Microsystems Engineers
17-2199.06

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

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • 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.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • 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 People Outside the 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 Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Monitoring 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.
  • Providing 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.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

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 pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.
SVP Range
Over 4 years of preparation (8.0 and above)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • 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.
  • Operations 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.

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Knowledge

  • 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.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 34%
     
    responded: Master’s degree requiredmore info
  • 31%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required
  • 22%
     
    responded: Doctoral degree requiredmore info

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • 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 that 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.

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Interests

Interest code: IRC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • 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.

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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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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.
  • 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.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wage data for Engineers, All Other.
Employment data for Engineers, All Other.
Industry data for Engineers, All Other.
Median wages (2021)
$48.38 hourly, $100,640 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
167,100 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Slower than average (1% to 5%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
11,000
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

Related Occupations

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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