Biotechnology, or biotech, engineers are pioneering scientists who combine their passion for biology with engineering principles to use or transform biological elements in production processes. Think food engineering or medical research.
Biotech engineers are curious professionals who strive to understand then reconfigure the biological building blocks of living things, also using molecular biology to do so. They research the genetic and physical attributes of cells, tissues, and organisms to identify practical uses for the science in biotech engineering processes. These engineers have invaluable scientific and engineering talent that make their professions critical to the successful cutting-edge biotech operations.
In biotechnology engineer jobs, engineers can be responsible for conducting research, designing equipment and processes, running tests, evaluating their results, and overseeing biotech engineering operations. Biotechnology engineers often use computer modeling and other technical processes to test the effectiveness of the biotech products, while also determining their environmental and consumer safety.
Given the importance of biotech engineering processes in many industries, biotechnology engineers can find many exciting job opportunities. Sectors include agriculture, healthcare and medical research, food manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Biotech engineers often work in labs in connection with industry.
In healthcare, for instance, biotech engineers may be involved in researching and creating artificial organs for patients. In the agriculture sector, biotechnology engineers may be responsible for producing preservatives for use in food and drinks, or they might genetically modify crops to increase their drought resistance. With the advancements in biotech every day, the future career outlook for biotechnology engineers is very promising.
Common biotechnology engineer responsibilities
A biotech engineer is responsible for performing a range of important engineering tasks. Responsibilities may include:
- Studying organisms and biological systems to create new products;
- Researching new methods of manufacturing biotechnologies, or reconfiguring biological substances to achieve breakthrough solutions;
- Inspecting, monitoring, testing, detecting, and solving an array of biotech engineering challenges, such as diagnosing diseases or product effectiveness;
- Performing biotech process engineering calculations to design or improve equipment, devices, or processes;
- Developing and using engineering software and computer-assisted design (CAD) software to execute tasks;
- Installing or providing technical support on biotech equipment use, including providing training as needed;
- Planning and deploying functional biotech engineering processes;
- Overseeing active biotech engineering processes;
- Collaborating with diverse engineers or team members, as well as customers on the biotechnology engineering projects;
- Collecting data or writing reports related to biotech engineering projects;
- Presenting developing or new research to diverse audiences;
- Preparing detailed documentation and specifications for the purchase of biotechnology engineering or industrial equipment and materials;
- Delivering results in line with agreed biotech project timelines and budgets;
- Ensuring the compliance of biotech engineering outputs with relevant requirements, codes, and certifications, and in line with customer needs and demands;
- Always ensuring the safety and security of team members;
- Safeguarding environmental safety of substances.
Qualifications for biotechnology engineers
Biotech engineers should have a Bachelor’s degree, and preferably an advanced degree in Biotech Engineering, Biology, or a related technical field.
Additional supporting skills and experience include:
- 3-5 years of biotech engineering experience;
- Excellent applied biology, math, and analytical skills;
- Proficient in using the latest computer hardware and software technologies;
- Strong verbal and written communication skills to be able to work easily with other engineers, managers, and team members;
- Project and team management skills.