Career Guide

Electrical Engineer

Ben Maples  · Sep 11th 2020

Do you love all things technical, designing and seeing things come together?

Motherboard being worked on.

We sure hope you do, as all these things are a part of the electrical engineering role. This job vital across all sectors - we need electrical systems, right? To find out how you can play a big part, read our guide below.

Electrical Engineer Career Guide

What is electrical engineering?

Electrical engineering is a discipline that revolves around the design, study and application of devices, systems and equipment which use electricity and electromagnetism. Electromagnetism is an area of physics consisting of the physical interaction between two or more electrically charged particles. EEE engineering can also be called electrotechnical engineering.

What is an electrical engineer?

We’ve looked into the electrical engineering definition, now let’s see what someone in the role does. An electrical engineer can work across several industries including construction, transportation, manufacturing and production. They will focus on reliability, economy, safety, sustainability and quality of the components. A trainee electrical engineer will be involved in the projects but may not take on all aspects of it.

In contrast, someone with more experience will deal with the design, concept, testing and handover. Sometimes the role will work on maintenance programmes. The maintenance engineer job description also explains that it’s common to work with other colleagues, like engineers, marketing, architects, technicians, manufacturers and even sales teams.

What does an electrical engineer do?

What do electrical engineers do? Electrical and electronic engineering covers various sectors, but even so, their tasks tend to follow the same trends. They will identify the client’s needs, design products, and research suitable electrical solutions. An electrical engineer will also look at technical drawings, make prototypes using 3D software.

Jobs in electronic engineering revolve around attending meetings with clients and contractors, talking with others in the team and meeting design specifications. Working to British and European standards is essential, as well as conducting tests and analysing data. Additionally, retesting products, maintaining equipment, proposing modifications and creating product documentation is part of the role. They may need to monitor a product, write reports, improve the further design and give presentations.

Electrical Engineer Career

What skills do electrical engineering companies seek?

Electrical engineers need to have excellent analytical, technical, logical and problem-solving skills. Also, being able to multitask, manage tasks, and communicate technical information in an informative and straightforward way is typical. People in electrical engineering careers should have excellent organisation and planning skills.

They should be able to work well in a team, with clients and work to create solutions. Also, having the ability to speak a second language can open up doors when applying to international organisations. If you work in nuclear power, government or defence-related industries which have security implications, you can expect a background check for criminal offences.

How to become an electrical engineer?

Thinking about becoming an electrical engineer and not sure how to make it a reality? The first step is to obtain an electrical degree or some form of electrical engineering qualifications. However, there are other courses you can study that are relevant to electrical engineer training. Engineering courses under the title of power and energy, aeronautical, computing, communications, software, mechanical, electromechanical, building services and production are available.

It’s essential to check if a relevant professional body accredits the course like The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Studying accredited electrical engineer qualifications can help individuals achieve chartered engineer status (CEng), or incorporated engineer (IEng). To find out what electrical engineering training, you can visit the Engineering Council site.

There is the option to enter the career with a foundation degree or HND, but this may mean you can apply for jobs at a lower level and work your way up. Having electrical engineering work experience will increase your chances of getting a job, so applying for placements is a great option. Also, some university courses allow candidates to enter the third year of an undergraduate degree if they have studied a foundation course or HND qualification.

If you don’t have any of the above, you will need further training to reach the right level for electrical engineering. Companies can employ individuals at A-level or higher, for electrical engineering apprenticeships and sponsor part or full-time courses. Having a postgraduate qualification is not essential for the job. Still, if you do want to study again after you graduate, it can show your enthusiasm and help with career progression. If you’re going to be a chartered electrical engineer in the long term, then you will need to have further training above HND level.

Electrical Engineer

What is the average electrical engineer salary?

The graduate electrical engineer wage tends to be between £24,000 and £28,000. But the average electrical engineers’ salary after training and experience increase to £35,000 with the chance of the EE salary being as high as £60,000. Also, the chartered electrical engineer salary can reach £85,000 or more. Both a chartered engineer salary and an average electrical design engineer salary can vary depending on the size of the company they work for, the nature of the organisation and location.

What are the engineering prospects?

There are progression opportunities for people in jobs for electrical engineers. They can work across various sectors, abroad, and within small or large corporations. Vacancies for careers in electrical engineering are within construction, transportation, telecommunications, energy companies and research organisations. Employers may also be in the armed forces, petrochemical industries, defence-related industries and specialist engineering firms.

There are no standard electrical and electronics engineering prospects that are a one-size-fits-all type. But, depending on how you want to develop your career, and want to work in a specialist area, there are several avenues to choose from. First, there is project management, then managerial positions, the academic aspect, or to work towards being a contractor or consultant. Other options include working in research and development or to staying in an engineering role.

However, you can establish chartered status, receive more significant projects and network with professionals to aid progression. Some engineers choose to take the giant leap to work abroad in international companies once they reach chartered professional status.

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