Electronics Technician

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Are you interested in contributing to advancing our understanding on Earthquakes in the world’s oceans and putting your hands-on state-of-the-art seismograph equipment? Combine the challenges of technical problem solving in electrical components within various seismogram with the excitement of sailing on research vessels and join us!

The Ocean Bottom Seismometer Instrument Center (OBSIC: : https://obsic.whoi.edu) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) seeks to hire entry-level electronics technicians. We provide Ocean Bottom Seismographs (OBS) and the technical expertise to operate seafloor seismic experiments all over the world for 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. We would like you to join our science-operations effort in the lab here at WHOI and at sea to complement the current team of engineers and technicians.


Candidates will be considered for Engineering Assistant I-II level, which is a part of WHOI’s promotion ladder. This is a regular, full-time position (eligible for benefits). OBSIC is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and collaborates with US Geological Survey through a corporate agreement. 


Essential Functions

With substantial 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. 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. This position requires the individual to possess solid technical skills with an emphasis on electronics, a meticulous attention to detail, good interpersonal skills, and be self-motivated.


The candidate must be able to:

  • Implement written procedures to maintain, test, and repair electronic/electrical systems required for the operation of the OBS fleet.
  • Wire and solder electronic circuits and cables.
  • Read electronic schematics and have experience with schematic capture software.
  • Participate in report writing to document instrumentation test, preparation and debug procedures.
  • Develop basic practical engineering skills to enhance technical competence and versatility.
  • 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, instrument programming/de-briefing, record keeping, and maintenance of electronic support equipment and computer networks. In port, assist in loading and unloading OBS and related support equipment.
  • 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.



Non-Essential Functions

  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Education & Experience

  • Degree (AS/BS) in engineering or in another appropriate discipline with minimal work experience, or, in the absence of a degree, evidence of good electronics technician skills gained through experience.
  • Skill in the use and evaluation of electrical and electronic test equipment such as multi-meters and oscilloscopes.
  • 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.




Special Requirements


  • Positions require a Bachelors/Associates degree in engineering, physics, earth science or related field OR the equivalent education/experience. For EA1, we may also consider exceptional candidates with High School or equivalent plus three years' mechanical or electronics experience, or Technical School training plus one year related experience, or one to two years' progress toward an engineering or related degree. 
  • Minimum requirements for the technical-focused position include the ability to troubleshoot, repair, construct, test, and maintain complex mechanical and electronic systems. Must have the ability to use basic machine shop tools such as drill press, bench grinder, band saw, impact wrench, etc. Experience with Unix/Linux/MacOS operating systems, and knowledge of Matlab/Python or related programming language is a plus. 
  • WHOI has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy in effect, where you must register your full vaccination status [vaccination plus booster] in order to begin your employment. The registration process is confidential and entails submitting your official vaccination records, or requesting to engage in the interactive exemption process for either a medical or religious reason




Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25-50 lbs independently; carry 25-50 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

Sea Duty

This position requires about 3-4 months at sea annually.  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.



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