In Summary - Biotechnologist
The Work - Biotechnologist
Biotechnologists make products with a biological ingredient or action, like vaccines, antibiotics, drugs and hormones.
Biotechnologists use the techniques of molecular biology such as genetic engineering, to change the way an organism grows or behaves. For example, insulin, a chemical normally made in the human body (but lacking in people with diabetes) has been made from genetically engineered bacteria. It encompasses an ever-growing range of laboratory techniques for the attention and manipulation of molecules, genes and cells.
In agriculture, biotechnologists may change genes to increase crop yields, or make crops more resistant to pests and disease. They use micro-organisms, such as bacteria or yeasts to perform specific industrial or manufacturing processes producing certain drugs and hormones and the bioconversion of organic wastes.
In manufacturing, biotechnologists supervise the production plant, and test the product to monitor its safety and quality.
Alternative job titles for this role include: Bioengineer; Molecular biologist; Biophysicist; Biochemist and Microbiologist.
Typical employers include:
- Medical technology companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Scientific foundations and institutions
- Agriculture and crop production companies
- Industries working in areas such as biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil
- Environments research in companies and institutions such as biofuels
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Conduct research, along with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists, on the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals.
- Design and develop medical diagnostic and clinical instrumentation, equipment, and procedures, using the principles of engineering and biobehavioral sciences.
- Teach biomedical engineering or disseminate knowledge about field through writing or consulting.
- Research new materials to be used for products, such as implanted artificial organs.
- Develop models or computer simulations of human biobehavioral systems to obtain data for measuring or controlling life processes.
- Adapt or design computer hardware or software for medical science uses.
- Diagnose and interpret bioelectric data, using signal processing techniques.
- Design and deliver technology to assist people with disabilities.
- Evaluate the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment.
- Manage team of engineers by creating schedules, tracking inventory, creating and using budgets, and overseeing contract obligations and deadlines.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Interests - Biotechnologist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
As a biotechnologist, you must have a thorough and methodical approach to your work. You will need an enquiring mind and enjoy solving problems. You will also need to show initiative with a flexible approach and the ability to communicate your findings, both verbally and in writing, to your colleagues.
- Complex problem-solving
- Team work and communication skills
- Investigative skills
- Attention to detail
- Innovative thinking
- Observation skills
- Interest in biology and technology
Entry Requirements - Biotechnologist
Biotechnologists are graduates. A bachelor’s degree in biotechnology is the most common entry route into the industry.
Students can attain a general science certification or diploma before progressing onto a biotechnology degree. Degrees in the following are also doorways to the biotech sector:
- Process engineering
- Chemical engineering
- Pharmaceutical sciences
- Environmental biology
Alternative routes to a bachelor’s degree in this area may apply to students that have a FET qualification in a related course or general science certification or diploma. For further details on eligibility requirements for third level entry following a PLC qualification, students should visit the CAO course search.
A postgraduate qualification - PhD or MSc - in a relevant subject for is typically needed for research posts. Some relevant work experience is valued by employers.
Last Updated: November, 2015
Pay & Salary - Biotechnologist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 28k - 54k
Graduate/Starting: 31 (approx.)
CPL / Smart Futures
Last Updated: February, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Biotechnologist
Useful Contacts - Biotechnologist
Life Science Recruitment
Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
Irish Medical Devices Association
Irish Society of Clinical Microbiologists (ISCM)
Clinical Research Development Ireland