Photonics engineers must be able to see things with explicit detail. Their eyes must be able to clearly see things both near and far. They must also be able to easily tell the difference between colors to the extent of being able to distinguish colors that vary in the smallest amount of brightness or shade. Being able to tell the distance between two or more objects with the utmost accuracy and to clearly see objects under bright lights are also important qualifications in this field. Excellent communication skills are a must, as these positions require daily written and verbal communication with clients, subordinates, and superiors.
The minds of photonics engineers should be creative and innovative since they are expected to be able to design and use state-of-the-art equipment throughout the course of their careers. From designing different types of lasers to designing products that will use these lasers to cut with pristine accuracy, creativity is a strong asset that the best photonics engineers possess.
As for educational requirements, photonics engineers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering area. Electrical engineering, engineering physics, and mechanical engineering are all acceptable fields of study. These degrees take four or five years to complete. For higher paying positions, a master’s degree may be expected, and in some cases a PhD. Photonics engineers that wish to teach at the college level must have attained their PhD within the same field. The same is required for engineers that desire a research and development position within photonics.
Some other fields of study for students considering a career in photonics engineering are nanotechnology, systems engineering, mechatronics, geophysical engineering, robotics, automation engineering, and laser and optical technology.
For high school students considering this as their career path, getting involved in college prep and AP courses could be useful. Taking as many science and math classes as possible, including physics, trigonometry, and calculus, will also help with college studies. Elective courses such as computer classes will ensure that the student is up to date on knowledge of software and other computer-related subjects. Job shadowing, work-study, and internships are also available for dedicated students that have high skill levels in areas related to engineering.