Birck Nanotechnology Center

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Careers in Nanotechnology

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What's the future nanotechnology employment outlook?

Nanotechnology is part of today's electronics, automobile catalytic converters, infection-fighting bandages, and leading-edge sports gear. It will be part of tomorrow's biomedical devices, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, healthcare, and many, many other technologies. The broad sweep of nanotechnology means a wide variety of new and interesting jobs for decades to come.

Many of the exciting jobs in nanotechnology will be for engineers. Engineers work with people from throughout society to discover the need for a new technology. Think of this as a dream about what could be. Working in a team, engineers pool their knowledge of what is possible from as many subjects as needed to encompass the dream. Then using their skill and artistry, engineers design a new technology solution to the need.

The iPod/iTunes Store combination is a widely-acknowledged example of elegant engineering design. The iPod depends on electronic and mechanical nanotechnology in the form of flash memory chips or the miniature disk drives used to store the music and videos. The iTunes Store makes it easy to find music and videos by combining computing with an understanding of human factors to helpfully organize the huge array of content in the store.

Who will be the engineers of tomorrow? Engineers will be people who can communicate well. Engineers must be able to understand their customers from around the globe, and will work in teams that will often be global. Because society's needs include everything ever needed, engineers choose from many areas of study in college, such as aeronautics, agriculture, biology, chemistry, computing, electronics, ergonomics, materials, mechanics, and more.

Students in middle schools, junior-high schools, and high schools can prepare for nanotech jobs by planning to go to college. Their school's classes in the sciences, communications, math, and languages, and participation in team projects or activities are good preparation.

- George B. Adams III, Deputy Director, The Network for Computational Nanotechnology

Visit the Nanotechnology Student Advisory Committee homepage for other opportunities

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