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Job Skills Prospective jobs after masters in EE

  1. Aug 7, 2017 #1
    I have a BSc degree from Physics/Middle East Technical University and MSc degree in electrical and electronic engineering/Koc University. Both of these universities are located in Turkey and I am planning to relocate to work in an R&D setting. While getting my undergraduate degree I took a lot of courses on theoretical physics and some courses on programming. Later I decided to pursue a master's degree in EE and transition into an industrical career instead of an academical one.

    During my master's study I worked at an optics laboratory/clean-room and got experience on operating scanning electron microscopes, performing electron beam lithography, aligning an infrared optical setup, performing measurements with lock-in amplifiers, scripting in Matlab and finite difference time domain simulation techniques.

    Now I would like to work abroad due to personal reasons and as far as I am concerned the most suitable job for me is being an optical engineer. However, I do not have any industrial experience and experience with CAD tools such as Zemax. I am mostly browsing job postings from Linkedin and they all seem to be of senior level. As a member of OSA I also browsed through the postings on www.workinoptics.com, yet on that site the number of available positions are really low and most of them require expertise.

    I am also interest in data science, yet being unexperienced I need to undergo some learning period. With this in mind I think working in the optics industry will be a better fit. Any suggestions/ideas are greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2017 #2


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    Looks like we got similar academic backgrounds, my Master's did something quite similar, although it was a Science degree.

    I have graduated for around 3 years and worked around 2 years in the industry while constantly searching something that exactly matches my skill sets. I looked at the Asia-Pacific region (didn't look very hard around US/EU because visa requirements added another barrier), and my observations are similar to yours.

    Let me give you a brief summary of what I've found (be warned they may sound more pessimistic than they are, something about me these days...)
    1. lens module design: this includes camera lens or subsystems we use in our optical experiments in the labs, the lack of CAD skills like Zemax, pretty much wipes us out on these positions. Local schools (in China, for example) are pumping out thousands of graduates every year who are trained to use them. If this is what your are aiming for, enroll in some professional course and get trained.
    2. imaging: while relevant to optics, most employers just look for programmers with experience with things like 3A algorithm
    3. telecom equipment: most of them buy light sources from suppliers. Design of the system structure done through CAD (seeing a trend?) like ProE. Signal processing requires electronic engineering background (bit error rate, channel capacity, modulation schemes and all that good stuff) and PCB layout experience or IC design. Assembly of these products are done by automated machines, most employers look for strong mechanical backgrounds for these parts.
    4. laser cutting/cleaning: this includes anything from metal plates to silicon wafers, employers tend to look for people with material science backgrounds for this, basically how different material react to the high heat of laser treatment. The other aspect would be geometric optics, which links back to Zemax or similar software
    5. light source/detectors: basically laser chips, LED, photodiodes etc. I believe you are going to need strong solid state physics background for this one, and be really good with simulation tools such as COMSOL
    6. manufacturing: not really relevant, but this is the path I took. The pay was good, the work is boring, frustrating, and time consuming. I was told I can learn a lot about R&D while working in manufacturing, turned out to be a blatant lie. That was what I got from being a gullible fresh graduate. Basically my job was about collecting all the data on what the assembly lines have made, see what's causing the most problems in the long run, and make people fix them.
    I hope my experiences helped. Just note that things may be very different in other regions.
  4. Aug 8, 2017 #3
    Yup, that's about right.

    In the US you will be considered an entry-level engineer with advanced (MSEE) training/education. But still almost Entry Level.
    In order to better gauge the employment market I would suggest a job site like indeed dot com.
  5. Aug 8, 2017 #4
    <<Emphasis added>>
    With the highlighted experience, you should also consider applying to a wafer fab company (don't know where you plan to relocate to).
  6. Aug 8, 2017 #5
    Thanks for the through answer. The visa barrier is somehow surmountable, yet some of the countries in Europe require a work permit of 2 years even for internship positions. I am thinking of a position in EU/US primarily, but this might change.

    1. I do not have any experience with them so getting experience through a certified course will be the best option. My master's did not require use of such tools.
    2. What is a 3A algorithm?
    3. The applicant is expected to be experienced in at least one of 3D modelling/CAD software such as Solidworks as far as I understand. I think here my skills in Layout Editor and cleanroom might come into play.
    4. I do not have a material science background, so I think these are not that suitable.
    5. I took some courses on solid state physics, yet have limited experience with COMSOL.
    6. This more seems like the approach of an industrial engineer, but as you pointed out it is not R&D.
  7. Aug 8, 2017 #6
    Thanks for the advice, so you think the site indeed.com are more geared towards less-experienced recent graduates? Do you have any other job-portal recommendations?
  8. Aug 8, 2017 #7
    monster dot com & careerbuilder dot com are still active I think

    It seems like all of the others that you may find just steal their ads from other career sites.
    But not all jobs are posted, sometimes you have to investigate individual company sites and sometimes simply ask and sell your qualifications.
  9. Aug 8, 2017 #8


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    Pretty much. In a lot of countries, applying for visa for overseas staff mean lot's of extra paper work. They wouldn't bother when they can grab something good enough locally, especially how admin and HR tend to be short staffed these days.

    Auto exposure, auto focus, and auto white balance. The software processing parts of digital cameras,
  10. Aug 8, 2017 #9
    Hi, I'm not sure which countries are an option for you, but I know Germany is always looking for skilled students, have a look at the "jobsearch area" from the below company, of course it is in German, so you will have to get your google translate fired up, and there is the visa issue, but worth a shot. Good Luck

    (It's an old posting, but something like Job 2561 should be right up your alley :))
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