Travelling along any New Jersey highway, you're bound to pass at least a few pharmaceutical or biotechnology company buildings. Names like Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Becton Dickinson, Boehringer Ingelheim are strewn all across our state. As a result, biology majors here are a coveted cohort, making up nearly 100,000 of the New Jersey workforce. Now in recent years, this number is exploding. 

What could be causing this sudden increase? 

Occasionally over the past few years, you may have seen the acronym "CRISPR" pop up in mainstream news. Well, CRISPR is a new gene editing tool that is revolutionizing the biotechnology. It's analogous to what 3D printing did for rapid prototyping. Suddenly, editing genes—a process that holds many applications of its own—has never been simpler. This new method offers an easily-accessible, cheaper, and more efficient way to edit genetic code than ever before. This and many other related technologies are pumping out new applications, discoveries, and potential treatments at an unheard-of rate. 

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Likewise, New Jersey biotechs are following suit. CRISPR technology has invaded the labs of the Garden State, and with all this brouhaha, listings for biology jobs have increased in number. Projected growth for molecular and environmental biologist positions in particular is expected be a significant 15-19% by 2022, where New Jersey is among the top paying states in these fields. So if you are a young college student with an interest in the life sciences, capitalize. As the need and capability for new solutions increases, biology will only become more interesting and more lucrative. 

Simon Levien 

Sparta