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Biometrics Systems Specialists

The Job

We’re all familiar with the analysis of fingerprints left at a crime scene to solve crimes. But did you also know that fingerprint recognition technology is also being used by the banking, health care, cybersecurity, human resources, and other industries to identify people? Our fingerprints are just one of many biometric characteristics that government agencies and businesses use to identify individuals. Other physical biometrics include:

  • face biometrics (one of the most commonly used biometrics)
  • voice biometrics (another commonly used biometric)
  • palm biometrics (an increasingly popular biometric; the FBI reports that 30 percent of all latent prints left at crime scenes are palm prints)
  • eye biometrics (which have extremely high accuracy rates)
  • DNA biometrics (which often used in the fields of forensics and health care)
  • hand biometrics (which uses the shape of the hand and other features to identify an individual)
  • vein biometrics (in which biometric systems measure unique vein patterns on a person’s palm, fingers, eyes, back of hand, or other areas)

An emerging field of biometrics is behavioral biometrics, which measures the unique characteristics of an individual during their daily activities. These might include the way we walk, our brain waves, our heartbeats, and the way we gesture. Behavioral biometrics are increasingly being used by law enforcement agencies, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, defense firms, and government defense and counter-terrorism agencies.

Finally, multimodal biometrics involves the use of several types of biometrics (such as eye and voice biometrics) to establish a person’s identity. The International Biometrics + Identity Association says that "the layered use of several biometrics in concert is fast becoming the standard for applications which require strong protection of sensitive information." 

Typical job responsibilities for biometric systems specialists include:

  • designing and building biometric systems
  • diagnosing and resolving hardware, software, or network connectivity problems
  • analyzing and optimizing hardware and software performance through adjustments and upgrades as required
  • developing new computer algorithms for a particular biometric (such as iris detection) and evaluating them for performance and speed
  • producing technical documentation and support materials to be used in preparing product specifications
  • performing biometric system management functions including system setup, installation, monitoring, or adding applications, users, and devices