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Industry News

Career Corner

Impact of Technology Trends on the Microwave Engineer Job Market

March 24, 2008
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Globalization and the emergence of commercial applications relying on electromagnetic science and technologies are increasing the demand for related microwave engineering skills. The mention of “Silicon Valley becoming a wireless industry hot spot” among the “top 10 wireless trends for 2008” published on supports this statement. More supporting evidence can be concluded from the growing number of standards and associations (e.g. CTIA, WiFi, Wimax, Bluetooth, etc.), each developing its regulatory base, technology and test disciplines.

Today’s RF engineers can choose between exciting career paths in any of the “traditional” and “new” industries. Among the examples are the automotive industry, which long ago shifted gears into the electromagnetic age, wireless communications introducing new applications and standards, and RF tagging technologies revolutionizing storage and trade of goods. These are only a few examples. The typical antenna engineer before the mid-1990s would most likely develop a long and stable career with one of the defense/aerospace contractors, government agencies or somewhere along that food chain. Commercialization of wireless technologies across global markets and availability of inexpensive test and measurement setups and CAD tools open up endless opportunities. Even low-budgeted startups can offer technically challenging positions. Today’s antenna/microwave graduates can choose between industries and disciplines that are substantially different in the technology challenges, work environment and business culture.

RF engineers have always been considered a somewhat unique group among electrical engineers. Experience-based intuition and creativity are essential tools for the RF engineer to derive quality solutions. The term “Black Magic” frequently used in this context really conveys this idea. A successful career move will have the engineer placed in a position where he or she is most creative and passionate about the job. With the diversified demand for RF engineers, a perfect match is not too much to ask for.

Career Planning thus gains new meaning. Considering technological horizons, work environment and future opportunities for personal growth in different markets yield career decisions better tailored to one’s personality and expectations. Information supporting career decisions and recruiting efforts will become even more profession and technology specific and is therefore of growing relevance to the agenda of RF and microwave engineering media. Microwave Journal and have recognized the depth of the emerging need for industry-specific career resources, and are proud to be pioneers leading the industry media with a vision to raise awareness and discussions addressing the unique interests of RF engineers.

Isaac Mendelson

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