Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Maria O'Neill from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Maria O'Neill

Civil Engineer

STEPS

Read more

  Maria O'Neill

If you like working with others, and like problem solving then its definitely worth considering. Do you ever look at a bridge/skyscraper etc. and wonder how they did that? Or better still, are you looking at the way the road at home is laid out and thinking if they had of done something differently it would have been better.

Engineering is not a career people think about and say its helping people, but in many ways it is rewarding and just as much about helping people. Engineers design things used everyday that help people get to work, provide clean water, provide sewerage systems, care for the environment....

Close

Naturalist?
Naturalist 
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Close
Study Skills
Other
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation

Featured Article

logo imagelogo image
Return to List



A day in the life of a Laser Physicist

I work as a Senior Laser Engineer in a company that designs and builds laser machining tools.

9.00am – My typical day starts with a project planning meeting to ensure that my team and I are clear on what we need to do for the day. We discuss problems or issues encountered in the previous day and talk about the work plan for the current day.

My job is to investigate new laser processes for our existing and potential customers. This involves determining what type of laser, and laser conditions, to use on different types of customer wafers. Our customers typically manufacture computer chips and memory devices. Amongst other work we machine small features such as holes, trenches and slots on such device wafers.

10.00am, the engineers working for me start processing work in the lab. It involves a series of experimental tests to determine the optimum laser conditions for machining a particular customer sample. We change parameters such as laser beam size, laser focus, laser repetition frequency, laser wavelength and laser pulse energy in order to determine the optimum machining conditions. After machining we conduct tests using an optical microscope in order to assess the quality of the laser machined features.

Throughout the day I pop in and out of the lab to see how things are going, discuss progress and analyse samples that have been machined. Once we have decided on a suitable process I will write a report for our customer that details our experimental results and provides a detailed analysis of the features we have machined.

Other aspects of my job include visiting customers to see how their laser tool is performing and assist in their process development work on-site if required. This involves travelling within Europe, the US and Asia for a short visit, or sometimes several weeks, depending on the customer requirements.

A few times a year I visit laser vendors to perform sample testing with some of their new prototype systems to assess if we can expand our customer base by integrating a new laser with different performance characteristics onto a new version of our machine.

The day draws to a close with most problems ironed out and I start to think about tomorrow, which includes a visit to a potential customer to assess their application. I’ll have to decide if technically our machines can perform to their conditions or if we need to alter our tool/laser process in order to meet their requirements.

Oonagh Meighan ~ www.iopireland.org


Article by: Oonagh Meighan ~ Institute of Physicists Ireland