A Guide to Nanotechnology Engineering Career Opportunities
One of the great things about the field of engineering are the various career opportunities available. If you are thinking about focusing your studies on nanotechnology engineering, it pays to understand the job paths that may be available to you based on your choice.
Average Salary: $63,570
Project engineers are responsible for building, designing, supervising, operating, and maintaining projects and systems in the public and private sector. Civil Engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Most go on to obtain a graduate degree or other types of licensure to obtain promotions to senior positions within their organizations.
They examine maps, survey reports, and long-range plans to help plan out projects. Project engineers must also consider the costs of any projects, government regulations that must be accounted for, and any other factors that could pose a risk to their plans at any stage.
Essential skills for project engineers include the ability to balance multiple objectives while always keeping the financial implications of their decisions in mind. They also rely frequently on leadership skills in assigning and overseeing responsibilities of their crew along with problem-solving and math skills.
Average Salary: $80,223
Application engineers work to bridge the gap between customers and engineering teams. They take the time to analyze and understand what customers need, then translate that information into recommendations for the engineering team to inform the final solutions. Application engineers also generate new ideas for innovative software products that fill current gaps in the market.
Being a successful application engineer requires having the ability to adapt and gain a more in-depth understanding of critical software development techniques and coding skills. That provides you with the flexibility to help engineering teams build out applications effective at solving specific problems.
Other useful skills for application engineers include:
- Qualitative skills
- Project management abilities
- The willingness to collaborate across various teams and departments
- Knowledge of current company tools and products in use
- Sound math skills
Obtaining a master’s degree in engineering can be useful in moving up the organizational ladder into executive positions within a company. Application engineers should also be willing to continuously learn about new development tools and languages.
Average Salary: $38,630
Laboratory technicians help chemist and chemical engineers with researching, developing, producing, and testing chemical processes using laboratory tools and techniques. Their responsibilities include monitoring making sure products meet quality standards after thorough testing. They also maintain laboratory equipment and instruments.
Typical duties for laboratory technicians also include:
- Troubleshooting any malfunctioning instruments or production problems
- Preparing various chemical solutions
- Interpreting the results of tests and research analysis
- Preparing technical reports, charts, graphs and summarizing the results via presentations
Critical thinking skills allow laboratory technicians to make sound judgments on the conclusions of their research and testing. Other essential skills include the ability to articulate their findings, work well with other team members, and attention to detail when it comes to their work.
Average Salary: $47,136
Chemists analyze substances at their molecular and atomic levels, noting how they interact with each other. They then put that knowledge to use in developing products and testing the quality level of manufactured goods.
Duties chemists perform in the course of their daily work include:
- The ability to conduct complicated research projects
- Directing other workers and technicians in best practices for analyzing and testing various components and their physical properties
- Preparing compounds, solutions, and reagents for laboratory procedures
- Creating technical reports detailing their methods and findings
- Presenting their research findings to other colleagues
Most chemists have bachelor’s degrees in the field of physics, engineering, or chemistry. Obtaining a Ph.D. or master’s degree allows you to move further up the ladder in your career.
Average Salary: $65,033
Staff scientists conduct studies focused on investigating ways of improving the overall health of humans. They investigate various methods of combating human diseases in hopes of treating and ultimately curing them. Doing so requires preparing and analyzing medical samples and reviewing data around the causes and treatments of pathogens and chronic diseases.
Other staff scientist duties include:
- Standardizing the potency, methods, and doses of drugs and other medicinal compounds for mass production and distribution to a broader population
- Developing programs designed to improve health outcomes for humans in coordination with other health departments, industry professionals, and doctors
- Writing up research grant proposals needed to apply for funding from government and private agencies
Students can opt to attend medical school upon graduation and obtain a medical degree that pairs with their interests. Research scientist can be found in public and private industry working to combat illnesses like cancer, diseases of the immune system, biological aging, and blood disorders.
Average Salary: $87,370
Most mechanical engineers can be found working in research and development, manufacturing, and engineering services. Many of them work in office environments, though their job duties may call for occasional visits to worksites for an examination of problematic equipment that requires in-person attention.
Mechanical engineer job duties include creating and testing prototypes for machines and equipment. They also oversee machinery installation and look to resolve any issues preventing systems from running smoothly. Many use computer-aided design (CAD) to create blueprints containing the specifications for projects. Mechanical engineers can also be called upon to evaluate, test, redesign, and upgrade systems.
Other mechanical engineer duties:
- Taking charge of mechanical engineering design efforts
- Conducting on-site analysis and data gathering before starting the design process
- Creating design documentation that aligns with and can be traced back to the contractual obligations of a project
- Communicating with other engineers and contacts during the design and implementation cycles of a project
A master’s degree or Ph.D. are often required to move up to managerial positions within the field.
Average Salary: $86,892
While the sales field might seem an odd choice for nanotechnology engineering majors, the position often calls upon many of the skills passed on through study. Sales engineers must have a deep understanding of complex technological and scientific products along with the ability to communicate their necessity and effectiveness to businesses. That means being able to explain the functions of various parts and functions and how they work.
Other sales engineer duties:
- Preparing and delivering presentations on complex products and services to current and prospective customers
- Collaborating with the sales team to gain a firm understanding of customer requirements and to support their efforts
- Speaking with clients and engineers to account for equipment needs and system requirements
- Planning and modifying products to satisfy customers
- Managing orders and arranging their delivery
Sales engineers typically have a degree in engineering or another related field. They must be able to grasp complex technical problems and which products would be best in addressing specific issues.
Average Salary: $86,792
Optical engineers research and design applications and technology that use the concept of optics, which involves the properties of light and its interactions with matter. Optical engineers pull from various engineering concepts in their work.
They come up with the designs for precise optical systems found in telescopes, cameras, and lens systems. Some work on designing and fabricating instruments for testing and measuring how optical systems perform. Optical engineers work hard to locate any defects and resolve them before making a product available for the market.
Other specializations for optical engineers include:
- Designing, developing, modifying, and building components and equipment that use fiber optic and laser technology
- Testing laser systems
- Creating navigational, ballistic, and weapons systems for the military
- Using fiber optics in transmitting images or light
- Creating sensor devices that measure pressure, temperature, force, and other physical qualities
Many engineers return to school to obtain an advanced degree to further their progress in the field. Others move into the area of sales and marketing, focusing on selling potential customers on the benefits of a piece of optical technology.
Average Salary: $71,592
Consultants look for ways to improve efficiency within organizations. They advise managers on ways their company could generate more profits by following their recommendations on reducing costs and increasing revenues.
Typical duties for consultants include:
- Gathering information around a problem and organizing it in a way that helps executives understand how to tackle the issue
- Conducting interviews with company personnel and observing working conditions to make decisions on the methods, workers, and equipment necessary to execute their plans effectively
- Making recommendations on new systems, organizational changes, or standard procedures
- Working with managers to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes
Nanotechnology engineering majors who move into the field of consulting can benefit from obtaining the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation. They may also choose to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) for even more management or business related career prospects.