Summary Report for:
17-2199.06 - Microsystems Engineers
Research, design, develop, or test microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices.
Sample of reported job titles: Control Systems Engineer, MEMS Integration Engineer (Microelectrical Mechanical Integration Engineer), Microsystems Engineer, Process Engineer, Product Design Engineer, Project Design Engineer, Project Engineer, Radio Frequency Design Engineer (RF Design Engineer), System Engineer, Systems Engineer
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings
- Create schematics and physical layouts of integrated microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) components or packaged assemblies consistent with process, functional, or package constraints.
- Investigate characteristics such as cost, performance, or process capability of potential microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) device designs, using simulation or modeling software.
- Create or maintain formal engineering documents, such as schematics, bills of materials, components or materials specifications, or packaging requirements.
- Conduct analyses addressing issues such as failure, reliability, or yield improvement.
- Plan or schedule engineering research or development projects involving microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology.
- Propose product designs involving microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, considering market data or customer requirements.
- Develop formal documentation for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices, including quality assurance guidance, quality control protocols, process control checklists, data collection, or reporting.
- Communicate operating characteristics or performance experience to other engineers or designers for training or new product development purposes.
- Evaluate materials, fabrication methods, joining methods, surface treatments, or packaging to ensure acceptable processing, performance, cost, sustainability, or availability.
- Refine final microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) design to optimize design for target dimensions, physical tolerances, or processing constraints.
- Conduct harsh environmental testing, accelerated aging, device characterization, or field trials to validate devices, using inspection tools, testing protocols, peripheral instrumentation, or modeling and simulation software.
- Develop or file intellectual property and patent disclosure or application documents related to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices, products, or systems.
- Conduct or oversee the conduct of prototype development or microfabrication activities to ensure compliance to specifications and promote effective production processes.
- Conduct experimental or virtual studies to investigate characteristics and processing principles of potential microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology.
- Devise microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) production methods, such as integrated circuit fabrication, lithographic electroform modeling, or micromachining.
- Develop or validate specialized materials characterization procedures, such as thermal withstand, fatigue, notch sensitivity, abrasion, or hardness tests.
- Validate fabrication processes for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), using statistical process control implementation, virtual process simulations, data mining, or life testing.
- Demonstrate miniaturized systems that contain components such as microsensors, microactuators, or integrated electronic circuits fabricated on silicon or silicon carbide wafers.
- Manage new product introduction projects to ensure effective deployment of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices or applications.
- Conduct acceptance tests, vendor-qualification protocols, surveys, audits, corrective-action reviews, or performance monitoring of incoming materials or components to ensure conformance to specifications.
- Develop or implement microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) processing tools, fixtures, gages, dies, molds, or trays.
- Develop customer documentation, such as performance specifications, training manuals, or operating instructions.
- Identify, procure, or develop test equipment, instrumentation, or facilities for characterization of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) applications.
- Develop or validate product-specific test protocols, acceptance thresholds, or inspection tools for quality control testing or performance measurement.
- Oversee operation of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication or assembly equipment, such as handling, singulation, assembly, wire-bonding, soldering, or package sealing.
- Consider environmental issues when proposing product designs involving microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology.
- Design or develop energy products using nanomaterials or nanoprocesses, such as micro-nano machining.
- Design or develop industrial air quality microsystems, such as carbon dioxide fixing devices.
- Design or develop sensors to reduce the energy or resource requirements to operate appliances, such as washing machines or dishwashing machines.
- Design sensors or switches that require little or no power to operate for environmental monitoring or industrial metering applications.
- Research or develop emerging microelectromechanical (MEMS) systems to convert nontraditional energy sources into power, such as ambient energy harvesters that convert environmental vibrations into usable energy.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Ammeters — Picoammeters
- Analytical balances — Electronic balances
- Bench refractometers or polarimeters — Polarimeters
- Binocular light compound microscopes — Inspection microscopes; Optical compound microscopes
- Calibrated resistance measuring equipment — Resistivity measurement systems
- Capacitance meters — Inductance capacitance resistance LCR meters
- Chemical or gas sterilizers — Ultraviolet ozone cleaners
- Clock timers — Countdown timers
- Drying cabinets or ovens — Critical point dryers
- Electrogravimetry analyzers — Electrochemical analyzers
- Electronic measuring probes — Mechanical probe stations
- Fume hoods or cupboards — Laminar flow flume hoods
- Heated walk in environmental or growth chambers — Thermal chambers
- Hydraulic press frames — Hydraulic presses
- Impedance meters — Four point probes
- Infrared spectrometers — Extractive Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers
- Isolation glove boxes
- Laboratory evaporators — Metal evaporators
- Laboratory hotplates — Hotplates
- Laboratory safety furnaces — Oxidation furnaces
- Level generators — Pulse generators
- Modulation meters — Time interval analyzers
- Multimeters — Digital multimeters
- Network analyzers
- Personal computers
- pH meters
- Scanning electron microscopes — Scanning electron microscopes SEM
- Scanning probe microscopes — Atomic force microscopes AFM
- Semiconductor process systems — Inductively coupled plasma reactive ion etchers ICP-RIE; Plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition PECVD systems; Thin film deposition systems; Wet chemical etching systems (see all 20 examples)
- Semiconductor testers — Curve tracers; Parametric testers; Semiconductor parameter analyzers; Thin film measurement systems
- Signal generators
- Spectrometers — Raman scattering spectroscopes
- Spectrophotometers — Fluorescence spectrophotometers
- Surface tension measuring instruments — Contact angle measurement systems
- Surface testers — Profilometers
- Temperature cycling chambers or thermal cyclers — Rapid thermal annealers RTA
- Thickness measuring devices — Ellipsometers; Spectroscopic ellipsometers
- Tube furnaces
- Tumblers or polishers — Chemical mechanical polishing CMP systems
- Ultra pure water systems — Deionized water systems
- Vibration testers — Vibration measurement systems
- X ray diffraction equipment — X ray diffractometers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — Simulation software; The MathWorks MATLAB ; Very high speed integrated circuit VHSIC hardware description language VHDL simulation software; WinSpice (see all 42 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; MEMSCAP MEMS Pro; PTC Creo Parametric ; Xcircuit (see all 10 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access
- Development environment software — C ; Microsoft Visual Basic ; National Instruments LabVIEW
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software
- Industrial control software — Statistical process control SPC software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Object or component oriented development software — C++ ; Practical extraction and reporting language PERL ; Python
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Apple Macintosh OS; Linux ; Microsoft Windows; UNIX
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Detailed Work Activities
- Select tools, equipment, or technologies for use in operations or projects.
- Develop technical methods or processes.
- Document technical design details.
- Schedule operational activities.
- Direct design or development activities.
- Prepare contracts, disclosures, or applications.
- Test performance of electrical, electronic, mechanical, or integrated systems or equipment.
- Design alternative energy systems.
- Create graphical representations of mechanical equipment.
- Design industrial processing systems.
- Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
- Design electromechanical equipment or systems.
- Prepare proposal documents.
- Design electronic or computer equipment or instrumentation.
- Operate precision equipment to control microscopic or nanoscopic processes.
- Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
- Prepare procedural documents.
- Create models of engineering designs or methods.
- Devise research or testing protocols.
- Purchase materials, equipment, or other resources.
- Conduct quantitative failure analyses of operational data.
- Design systems to reduce harmful emissions.
- Research engineering applications of emerging technologies.
- Conduct validation tests of equipment or processes.
- Design energy production or management equipment or systems.
- Investigate the environmental impact of projects.
- Design micro- or nano-scale materials, devices, or systems.
- Inspect operational processes.
- Research industrial processes or operations.
- Electronic Mail — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 58% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 58% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Telephone — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 68% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 54% responded “Extremely important.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 46% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 23% responded “Contact with others about half the time.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 77% responded “Important results.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 36% responded “About half the time.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Deal With External Customers — 56% responded “Very important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 36% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Time Pressure — 74% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Level of Competition — 35% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Letters and Memos — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, surgeons, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: IRC
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Engineers, All Other.
Employment data collected from Engineers, All Other.
Industry data collected from Engineers, All Other.
|Median wages (2015)||$46.11 hourly, $95,900 annual|
|Employment (2014)||137,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Slower than average (2% to 4%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||33,000|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.