I am a software developer looking for a new set of challenges. I am therefore seriously considering undertaking study towards a Masters of Science in Bioinformatics (I have a bachelor degree in Comp Sci).
I have done extensive reading on the field and find it fascinating. In a perfect world this would be the only consideration. However, I am a little concerned about the economics of such a move.
From talking with people associated with the degree, it looks like salaries in Bioinformatics are about half as much as one would make as an experienced software developer in industry. This would amount to a halving of my wage and all the lifestyle changes that entails.
From my reading it appears that most bioinformatics is done in academia, or government / grant supported research labs.
Is there much opportunity for bioinformaticists to work within industry (pharma, biotech)? Are industry wages higher? Are these opportunities growing?
The people I have spoken to have quoted $50k - $60k for entry level (Masters) positions (in Australia). To go much higher seems to require a phd or post-doc. Does this sound accurate? What is the trend for wages in this field?
It seems that almost all the software used in bioinformatics is open source. I agree that this is excellent for research, but does this come at the exclusion of commercial software? Is there opportunity to build commercial software for bioinformatics?
Finally, what opportunities exist for bioinformaticists to make a comparable income to software developers working in industry?