Biochemistry is an anchor linking many fields in Life Science like Molecular Biology, Agricultural Science, Genetics, Veterinary Medicine, Human Medicine, Pharmacy, Biotechnology, etc. Most people see it as the “bride of modern science” and of course as a gorgeous bride, everybody will like to marry her. Biochemistry is one of the fields in Life Science that has great potentials and high prospects. In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the top reasons why you should study biochemistry.
What does a biochemist do?
On a regular basis, biochemists mainly carry out research projects, prepare technical reports, and manage laboratory teams, present research findings to stakeholders and scientists. Using lasers, electron microscopes, and other sophisticated laboratory instruments, biochemists conduct experiments by analyzing DNA, enzymes, and other macromolecules. Most of these laboratory instruments cover various fields, including the extraction of cell samples from plants & animals for genetic studies and research in developing effective drugs for pharmaceutical companies. Once the process is complete, the results are analyzed using advanced modeling software. Working in research firms and other science-based fields, biochemists get employed across life science sectors, including vaccine production, food technology, toxicology, biotech, and pharmaceuticals. They are mostly assigned research roles in government and academic institutions.
How do you become a Biochemist?
Biochemists with a bachelor’s degree may be eligible for entry-level prospects in the field. However, only those who have earned a Master’s or doctorate degrees stand a better chance of landing the high ranking and top-paying jobs in independent research firms. Earning a postdoctoral fellowship is another strategic way of rising to the highest peak of your career in the biochemistry sector. Experts in Career development suggest that students get into research labs for their industrial attachments in their fresher’s years to get first-hand experience and a sense of what a career in biochemistry might look like.
Biochemistry is an emerging discipline in life science that many people have neglected because they have limited knowledge about it. It is a rapidly evolving field with new researches being made every day.
Best Reasons Why You Should Study Biochemistry
Here are the top 10 reasons why you should study Biochemistry arranged in no particular order
- To Gain Molecular Knowledge
Biochemistry is a broad field of study. Although it is seen as just the study of life processes at the molecular level, it finds wide application in various areas like Pharmacy, Medicine, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Industries, Bioremediation, water treatment, food management, etc. Gaining knowledge of Biochemistry is a huge achievement that has monetary gain if properly utilized and applied. Also, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the fundamental processes of life at the molecular and cellular levels with a key focus on areas like virology, neuroscience, biodiversity, and bacteriology. You’ll explore other relevant areas like pharmacology, immunology, and toxicology in your final years of study. These will give you a deeper understanding of the course and allow you to specialize in your area of passion. You’ll also get the opportunity to work with a project supervisor to carry out your scientific research, thoroughly analyzing protocols, literature, and data.
- For fulfillment and satisfaction
One of the most predominant reasons why people establish a business venture is to make a profit. The study of biochemistry is not, to any extent, different from these. Many people crave knowledge irrespective of monetary profits. If you are passionate about being a researcher, working in industries such as the food and beverage industry, then Biochemistry is for you. There are many people who study courses they are not passionate about, and they end up being frustrated in life. The truth of the matter is that true joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction comes from studying a course you’re passionate about.
- Gain Industry experience
Studying biochemistry affords you the opportunity to gain real industry experience in areas of your personal interest during your Professional Training Spacement or Industrial attachment. You can also choose to work for different employers, including biotech companies, hospitals, food suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, etc. to further enhance or put your biochemical skills to practice.
Most universities across the globe have partner institutions that offer placements exclusively to Biochemistry students, thus giving them access to world-class laboratories across the world. You can also explore your transferable skills by working in other fields, including data analysis, marketing, and scientific communications.
- Relatedness of Biochemistry courses to other life science courses
Biochemistry is not an isolated course in the world of science. A biochemistry student will have a vast knowledge of other courses like Biology, Chemistry, Parasitology, Zoology, Microbiology, Veterinary Anatomy, and Physiology. This is because all the courses are closely related. For instance, a Biochemistry student who wants to have a sound understanding of the works of Christian Gram on staining techniques will also need to understand some Physics terms like Unlike Charges repel while like charges attract. This is one of the underlying principles of the Gram staining techniques, which seeks to classify organisms into either Gram-positive or Gram-negative based on the reaction between the microorganism’s cell wall and the dye. Biochemistry is also interrelated with other courses where it is absolutely necessary.
- Job availability
The job opportunities, prospects, and job openings for graduates in the field of biochemistry are enormous. One who studied biochemistry can find career options in many research establishments/institutes with strong biological background, chemical and drug industries, biotech industries, food, and beverage industry. A degree in Biochemistry can qualify you for these job openings and many more job opportunities.
The field of biochemistry is evolving, and so are the diverse opportunities available. Studying biochemistry gives you the opportunity to be part of an innovative field and allows you to think outside the box to come up with experimental research and analysis with the goal of solving human problems. Studying Biochemistry gives you the opportunity to be part of a field of endless possibilities.
According to a survey by a team of experts in career development, an average Biochemist earns nothing less than 93,000 USD annually in the US. A biochemist’s salary depends largely on the place the person works and their area of specialization. High paying areas are mostly industrial sectors, academic/government agencies, quality controls.
- Years of study
The minimum number of years for the study of biochemistry in the university is just four years. This is far more comparable to other courses like Engineering, Architecture, & Pharmacy, which takes five years to complete, and courses like Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, which takes about 6 to 7 years.
- Ease of securing admission
Due to its wide accreditation, Biochemistry finds lower entrance competition compared to other courses like Medicine, Pharmacy, Engineering, Law, and Architecture. All applicants who want to study Biochemistry in the university must have good grades to speed up their admission process. Although Biochemistry is not highly competitive, it’s best to be on the safer side by having good grades in WAEC and securing high JAMB scores and post UTME.
- Choose to study integrated Masters
After having your first degree in Biochemistry, you have the option of opting for integrated masters, which incorporates an additional year of research-centered study covering advanced techniques in biochemistry, laboratory-based dissertation, and scientific communication. This will further prepare you for a technically based research career in academia. It will also serve as a gateway for your Ph.D. studies in Biochemistry. More so, an integrated master’s degree is far cheaper than a separate postgraduate degree. If you have an excellent academic performance, you can secure a fully-paid scholarship to see you through your Masters and doctorate degree.
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What the Future Holds for Biochemistry
As stated earlier, Biochemistry is an emerging field, and the numerous fields in it are surely going places. Genomics (the study of the complete set of DNA in an organism) is one of the most closely related biochemistry fields that has a long-term implication for clinical and drug development workflows. For instance, Genome sequencing is causing a revolution in early diagnosis- a mouth-watering breakthrough in the biochemistry world that can skyrocket the development of new therapies for a wide range of health conditions.
More so, with more biochemical research being amplified by the rapid advancement in machine learning and artificial intelligence, the ability to explore other forsaken areas of biochemistry is now made possible. Biochemistry provides biochemical explanations for all life processes at the cellular and molecular level. A biochemist is a professional specialized in studying the chemistry of living processes and systems.
A thorough study of the chemistry of living systems shows that enzymes are responsible for catalyzing the biochemical reactions that take place in living cells. Most drugs act by blocking the metabolism of unwanted compounds in the body or inhibiting enzymes’ activities in living cells. Scientists and researchers in biochemistry have taken advantage of the differences between disease-causing germs and their host organisms to design potent drugs that kill these germs without harming the animal harboring them.
Considering its central role in the world of life science as a means of solving myriads of health, industrial and science problems, employment opportunities and prospects in biochemistry are expected to skyrocket exponentially within the next decade.
In conclusion, all life activities on Earth depend solely on biochemical processes and reactions. By integrating this strategic knowledge to understand the disease, maintain health, identify potential treatments, biochemistry is and will remain one of the most essential fields in life science. We hope that with the information we have provided in this article, you now have a sufficient understanding of the reasons why you should study biochemistry
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé