Depending on their qualifications and interest, electrical engineers can work in a variety of public, commercial and manufacturing roles. They apply their knowledge of circuitry and engineering concepts to build smartphones, implement electrical systems in cars and other vehicles, and even run entire national power grids.
- Liaise with management, clients and/or contractors to identify requirements
- Utilise electrical expertise and knowledge to design systems/products
- Produce, interpret and implement specifications and technical drawings
- Produce prototypes and/or models of products through specialist software
- Ensure all output is in line with relevant regulatory standards
- Conduct testing on new and existing products, and analyse the results data
- Perform quality control and safety testing on commercial products
- Supervise project teams and liaise with design, software and manufacturing teams
Skills and qualities
Electrical engineering is a highly flexible career with opportunities to work in many major industries, such as technology, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare and telecommunications, as well as in a variety of roles. Once qualified, you will also continue your professional development, gaining chartered status and supplementing your existing qualifications.
Much of your career progression will be self-defined; for instance, you could move into a management role, pursue an academic/research-based position or become a consultant or self-employed contractor.
Standard business hours
Electrical engineers can work in a variety of different environments.
For instance, in a consumer/commercial-based enterprise, you will likely work normal office hours, although you may have to work evenings and weekends in order to meet deadlines.
Alternatively, if you work in a power station or within a power grid system, you may need to work on a shift-based rota basis or be on call to deal with emergencies.
Most electrical engineers work in a ‘hands-on’ role, so you will likely spend a lot of time in workshops or laboratories, or within control rooms.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Qualifications and training
BS / BEng degree
In order to get hired as an electrical engineer, you will need to obtain an accredited undergraduate degree in electrical engineering.
It is important that you have a strong background in mathematics – particularly calculus – as mathematical principles underpin many of the key concepts in electrical engineering. It’s also advisable to supplement your core study with electives in related fields, such as physics, mechanical engineering and/or mathematics.
A master’s degree can also help you stand out from the crowd, although it is not a requisite for most entry-level roles.
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022