What is a Molecular Engineer?
Molecular engineering entails the creation of molecules and the development of new products from them. Often these molecules do not exist naturally and may not be stable enough to employ beyond a narrow of parameter of uses. It is quite difficult to create these particles, as it requires the manual use of sensitive equipment such as a scanning tunneling microscope. The technology has the capacity to take entire libraries of books and condense their contents into a digital storage device the size of a single cube of sugar.
This is an interesting field of engineering, with limitless potential. If you want to learn more about working towards a career in this area, search for schools in your area by using our list below. The work of molecular engineers is present in every industry, including robotics, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, materials, fashion and entertainment. In addition, the agricultural industry and medical devices field is expected to be transformed by innovations in molecular engineering, thereby forging new markets and employment opportunities for trained professionals.
The field is particularly important for scientific materials research and pharmaceuticals, as it is employed as a sophisticated form of chemical engineering. A potential application of molecular engineering would include a minute device that navigates seamlessly through a human body eradicating cancerous cells thereby precluding them from spreading.
Duties of professional in the field may well include using statistics and computer models to predict molecular manipulation outcomes; employ business acumen in marketing applications; demonstrate leadership capabilities in managing a team of engineers and researchers; as well as manage the entire life cycle of product development.
What are the Academic Requirements for Molecular Engineers?
A Bachelor’s Degree is mandated by companies seeking to offer jobs to aspiring candidates in the field. Colleges and universities throughout the United States offer programs in bimolecular engineering and the related chemical engineering. Candidates are encouraged to expose themselves to broad subjects in math and science, including but not limited to mechanics, thermodynamics and chemistry.
Job applicants with more advanced credentials such as a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. have a greater potential to assume senior management positions with a company as well as teach university students. At this level, students complete coursework in advanced bioenergy, fuel cells and polymers. Those candidates more interested in the commercial side of the industry should refine their business acumen, particularly their negotiating skills, leadership qualities and written and oral communication capacities, as they will be responsible for managing teams, making presentations and acquiring assets.
Salary, Career Outlook, and Networking for Engineers
The Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution is one of many associations dedicated to the advancement of professionals and the field as a whole. Related organizations like the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and the Technology Student Association (TSA) endeavor to accomplish these same goals by organizing meetings throughout the globe that expand the discourse on technological innovations and best practices in the industry. They feature vast digital libraries of industry and academic publications and related resources. Mentoring and networking outlets exist as well that bolster a members or aspiring professional’s ability to grow within the field of molecular engineering.
Practitioners should also consult social media outlets and an array of associations in the field founded by universities throughout the country. University-based alumni associations and career placement centers possess further resources and outlets for students to learn of what companies seek as well as on-campus recruiting initiatives. Companies such as Google, Boeing, Genentech, and Bayer Pharmaceuticals have employed these avenues to recruit new talent to their efforts.
Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), molecular and chemical engineers expect a job growth rates of 6 percent to the year 2020. Illinois, California, New York, and Texas offer the most opportunities for candidates. Data provided by O*Net indicates that engineers in this field earn a yearly salary of $92,680.
A Real Example of Molecular Engineering in Action
As it is an emerging field with seemingly unlimited potential, the field of molecular engineering has stirred some controversy regarding its implications ethically, environmentally and socially.
At the same time, the science promises to exert its influence in all spheres of human life around the world. In the medical devices industry, a recent case study of Ortho Molecular illuminated the powerful potential of this form of engineering. The firm employs a ProScan metal detection system, rooted in molecular engineering, which was developed by Advanced Detection Systems (ADS).
This ensures the quality of all of the products in its manufacturing system. The device memorizes the product sensory impulse, and then recalls it as it travels through the scanner, thereby ensuring the finished product meets all Food and Drug Administration health and safety codes.
The ProScan application evaluates the entire device to identify the presence of any metal. If it is detected, a signal occurs compelling a check of the entire batch of deliverables. The system enables quality control staff to quickly identify integrity breaches and remedy them seamlessly. Molecular engineering was critical in developing this acute detection system application. Ortho Molecular purchased several of the ADS systems for its medical device product manufacturing processes because of its sensitivity and efficiency.