Cool Careers in Science


Andrew Morkes

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Table of Contents

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Chapter 1: 3 -D Printing and Careers . . . 11 Chapter 2: Terms of the Trade . . . . . 33 Chapter 3: Preparing for the Field and Making a Living . . . . . . 43 Chapter 4: K ey Skills and Methods of Exploration . . . . . . . 61

Chapter 5: T he Future of 3-D Printing

and Careers . . . . . . . 83 Photo Credits . . . . . . . . . . . .92 Further Reading & Internet Resources . . 93 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94 Educational Video Links . . . . . . . 96 Author Biography . . . . . . . . . . 96



Careers in Science Offer Good Pay, the Opportunity to Help People, and Other Rewards

Where would we be without science? Well, we’d be without computers, smartphones, robots, and other cutting-edge technologies. Crimes would take longer to solve without modern forensic analysis techniques. We’d be stuck relying on environmentally unfriendly fossil fuels instead of using renewable energy. And life would be less fun, because we wouldn’t have drones, awe-inspiring and physics-defying roller coasters, or the computer and video games that we play for hours. Jobmarkets are sometimes strong and sometimes weak, but a career in science (which, for the purposes of this series, includes the related fields of technology and engineering) is almost a sure path to a comfortable life. The following paragraphs provide more information on why a career in science is a great choice. Good pay. People in science careers earn some of the highest salaries in the work world. The median annual salary for those in engineering careers in the United States is $80,170, according to the US Department of Labor (DOL). This is much higher than the median earnings ($38,640) for all careers. Additionally, those in life and physical science occupations earn an average of $66,070, and information technology professionals earn an average of $86,320. Science professionals who become managers or who launch their own businesses can earn anywhere from $150,000 to $300,000 or more.


Strong employment prospects. There are shortages of science workers throughout the world. In fact, engineering workers are the thirdmost in-demand occupational field in the world. Technicians rank fourth, and computer and information technology professionals rank sixth. There’s a shortage of software engineers in more than twenty countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the United Kingdom, according to the recruitment firm Michael Page. Other science careers where there is a shortage of workers include electronics engineers (nineteen countries), electrical engineers (sixteen countries), data analysts (eleven countries), and hardware engineers (six countries). The DOL predicts that employment of computer and information technology professionals in the United States will grow by 12 percent during the next decade, which is much faster than the average for all careers. Career opportunities for those in life and physical, and social science occupations will grow by 7 percent (faster than the average). The outlook is also good for engineering professionals. Employment is expected to grow by 4 percent during the next decade. The strongest opportunities will be found in the rebuilding of infrastructure, oil and gas extraction, renewable energy, and robotics. The DOL predicts that by 2028 there will be nearly 757,000 new jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Rewarding work environment and many career options. A career in science is fulfilling, because you get to use both your creative and practical sides to develop new technologies (or improve existing ones), solve problems, and make the world a better place. In the instance of 3-D printing, you get the chance to develop technology that will change the way products are manufactured in countless industries. There’s a common misconception that science workers

8 Cool Careers in Science: 3-d printing specialists

spend most of their time in dreary, windowless laboratories or research facilities. While they do spend lots of time in those places (that really aren’t dreary), they also spend time in the field, testing, troubleshooting, and trying out their inventions or discoveries. Some science professionals launch their own businesses, which can be both fun and very rewarding. Job opportunities are available throughout the United States and the world. Science professionals play such an important role in our modern world that there are job openings almost anywhere, although many positions are found in big cities. Is a Career in Science Right for Me? Test your interest. How many of these statements do you agree with?

___ My favorite class in school is science. ___ I also enjoy computer science classes. ___ I like to learn about scientific breakthroughs. ___ I like to design and build things. ___ I like to solve puzzles.

___ I enjoy doing science experiments. ___ I am curious about how things work. ___ I am creative and have a good imagination. ___ I like to build electronics and other things that require electricity. ___ I like to take things apart and see how they work. ___ I am good at math and physics. If many of the statements above describe you, then you should consider a career in the sciences. But you don’t need to select a career right now. Check out this book on a career as a 3-D printing specialist, and other books in the series, to learn more about occupational paths in the sciences and related fields. Good luck with your career exploration!



Words To Understand alloy: a metal that is created by combining two or more metallic elements, with a goal of making the new product stronger or better able to resist corrosion; steel (iron and carbon) is an example of an alloy artificial intelligence: the simulation of human intelligence by machinery and computer systems autonomous: not controlled by others or by outside forces; independent and self-directed blockchain technology: a database that maintains a continuously growing list of records that cannot be altered without the approval of all parties who use the database entrepreneurs: those who design, start, and run a business fossil fuels: nonrenewable energy sources such as crude oil, natural gas, and coal that were formed millions of years ago by natural processes in the earth


Chapter 1

3-D Printing and Careers What is 3-D Printing?

Perhaps you’re already a 3-D expert—printing dinosaurs, acoustic guitars, smartphone cases, or a medical model for your science class. But 3-D printing has become popular and affordable for hobbyists only in recent years, so there are many people who have yet to try this fun and groundbreaking technology. What is 3-D printing, and how does it differ from traditional manufacturing? First, it’s important to know that 3-D printing is a type of additive manufacturing, although some people use the terms interchangeably. Three-dimensional (3-D) printing is a manufacturing process that involves adding layers and layers of building material (e.g., rubber, plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, concrete, thermoplastic composites infused with carbon fibers and nanotubes, and even biomaterials) in precise geometric shapes until the 3-D object is complete. In 3-D printing, a digital file is created by developing a mathematical representation of the 3-D surface of an object via computer aided design software. A designer or hobbyist may also create a completely new product. The file is then printed using a 3-D printer. This printer is similar to a desktop printer, but instead of printing a piece of paper with text and images on it, it prints a 3-D object.

Introduction: 3-D Printing and Careers


In this example of traditional manufacturing, a worker operates a bandsaw to cut metal pipe.

While 3-D printing is additive , most traditional manufacturing processes (such as casting and molding, machining, joining, and shearing and forming) remove material from an object to form a final shape.

Top Uses for 3-D–Printed Objects End-use parts: 28.4 percent Functional parts: 27.9 percent Cosmetic models: 10.7 percent Education/research: 9.9 percent Polymer patterns and molds: 7.7 percent

Source: Wohlers Associates

Jigs/fixtures: 6.1 percent Metal tooling: 4.7 percent Other: 4.4 percent

Additive manufacturing, including 3-D printing, offers the following advantages over traditional manufacturing methods:


Cool Careers in Science: 3-d printing specialists

• Easier-to-make prototypes: A prototype is an early, working example of a proposed product that is used to test a process or design. In 3-D manufacturing, it is much easier and faster to create prototypes than it is in traditional manufacturing, where considerable time, material, and labor are needed to retool a production line. • Personalization/customization: Products can be designed more easily to match customer preferences regarding size, shape, color, form, or even the entire design. • Production flexibility: Companies can improve products on an ongoing basis based on customer preferences. • Improved time to market: Many 3-D–printed products can be manufactured in less than a day, while traditional manufacturing processes typically take longer. • Manufacturing flexibility: Most large-scale traditional manufacturing occurs in factories, but 3-D products can be made in people’s homes, business offices, laboratories, and even in the field. For example, oil and gas companies are using 3-D printing technology to manufacture replacement parts in remote locations. • Sustainability: Since 3-D printing can be done almost anywhere, there is less need for costly cross-country and international shipping and massive warehouses, which reduces pollution and the burning of fossil fuels . Additionally, most 3-D printing processes create far less material waste than traditional manufacturing processes. • The ability to combine processes to save time and money: In 3-D printing, products with multiple components can be manufactured as one piece in a single production run, unlike in traditional manufacturing. • The democratization of manufacturing: Additive manufacturing allows inventors and entrepreneurs to develop and market products that directly compete with those of traditional manufacturers.

CHAPTER 1: 3-d printing and careers


Did You Know? The US Department of Energy predicts that the use of 3-D manufac turing techniques have the potential to reduce waste and the cost of materials by 90 percent.

There are some drawbacks to 3-D printing when you compare it to traditional manufacturing. They include the following: • Slower process: The 3-D printing process is generally much slower than traditional manufacturing if one is mass-producing products. • Challenges with some metal alloys: 3-D metal printing is becoming very popular, but some metal alloys that are used in traditional manufacturing cannot be used with great quantity or consistency due to their high melting points. • Large-scale production challenges: It is much harder to make large-scale parts and products using 3-D printing methods than it is in traditional manufacturing because of the small size of most 3-D printers. Even industrial-sized 3-D printers still are not as effective as traditional manufacturing processes are in making large products. • Cost: For mass-produced products, it is still more costly to use 3-D printing than it is to use traditional manufacturing techniques. • Appearance: 3-D–printed objects generally do not look as attractive as objects created via traditional manufacturing due to the layer lines that appear on finished products. That does not matter for certain objects that are used for parts or components of machinery, but it makes a difference for decorative items. There are ways to finish 3-D–printed parts to make these layers invisible, but that takes extra time, labor, and money.


Cool Careers in Science: 3-d printing specialists i i : -D PRINTING SPECIALISTS

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