A laser engineer is a scientist or engineer who has extensive training in designing, building, operating, and maintaining high-energy manufacturing or research laser equipment. The qualifications for this position will likely depend upon the particular area in which the engineer works. Those in a research and development position will likely be designing new laser technology, improving existing technology, and developing new products. Those in manufacturing will be more hands-on, building products and parts and designing processes that utilize solid state laser technology.
Educational requirements will vary among employers, but most laser engineers have a bachelor's degree in some type of science related field, like physics, engineering, laser technology or optics. Some laser engineers have a master's degree or even a PhD depending on the position. Most laser engineers have experience in the field of laser product development, laser applied research, or modeling solid state lasers in an industrial or manufacturing context.
Solving problems in the use of laser equipment is one of the basic responsibilities for a laser engineer. Diagnosing technical problems and using test equipment to fix lasers is part of this job. A laser engineer working in a manufacturing context will likely have good interpersonal skills because he communicates frequently with operators and vendors. A laser engineer working in a research context is more likely to focus on the conceptual and creative aspect of laser technology, so collaborative skills and teamwork are more important.
One of the primary job duties of a laser engineer is working with specialized computers to program basic functions for laser equipment, enter data, and create software to work with the laser equipment. Along with the standard business programs, a laser engineer needs a working knowledge of Autocad®, materials resource planning, product data management, and other engineering related software. Laser engineers working in the manufacturing area create or review technical drawings and coordinate with manufacturing personnel to determine the actual steps and type of lasers necessary in various manufacturing processes. A research laser engineer also needs to create and review detailed technical drawings to be used in the design and creation of laser technology and equipment.