Career Development

What Does an Electrical Design Engineer Do?

Find out what an electrical design engineer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an electrical design engineer.

Electrical design engineers are responsible for the creation of new electrical products. They work with a variety of different companies, from large corporations to small startups, and their job is to come up with innovative ways to build new electronics or improve existing ones.

Electrical design engineers must have an extensive knowledge of electrical engineering principles in order to do their job effectively. They need to understand how electricity flows through various materials, as well as how it interacts with other components within an electronic device.

Electrical Design Engineer Job Duties

Electrical design engineers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Creating designs for electrical systems based on engineering specifications and industry standards, using computer software applications such as AutoCAD or ETABS
  • Conducting surveys of existing facilities to determine the nature of electrical problems or issues that may need to be addressed during construction
  • Drafting preliminary drawings of electrical systems such as wiring diagrams and floor plans showing where electrical outlets will be placed in a building
  • Coordinating with architects and other designers to ensure that designs meet all applicable electrical codes and regulations
  • Recommending materials and equipment based on cost, quality, and availability
  • Performing calculations and analyses to determine the most effective design for electrical systems
  • Consulting with architects, engineers, contractors, or other specialists involved in the design process to ensure that designs are feasible
  • Creating detailed designs of electrical systems such as lighting, transformers, switches, motors, fuses, breakers, and wiring
  • Preparing pricing estimates for materials and services needed for a specific project

Electrical Design Engineer Salary & Outlook

Electrical design engineers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $135,000 ($64.9/hour)

The employment of electrical design engineers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for electrical engineering services will stem from the need to improve the efficiency and reliability of power grids and electrical equipment. In addition, demand for these engineers will come from the need to update and automate manufacturing processes in factories.

Related: Electrical Design Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Electrical Design Engineer Job Requirements

Electrical design engineers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Electrical design engineers need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, electronics engineering or a related field. These programs include courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer programming and engineering.

Many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Master’s programs typically take two to five years to complete and include coursework and a research project.

Training & Experience: Most electrical design engineers will receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training will familiarize the electrical design engineer with the company’s specific needs and requirements. It will also help the electrical design engineer learn the software and computer programs they will need to use in their role.

Certifications & Licenses: Electrical design engineers need a variety of technical certifications to show their skills and knowledge.

Electrical Design Engineer Skills

Electrical design engineers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Electrical design engineers communicate with many different people throughout their workday. They may need to explain their design ideas to other engineers, explain their design ideas to clients and explain their design ideas to manufacturers. Effective communication skills can help electrical design engineers be more efficient in their work and build stronger relationships with others.

Technical knowledge: Technical knowledge is the ability to understand and apply the principles of engineering to create electrical designs. Electrical design engineers need to have a strong understanding of electrical systems and how to apply their knowledge to create functional electrical designs. This includes understanding the different types of electrical systems and how to apply them to create electrical designs.

Problem-solving skills: Electrical design engineers solve problems by applying their knowledge of electrical engineering principles and their ability to design electrical systems. They use their problem-solving skills to identify issues, research solutions and implement solutions to ensure their designs work as intended.

Teamwork skills: Electrical design engineers often work with other professionals to complete projects. Having good teamwork skills can help you collaborate with other professionals and complete projects efficiently.

Creativity: Creativity is the ability to think of new ideas and solutions. Electrical design engineers use their creativity to develop new electrical systems that meet the needs of their clients. Creativity is also important for coming up with innovative ways to solve problems and improve existing systems.

Electrical Design Engineer Work Environment

Electrical design engineers work in a variety of settings, including office buildings, factories, and research laboratories. They may spend considerable time working with computers and other office equipment. They may also travel to worksites to observe conditions and confer with other engineers, technicians, and construction workers. Electrical design engineers typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines or to attend meetings with clients or other engineers.

Electrical Design Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how electrical design engineers work. Electrical design engineers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Diversity in the Workplace

The electrical design industry is facing a major diversity problem. According to the National Electrical Contractors Association, only 2% of electrical contractors are women, and only 3% are minorities.

This lack of diversity can have a negative impact on the quality of work that is produced, as it limits the range of perspectives and ideas that are brought to the table. In order to address this issue, electrical design engineers need to be more proactive about recruiting and retaining diverse talent. They also need to be more open to changing the way they do business in order to better reflect the needs of their customers.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals has grown rapidly. This trend is likely to continue as more and more data is stored online, making it vulnerable to hackers.

Electrical designers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in cybersecurity. This will allow them to help businesses protect their data from hackers, which will become increasingly important in the years to come.

Greater Use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Virtual reality and augmented reality are quickly becoming popular tools for product development and training. As these technologies become more widespread, electrical designers will need to learn how to use them effectively.

By learning how to use VR and AR, electrical designers can create more realistic prototypes and train employees more efficiently. Additionally, they can create more accurate representations of products for potential investors and customers.

How to Become an Electrical Design Engineer

Electrical design engineers have a lot of options when it comes to their career path. They can specialize in one area, such as power systems or telecommunications, or they can choose to be generalists who are able to work on a variety of projects.

No matter what direction they take, electrical design engineers must keep up with the latest technology and trends. This means attending training courses, reading industry journals, and networking with other professionals.

Advancement Prospects

As an electrical design engineer, you will have the opportunity to move up within your engineering department. With experience, you may be promoted to senior electrical design engineer, lead electrical design engineer, or principal electrical design engineer. In larger organizations, you may move into a management position, such as engineering manager or director of engineering.

If you have a strong interest in business, you may want to pursue a MBA or other graduate degree in business administration. With a graduate degree, you may be eligible for positions such as project manager, product manager, or marketing manager.

Those with entrepreneurial ambitions may start their own engineering consulting firm. Successful consulting firms can grow quickly, providing opportunities for rapid advancement.

Electrical Design Engineer Job Description Example

As an Electrical Design Engineer at [CompanyX], you will be a part of a team of engineers that design, develop, and test electrical components, equipment, systems, and networks. You will be responsible for designing electrical schematics, components, and systems that meet customer, company, and industry standards. In addition, you will be required to research, select, and apply appropriate electrical engineering techniques and calculations. The ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, as well as experience in electrical design.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Design and develop electrical components, systems, and equipment
  • Conduct research to identify new and innovative solutions that improve the function or performance of electrical products
  • Prepare schematics, wiring diagrams, bills of materials, and other engineering documentation
  • Perform analysis on electrical systems to identify potential problems and recommend solutions
  • Assist in the development of prototypes and testing of electrical products
  • Coordinate with other engineers, drafters, and technicians to ensure the successful implementation of designs
  • Provide technical support to sales, marketing, and manufacturing teams
  • Stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments to ensure the company’s products remain competitive
  • Attend trade shows and conferences to network with other professionals and learn about new technologies
  • Maintain accurate records of all design work and revisions
  • Adhere to all company policies and procedures, as well as applicable safety regulations
  • Comply with all relevant government codes and standards

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or related field
  • 5+ years experience as an electrical engineer, with a focus on design
  • Proficient in AutoCAD, Revit, and other relevant software programs
  • Strong understanding of electrical codes and standards (NEC, NFPA, etc.)
  • Ability to create and interpret technical drawings
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in electrical engineering
  • PE license
  • 7+ years experience as an electrical engineer
  • Experience managing teams of engineers
  • Experience with power distribution systems


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