2 answers

What does being a Biomedical Engineer consist of?

Asked Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I'm a freshman in high school and I love math, science, and anything STEM related. I'm not sure exactly what I want to do yet but multiple types of engineering keep popping up. I want to find out what Biomedical Engineers and any other engineering careers consist of when it comes to actually working. Are there any ways to be able to tell if a career in engineering is a good career for me? #engineering #biomedical-engineering #biomedical #petroleum

2 answers

Shannon’s Answer

Updated Tallahassee, Florida

since you're a freshman you have plenty of decide which field of engineering to go into. Throughout highschool think about which science field interests you most i.e. biology/chemistry/physics/electricity/etc. If you're passionate about STEM and willing to work hard for it then engineering will be a good career for you.

As for biomedical engineers, depending on what specific job function it will vary but it is a lot of analysis using math, science, computer programming and potentially reading scientific journal articles to gain further understanding. If math and computer science do not interest you then Biomedical scientist might be more suitable since you don't need as much math but you do need more bio and chemistry. More specifically, for the hypothetical case of a biomedical engineer working on cardiac devices:

You get some data in a spreadsheet that tells you that your clients heart rate monitor is behaving strangely

you may work with MATLAB (or other computer programming) to analyze if it really Is having a problem or if it's a false positive. If it is a false positive you look at all the data sets to determine the root cause of the issue and implement a fix.

You go onto Wikipedia or pubmed.org to research more about the specific issue you face. You do statistical analysis on the dataset to see if the problem can be explained away using probability theory/statistics. Sometime in the future you and your team fix the problem, maybe it's a revised algorithm that more correctly classifies arrhythmias based on the patient's heartbeat patterns, and you work a new project/keep improving efficiency and efficacy of your current project. Like any other profession there are ups and downs, and the day to day will vary substantially based on your field an job position and company but biomedical engineering is a rapidly growing field and has a strong positive impact on society so it's a good field to get into if you're interested.

There are plenty of resources online as well if you research on google/wikipedia. Meet with your school's guidance counselor for specialized help.

Thank you for your help

Mark’s Answer

Updated Austin, Texas

An engineer is a person with great curiosity and a desire to solve technical challenges. A person who is amazed by the world around him or her and wants to know how things work. Your STEM courses will offer a great background to seeing what interests you. Let your curiosity drive you.

An engineering degree is more of a toolbox of skills that can lead you in many directions. Science, math, biology, and other classes give you new ways to view the world and understand how things work. A biomedical engineer focuses on devices or systems that help the medical field. One may work in industry and design medical devices, such as pace makers or monitoring devices, or work in a hospital keeping all the equipment working properly. A person with a mechanical engineering or electrical engineering degree may also work on biomedical devices.

I design medical devices for arthroscopic surgery. It takes a design team a year or more to create a new medical device. It requires as much project management skill as technical skill to create new products. (Think working well leading group projects.) A project starts with a basic need, to which numerous concepts are prototyped and refined, often with input from doctors and nurses. Once a final concept is chosen you are only about a third of the way into a project. You must work with process engineers to scale up to making thousands or millions of the device. You also test to verify the device will be safe and always do what it is intended without failing. A doctor is responsible for a single patient. You will be responsible for the thousands or millions of people that will benefit from your device. It is very rewarding work.

Check through your school's STEM program or local chapter of engineering societies such as IEEE, ASME, the Biomedical Engineering Society for a chance to meet engineers or shadow an engineer for a day. There may be programs in your area.

Best of luck in your studies. Always feed your curiosity.