What is Photonics?
Photonics is the area of study which involves the use of light (photons) to generate energy, detect information, or transmit information. The main goal of photonics engineering is to develop new innovative ways to solve problems in telecommunications, medicine, manufacturing, and construction. If you are a bright, detail orientated mind, that enjoys subjects like physics and algebra this is definitely the career for you. The industry also pays well with an average salary of $98,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics so you will be able to live comfortably anywhere your work takes you.
What do Photonic Engineers actually do?
So you think you might be interested in becoming a photonics engineer. You’re smart, creative, motivated and understand photonics engineers plan, develop, and create the technologies of the future, but still are not sure exactly what those applications are. No problem! Below are four examples of real world applications:
- Save lives by creating lasers which would be used in heart surgeries.
- Amaze crowds by creating lasers for EDM concerts or art shows.
- Design energy efficient LED lights that could be used in vehicles.
- Develop more advanced fiber optics to be used to transmit data all around the world.
So how do you become a Photonics Engineer?
In high school it would help to study subjects such as chemistry, physics, algebra, geometry, and calculus to get you warmed up for the even harder courses you will need to take in college. Then you will need to get a degree in physics, nanotechnology, or engineering, ideally continuing your education to obtain your masters in photonics. You will need to be very detail orientated and well versed in IT and technology just as much as physics or calculus. Photonics engineers need to be the crème de la crème, so you’re better off getting rid of any ideas of slacking in this industry.
Once you land that covered job and begin work as a photonics engineer, you should probably think about continuing your education and always staying up to date with recent advances in technology. You could even work toward obtaining a chartered status, which would help increase your responsibilities and salary. To find out more about becoming a chartered engineer see the Engineering Council website.