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Summary Report for:
17-2199.07 - Photonics Engineers

Design technologies specializing in light information or light energy, such as laser or fiber optics technology.

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings

Tasks

  • Design, integrate, or test photonics systems or components.
  • Develop optical or imaging systems, such as optical imaging products, optical components, image processes, signal process technologies, or optical systems.
  • Analyze system performance or operational requirements.
  • Write reports or research proposals.
  • Assist in the transition of photonic prototypes to production.
  • Develop or test photonic prototypes or models.
  • Conduct testing to determine functionality or optimization or to establish limits of photonics systems or components.
  • Design electro-optical sensing or imaging systems.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, continue education, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in the field.
  • Conduct research on new photonics technologies.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Electron microscopes — Microprobe stations; Probe test stations
Fluorescent microscopes — Confocal fluorescence microscopes; Deconvolution fluorescence microscopes; Total internal reflection fluorescence TIRF microscopes
Interferometers — Autocorrelators; Optical spectrum analyzers; Wavelength meters
Lasers — Argon-ion lasers; Nitrogen lasers; Tunable diode lasers; Tunable dye lasers
Scanning light or spinning disk or laser scanning microscopes — Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering CARS microscopes; Near field scanning optical microscopes NSOM; Raman microscopes
Semiconductor process systems — Contact lithography systems; Electron beam lithography systems; Plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition PECVD systems; Reactive ion etchers RIE
Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters — Fluorescence lifetime spectrometers; Spectrofluorimeters

Technology used in this occupation:

Analytical or scientific software — Adept Scientific GRAMS; BPM_CAD; Photon Design PICWave; The MathWorks MATLAB
Computer aided design CAD software — Apollo Photonics APSS; Optiwave OptiBPM; Optiwave OptiFDTD; Photon Design FIMMWAVE
Development environment software — C; National Instruments LabVIEW

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Knowledge

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.
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.
Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

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Skills

Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
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.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
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.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

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Abilities

Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
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).
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.
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).
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
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.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

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Work Activities

Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
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.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Work Context

Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.
Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and special agents.
SVP Range (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
54   Bachelor's degree
33   Master's degree
13   Doctoral or professional degree

This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:

Physics/Astronomy — Engineering Physics; Optics/Optical Sciences

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Interests

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.
Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

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Work Styles

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.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

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Work Values

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.

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Related Occupations

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17-3029.06 Manufacturing Engineering Technologists Bright Outlook Green Occupation

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages data collected from Engineers, All Other.
Employment data collected from Engineers, All Other.
Industry data collected from Engineers, All Other.

Median wages (2012) $44.24 hourly, $92,030 annual
Employment (2012) 133,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 29,500
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Photonics Engineers

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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