Microfabrication engineers are employed by government agencies (such as the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security and the National Institutes of Health) that conduct research on microelectromechanical systems and devices. In the private sector, engineers work in many industries, including electronics/semiconductor, automotives, defense and aerospace, materials science (including packaging, textiles, and polymers), biotechnology, nanotechnology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, food science, energy and renewable energy, defense, telecommunications, agriculture production/food processing, and environmental monitoring, control, and remediation. Engineers with advanced degrees can work as professors and researchers at colleges and universities. Some may teach science at the high school level.
Many engineers land their first jobs after obtaining experience as microfabrication interns while in college. Internships offer a great opportunity to explore different career paths, make networking contacts, and impress future bosses with your work ethic. Other popular job-search methods include using the resources of your school’s career services office, attending career fairs, working with recruiters, accessing job listings at association and industry job sites, and being active on networking sites such as LinkedIn.
Engineering associations also provide job-search resources. For example, the National Society of Professional Engineers provides webinars for its student members. Past webinars included “How to Get Your First Job,” “Career Success in Engineering: A Guide for Students and New Professionals,” “Ethics and Professionalism for Students and Young Engineers,” and “Engineering Your Career with a High Quality Social Network.”
With experience, microfabrication engineers move up the ladder to become senior engineers, engineering managers, production managers, or company executives. Some microfabrication engineers launch their own engineering businesses or consulting firms, while others enter academia and become teachers.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for career resources and job listings:
Attend the MEMS Executive Conference; the International Microsystems, Packaging, Assembly and Circuits Technology Conference; and other industry events to network, participate in continuing education opportunities in microfabrication engineering, and to interview for jobs.
Use social media, especially LinkedIn, to network, follow companies, and apply for jobs in microfabrication engineering.