*Net. **Listed under Statisticians on O*NET. The blue shaded rows represent the main target sectors for ComBiNE scholars.