Human Factors Engineers & Ergonomists
Also called: Ergonomist, Human Factors Engineer, Senior Research Associate, User Experience Team Lead
Produced by CareerOneStop
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While originally focused on streamlining manufacturing processes, the field of industrial engineering now improves processes and systems in virtually all industries, to make them more efficient, yielding less waste, and costing less. To maximize efficiency, industrial engineers balance many factors such as the number and type of workers involved in a process, available equipment, safety, environmental impact, and cost. They might design faster production methods… choose new materials to make longer-lasting products… or devise ways to move customers through a line faster at an amusement park. Some engineers focus entirely on automated manufacturing and work with robots and computer networks. Industrial engineers often rely on teams to identify problems and solutions in their work. They generally work in offices… or travel to the settings they are analyzing to identify improvements. For example, they may watch workers assemble parts in a factory, then return to an office to analyze the data they have collected. Most industrial engineers work full time, but hours may vary depending on the needs of specific projects. Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, in industrial engineering or a related engineering field. Employers value practical experience in the field, which many programs offer as part of a degree program.
What they do:Design objects, facilities, and environments to optimize human well-being and overall system performance, applying theory, principles, and data regarding the relationship between humans and respective technology. Investigate and analyze characteristics of human behavior and performance as it relates to the use of technology.
On the job, you would:
- Design or evaluate human work systems, using human factors engineering and ergonomic principles to optimize usability, cost, quality, safety, or performance.
- Collect data through direct observation of work activities or witnessing the conduct of tests.
- Conduct interviews or surveys of users or customers to collect information on topics such as requirements, needs, fatigue, ergonomics, or interfaces.
Math and Science
- arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Engineering and Technology
- product and service development
Education and Training
- teaching and course design
- thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
- thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
- measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
- read and understand what is written
- communicate by writing
Ideas and Logic
- make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
- use rules to solve problems
- choose the right type of math to solve a problem
- add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Analytical Thinking
- Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
Graphics or photo imaging software
Web platform development software