Engineering Assistant III/Sr. Engineering Assistant I : Engineering Technician 43 views

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Job Summary

The Ocean Bottom Seismometer Instrument Center (OBSIC) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) seeks to hire an Engineering Technician experienced in electronics engineering to join its operations team. This is a regular, full-time position and is eligible for benefits.

OBSIC is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation to support academic research seismology in the oceans. OBSIC provides Ocean Bottom Seismographs (OBS), and the technical expertise to operate them at sea, to the academic research community ( OBS instrumentation records earthquake-induced and artificially-generated ground-motion and pressure signals while deployed on the seafloor for durations of up to a year or more. OBSIC supports seafloor seismic experiments all over the world.

With minimal supervision, the successful candidate will apply electronic/electrical aptitude and acquired knowledge of established procedures to the maintenance, repair, and operation of a fleet of more than 100 OBS of varying complexity and capability. This will require a strong aptitude for electronics and the ability to implement and improve on established procedures. The successful candidate will go to sea as part of a team to deploy and recover OBS. While the primary skills requirement is electronics, the successful candidate will be expected to fully participate in all aspects of OBS support and operations.

The internal working title for this position could be either Engineering Assistant III or Senior Engineering Assistant I. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate’s level of education & experience.

Essential Functions

This position requires the individual to possess a strong electrical background, a meticulous attention to detail, good interpersonal skills, and be self-motivated.The candidate must be able to:

  • Assume responsibility for the maintenance of OBS and related support equipment in the OBSIC lab.
  • Read electrical/electronic schematics and be comfortable with schematic capture software.
  • Implement written procedures to maintain, test, and repair electronic/electrical systems and equipment associated with the operation of the OBS fleet. Examples include digital and analog circuits, battery components, power supplies, controllers, underwater cables, recovery-aids, serial data systems and computer networks.
  • Assist in mobilizing/demobilizing sea-going seismic experiments.
  • Participate in sea-going experiments, at a level of up to about 4 months per year
  • While at sea, provide support for all aspects of OBSIC operations, including the deployment and recovery of OBS, acoustic navigation of deployed OBS, instrument programming and debriefing, instrument and network debugging, and record keeping. In port, assist in loading and unloading OBS and related support equipment.
  • Document instrumentation testing, preparation and debug procedures.
  • Develop the sea-going experience, maturity, technical and inter-personal skills required to serve as an Expedition Leader for OBSIC-supported experiments.


  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Engineering Assistant III:

With little supervision, applies a broad knowledge of established procedures to the assembly, testing, or calibration of equipment developed and used in support of engineering projects related to oceanographic instrumentation.

Senior Engineering Assistant I:

With minimum supervision, applies experience and comprehensive understanding of related procedures and equipment to complex assignments in support of oceanographic engineering projects or facilities.

Education & Experience

Engineering Assistant III:

High School diploma or equivalent plus six years’ mechanical or electronics experience, or Technical School training plus four years’ practical experience, or two to three years’ progress toward an engineering or related degree.

Senior Engineering Assistant I:

Considerable experience in specialized field; consistently exceptional performance and a demonstrated record of reliable and timely task completion; invaluable longterm experience at the Institution coupled with technical support of the highest quality as a critical team member.

  • Degree (AS/BS) in engineering or in another appropriate discipline with substantial work experience, or, in the absence of a degree, evidence of strong electronics technician skills gained through broad experience.
  • Strong aptitude for evaluating and repairing analog and digital electrical and electronic components and systems. Must be capable of analyzing equipment problems using drawings/documentation and schematics in conjunction with test equipment and procedures.
  • Skill in the use and evaluation of electrical and electronic test equipment.
  • Basic proficiency in the use of common mechanical tools.
  • Strong aptitude in completing detailed maintenance documentation and reporting.
  • Must have a good command of spoken and written English. Must be able to maintain accurate lab. and field records and write field reports. Must have good communication skills.
  • Proficiency with the Windows operating system and Office applications.
  • Experience with mechanical, electromechanical and battery systems.
  • Experience constructing complex wiring harnesses, surface mount and through-hole PCB assembly and rework, electronic and/or mechanical CAD software is a plus.
  • Knowledge of seismographic and pressure sensors is a plus.

Special Requirements

  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • Overseas travel is required. Must have a valid passport or be eligible for a passport.
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a TWIC card.

Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty

This position requires about 2-4 months at sea annually; typical cruise durations are about 30 days or less.  Must be capable of functioning while at sea, and working with heavy equipment on the deck of a ship under adverse sea-states. At sea, must have the ability to work constructively and communicate clearly with the science team and marine crew. May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on a watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.

WHOI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer/Disabled/Veterans/M/F. We encourage Veterans and those with Disabilities to apply. Applications are reviewed confidentially. Applicants that require accommodation in the job application process are encouraged to contact us at (508) 289-2253 or email for assistance.

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Company Information
  • Active Jobs 33 Jobs
  • Company Address 86 Water St, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
  • City Woods Hole
  • Location Massachusetts
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