The Bay Area is the world center of biotechnology education and industry. The industry applies new biological technology to improve the health of humans and animals, agriculture, and the environment in a number of ways. For example, developing devices to test for various diseases, drugs to treat illnesses, methods for raising and breeding farm animals more efficiently and cost effectively, and adding genes to crops to increase protection from insects.
Biotechnology products take many years to develop (10-20 is not uncommon). It is not until this development by scientists is complete that manufacturing begins and opportunities for technicians arise. We are now at the point where many products are nearing the completion of the development phase and are ready for production and manufacturing. Many opportunities for
Biotechnology Technicians are available, and this field has been only mildly affected by the year 2001 downturn in the economy. Educational programs in biotechnology and biomanufacturing can prepare individuals for entering this field. Many biotech employers are startups or smaller companies compared to computer-related firms, which tend to be larger on average.
A related field, called bioinformatics is beginning to emerge. It is the result of merging biotechnology and information technology. Since the Bay Area already has a high concentration of both of these fields, it is likely to become the hot spot in the country for bioinformatics, and training programs are beginning to emerge.