Bioinformatics is essentially the collection, collation, storage and retrieval of biological data. These data ranges from DNA, Protein, Biochemical information etc. Bioinformatics can also be defined as the use of biomedical tools - software or programs to analyse, data which are stored, or retrieved from the genomic, proteomics or biochemical databases. These tools make it possible to do sequence alignment, homology search, identification of protein function, structure, and its role in a normal cell or in pathology.
Well, the answer is no, bioinformatics is beyond these definitions given above. Bioinformatics is the way forward for researchers, students, and even doctors. Today, bioinformatics tools are integrated into many branches of science and, in the near future, even the general public may be able to use them to analyse their own DNA sequence.
So, why bother to study bioinformatics as a student?
All what have been said so far is, "it is essential for..." In my own subjective view it is more useful not only for final year project, but also to reinforce study or lecture materials. Whatever the area of profession for a student, these tools are still important in doing a background study of unknown proteins, disease, etc. It can also aid in making research more rapid than working in a laboratory. In the near future, will it be possible perhaps, to even do laboratory work without needing the laboratory itself?