|MadSci Network: Engineering|
Hi Rajeev, That's a good question. Professional titles are not always strictly defined and in many cases don't accurately describe what a person really does. I can give you my interpretation of what an instrumentation engineer does, but I'm sure the meaning will vary depending on who you talk to and where they work. Instrumentation often refers to electronic devices designed to measure some real world phenomena or variable. For example, multimeters can measure voltage, current, and resistance. Oscilloscopes measure voltage as a function of time. Spectrum analyzers measure voltage or power as a function of frequency. These are examples of general purpose instruments. There are also special purpose instruments designed for a particular use. Weather stations usually contain specialized instruments for measuring temperature, wind velocity, and barometric pressure. Scientific research laboratories are full of specialized instruments. The primary experiment itself might be a specialized instrument. The Hubble space telescope is an example. Any kind of manufacturing plant will also contain lots of instrumentation for measuring variables all over the plant. In any case, an instrumentation engineer is probably someone who designs, builds, and tests electronic instruments. These engineers work in a variety of fields, anywhere some kind of measurement is needed. If you can find someone in that field and spend some time with them, you will get a good idea of what they do. Maybe you can take a tour of their workplace. I hope that helps.
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