What do Electrical Engineers Do?
Electrical engineers research and design the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment or systems for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.This career field will see a 5% increase over the next few years, with over 4,400 jobs being created. Electrical engineers can work for a wide range of employers besides engineering firms, including manufacturing and aerospace companies, the defense industry and federal and local governments.
Electrical Engineers Skills and Abilities
Electrical engineers must have extensive knowledge of engineering science and technology, including design and production. You should be proficient in computers and electronics and understand the principles and components of electronic equipment and computer hardware and software. You should be knowledgeable of design techniques and be able to work with technical plans, blueprints and models. Even though this is a highly technical field, communication skills are still quite important. Electrical engineers need to be able clearly articulate plans and designs so that projects will be accurately implemented. You will need to understand complex ideas written in manuals and journals. You also will frequently work with teams and must be able to accurately convey ideas and instructions so that they are properly understood. You will need expertise in mathematics. Some other important skills an electrical engineer will possess are:
- Complex Problem Solving – Finding solutions to complex problems by reviewing related information
- Critical Thinking – Using reasoning to find alternative solutions to problems
- Deductive Reasoning – Applying general rules to specific problems
- Category Flexibility – Applying different rules to group ideas or components in new ways
- Information Ordering – Applying rules to order or pattern objects or ideas in certain ways
Electrical Engineers Duties
Electrical engineers spend a lot of time working with computers to process information. Gathering and sorting information for analysis is a key function of this occupation. Once information has been analyzed and evaluated you will be making decisions based on what the data tells you is the best solution to a problem. Communicating your findings verbally and in writing is also a critical everyday part of your work. Some specific duties you will be performing are:
- Create electrical schematics
- Design structures or facilities
- Estimate operational costs
- Operate computer systems
- Supervise engineering or other technical personnel
- Test products for functionality or quality
- Train personnel on proper operational procedures
Electrical Engineers Tools and Technology
Although Electrical Engineers have a cerebral job, you will still spend a lot of time working with physical tools, as well. Some of the technical equipment an Electrical Engineer uses are evaporators, semiconductor process systems, signal generators, spectrometers and tube furnaces. As you might expect, you will also use various analytical software, design CAD software and development software.
Education and Training for Electrical Engineers
You will need a Bachelor’s Degree to obtain employment as an Electrical Engineer, although about 25% of workers in this field have a Master’s Degree. The higher your education, the higher you can expect your salary to be. You will learn all of your critical skills in school, as training is not provided once you are employed.
Electrical Engineers Salary
The median salary for Electrical Engineers is over $91,000, with the top 10% earning over $143,000 a year. Even right out of school, you can expect a salary of at least $59,000 as a national average.
Electrical Engineers Jobs by Geography
California, Alaska and Massachusetts pay their Electrical Engineers more than $100,000 annually. Of course, these states also either have a high cost of living or are remote and rural. You can still live comfortably in any state in the country with a salary of $75,000 to $99,000. Job growth is most promising in Colorado, North Dakota and Montana.