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Jobs in the Medtech sector

Careers in the Medical Devices and Diagnostics Sector
Ireland has a great track record at producing highly educated graduates across all levels. Candidates should have a positive attitude and be adaptable. It is very important that people are open-minded and that they look very broadly at opportunities across the industry. Depending on the type of company, whether it’s a device, diagnostic or a service company different skills needs and career options are available;

Medical Devices; There is considerable diversity among medical devices production processes. While production of some medical devices products is heavily automated, many devices are assembled, tested and packaged manually. This diversity means that there are considerable variations in the mix of skills required between different medical devices production operations. Key roles include Manual Assembly Operatives, Machine Operators, Technicians, Quality Control, Quality Assurance Staff, Operations Managers and Operations Supervisors.

Key specific engineering disciplines that are predominant in the sector include;
  • Biomedical
  • Production
  • Industrial
  • Manufacturing
  • Validation
  • Automation
  • Process Design
  • Product Design
  • Polymer
  • Research & Development
  • Quality Engineers
  • Software Engineers
  • Computer Scientists

Qualifications of Engineers are generally between primary degree and PhD level. Operators depending on the particular can be from level 5-7 on the NQF.

Diagnostics; Where devices include significant biologically active components, companies employ scientists, science technicians and processing operatives with skills similar to those of the small molecule pharmaceutical or bio-pharmaceutical industries. They undertake roles parallel to those of engineers, technicians and machine operators in manufacturing biomechanical and bioelectronic devices. Qualifications of scientists are generally between primary degree and PhD level. With the increased use of biologically active substances in the medical device sector’s products, professionals with skills in both small molecule substances and the large molecule, and even cellular, products of biotechnology are required. This trend is making skills in biological sciences, chemistry and pharmacology increasingly important to innovation in medical devices, alongside the clinical and engineering skills that have traditionally dominated innovation.

Other Key Professions; Given it’s a highly regulated industry, other roles that’s are prominent in the industry and provide good careers prospects include;
  • Regulatory Affairs Professionals track compliance of operations with regulatory requirements, advise other staff on regulatory matters, report on compliance and manage relationships with regulatory authorities.
  • Medical Marketing & International Sales Professionals; Marketers research and communicate the value of a product or service to customers. Sales professionals sell the product or service in return for money or compensation. Many Sales professionals in the sector travel internationally as part of their role.
  • Healthcare economists have a leading role in establishing the benefits of a device quantitatively, and communicating these benefits to healthcare providers, health insurers and other reimbursement organisations.
  • HR, Finance, Purchasing and international languages and are also offer good career prospects in the sector

Future Careers in the Medical Devices and Diagnostics Industry
Medical technologies are becoming increasingly more complex; given this many companies are now engaged in Research and Development (R&D). Irish Medtech Association estimates that over 80% of companies are “innovative active”. Traditionally separate sectors such as medical devices, biotechnology, diagnostics, ICT, software and the pharmaceutical industry are recognising the opportunity to combine traditionally different scientific disciplines to form new more innovative “Combination Technologies”. Advances have resulted in new services, therapies or products such as;
  • Drug- Device Combination Products; examples include; drug-eluting stent, which is designed to slowly release a drug to significantly reduce the rate of re-blockage of metal stents inserted into the coronary blood vessels of the heart to maintain blood flow.
  • ICT-Device Combination Products, examples include; imaging devices that utilize Computer Aided Detection software to assist radiologists in the detection of cancers or remote diabetics monitoring kits, which enable patients to be monitored by their clinician at home, avoiding any unnecessary checkups at hospitals and surgeries.
  • Personalised Medicine will require sophisticated diagnostics that will help clinicians select therapies that are particularly suited to a patient. Examples include testing a patients DNA for the presence of particular disease such as cancer, using sophisticated imagining and informatics , clinicians be able to determine which therapies patients are likely to respond better to.

While existing careers identified above will continue to be required, expertise not traditionally associated with the sector will be needed in the fields of regenerative medicine, nanotechnology, software, computer engineering, sophisticated diagnostics, imaging, mathematics, statistics, advanced clinical trails management, pharmaceuticals , pharmacology, bioprocessing, biotechnologies, informatics and statistics.


Key Websites Include
www.irishmedtechskillnet.ie Irish Medtech Association Skillnet Programmes
www.irishmedtechspringboard.ie Irish Medtech Association Springboard Programmes
www.smartfutures.ie Irish Medtech Association has worked with Smart Futures to develop a campaign to promote med tech careers.
www.qualifax.ie Information about programmes and courses at third level
www.careersportal.ie Information on Careers in Medical Technologies
www.engineersireland.com Information about careers in the Biomedical Engineering

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