Biometrics Engineer Overview
Biometric technologies include complex equipment designed to analyze personal identification markers unique to each individual, such as fingerprints, ear lobes, vein patterns, voices, and iris shapes. Biometric systems are mainly used for security and identification purposes, but scientists in other fields are also starting to utilize biometric technologies. Biometrics engineers are usually software developers who create and maintain various biometric systems.
Software developers, including biometrics engineers, usually work full-time, although overtime is common. Though some software developers may telecommute, others, such as those who work for government agencies, must go to an office setting. The field requires engineers to work in collaboration, so good communication skills are important.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Computer science or a related field|
|Certification||Computer language certification recommended|
|Key Skills||Able to predict user needs, be comfortable dealing with customers; problem-solving skills, an eye for detail, expertise in computer languages and operating systems, and an extensive understanding of biometric systems, such as image scanners and databases|
|Additional Requirements||Capable of working extended hours and comfortable sitting for long periods|
|Salary (2015)||$108,760 yearly (mean for all systems software developers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Let's explore how to become a biometrics engineer.
Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Biometric engineers, like other software engineers, must acquire a broad-based knowledge of computer sciences. Thus, individuals might pursue a bachelor's degree in computer programming, computer information systems, or software engineering. Degree programs in software engineering often include classes such as software design, programming languages, configuration management, quality assurance, computer algorithms, data structures, and user interfaces. Computer science students also have to take multiple classes of advanced mathematics, including calculus and statistics.
Software developers who want to become biometrics engineers might benefit from additional training specifically in biometrics. Undergraduate courses related to biometrics might cover biometric systems, biometric patterns, computer security architecture, and authentication verification procedures.
Aspiring biometrics engineers also might benefit from an internship in software development. For training specific to the specialty, students could pursue internship programs at biometric research facilities or security design firms.
Individuals knowledgeable in computer languages can become certified in those languages if they pass the necessary exams. There are dozens of computer languages, but some of the most common include Java and C++. Some employers require these workers be certified to qualify for employment.
Consider Graduate Studies
Some employers of biometrics engineers prefer those who hold an advanced degree. Graduate degree programs specifically in biometrics are rare, although there are graduate degree programs in other computer science and technology fields. Alternatively, an aspiring biometrics engineer could pursue a graduate certificate in biometrics, which can often be earned in as little as one year. Courses in these certificate programs might include pattern recognition, data mining, computer graphics, image processing, and artificial intelligence.
Biometrics professionals often work in the IT security industry and are employed by businesses and other organizations to design and implement data defense methods. Other professionals using this technology include forestry scientists, forensics specialists, health care monitoring personnel, and security technology firms.
Since technology changes so frequently, professionals in this field must keep abreast of industry changes and trends. This might include changes to computer languages. Biometrics engineers can do this by attending continuing education courses, training exercises, or technology seminars.
In summary, a biometrics engineer typically needs a bachelor's degree in software engineering or a related field. Certification in various programming languages and advanced education, such as a graduate certificate program in biometrics, could lead to better job opportunities.