Career Development

What Does an Electrical Engineer Do?

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

Electrical engineers are responsible for the design and development of electrical systems. They work with a wide range of technologies, from simple circuits to complex computer hardware.

Electrical engineers must be able to understand and interpret technical documentation related to their projects. This includes blueprints, schematics, circuit diagrams, etc. They also need strong communication skills so that they can effectively convey their ideas to other members of their team.

Electrical Engineer Job Duties

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

  • Working with contractors to coordinate the installation of electrical systems in new facilities or remodeling projects
  • Brainstorming with fellow engineers about new technology applications in the field of electrical engineering
  • Analyzing designs and determining whether they meet code requirements for safety and sustainability
  • Inspecting electrical equipment such as transformers, generators, motors, switches, fuses, etc. for defects or malfunctions
  • Preparing reports on electrical designs, construction progress, project costs, and other issues related to electrical engineering projects
  • Designing electrical equipment such as power distribution systems, lighting systems, control panels, and wiring systems
  • Designing and maintaining electrical infrastructure such as power grids and telecommunications networks
  • Performing calculations related to electrical properties of materials
  • Conducting research to develop new electrical technologies and improve existing ones

Electrical Engineer Salary & Outlook

Electrical engineer salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company they work for. They may also earn additional income through commissions or bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $95,000 ($45.67/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $143,000 ($68.75/hour)

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

Electrical engineers will be needed to design, test, and supervise the installation of electrical equipment and systems for power plants, communications networks, and other types of infrastructure. In addition, demand for these engineers should continue to come from the aerospace industry, where electronic components are used in aircraft and spacecraft.

Electrical Engineer Job Requirements

Electrical engineers typically need to have the following background:

Education: To become an electrical engineer, you need to first earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering, electronics engineering or electrical engineering. These programs typically include courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering.

Many aspiring electrical engineers choose to pursue a master’s degree in engineering or electrical engineering to increase their job opportunities and earning potential.

Training & Experience: Most of an electrical engineer’s training will take place through formal education. On-the-job training is minimal, as most of the skills and knowledge required for this role are learned through formal education.

Certifications & Licenses: Although most employers do not require certification for entry-level candidates, advanced candidates often seek several certifications to demonstrate their knowledge in specific concepts and techniques.

Electrical Engineer Skills

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

Technical skills: Technical skills are the practical skills that you use to complete tasks. These skills are often specific to the job you do and the role you have in an organization. Electrical engineers need to have a variety of technical skills including the ability to read and interpret blueprints, the ability to use computer-aided design software and the ability to troubleshoot electrical systems.

Communication skills: Electrical engineers often work with other professionals on a project, including other electrical engineers, architects, construction managers and other engineers. Effective communication skills can help you collaborate with others and explain complex electrical concepts.

Problem-solving skills: Electrical engineers often work with other professionals to complete projects, so they need to be able to work with others and find solutions to problems. Problem-solving skills can also help you find ways to complete projects more efficiently.

Analytical skills: Electrical engineers use analytical skills to review and interpret data, conduct research and develop solutions to electrical problems. Effective analytical skills can help you make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently.

Project management: Project management skills allow electrical engineers to oversee the completion of a project on time and within budget. Effective project managers are able to delegate tasks, monitor progress and make adjustments as needed. Electrical engineers with strong project management skills can also help their team members develop their own project management skills.

Electrical Engineer Work Environment

Electrical engineers work in a variety of industries, including power generation, transmission, and distribution; telecommunications; electronics; and manufacturing. They may work in office settings, but they also may spend time in factories, power plants, or other industrial settings, where they may be exposed to noise, heat, and dangerous equipment. They may work long hours to meet deadlines or to solve problems. Electrical engineers typically work a standard 40-hour week, but they may work longer hours to meet deadlines. They may also travel to worksites to observe a problem or to meet with clients.

Electrical Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how electrical engineers work. Electrical 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 Workforce

The electrical engineering field is facing a major diversity problem. According to data from the National Society of Black Engineers, only 2% of all electrical engineers are black, which means that there are very few role models for young people who want to enter the field.

This trend is likely to continue unless more effort is put into recruiting and retaining minorities. Electrical engineers can help to address this issue by becoming mentors and role models for students who are interested in the field. They can also work with schools to develop programs that encourage students to consider electrical engineering as a potential career path.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals has grown rapidly. This trend is expected to continue as businesses continue to adopt new technologies that make them more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Electrical engineers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in cybersecurity. By doing so, they will be able to help businesses protect themselves against cyberattacks and ensure that their systems are safe and secure.

The Emergence of IoT Devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging technology that is quickly changing the way we live and work. As more and more devices become connected to the internet, electrical engineers will need to learn how to design and build these devices.

In order to be successful in this field, electrical engineers will need to be familiar with the latest trends in IoT technology and be able to create devices that are both functional and secure.

How to Become an Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers have a lot of options when it comes to their career path. They can choose to specialize in one area or they can be generalists who are able to work on a variety of projects. They can also choose to work for a large company, a small company, or as a consultant.

No matter what direction they take, electrical engineers should keep up with the latest technology and trends. This means reading trade magazines, attending conferences, and staying connected with other professionals online.

Related: How to Write an Electrical Engineer Resume

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance in the field of electrical engineering. One of the best is to get an advanced degree, which will enable you to apply for research, teaching, or management positions that are not otherwise open to you. For example, an electrical engineer with a master’s degree in business administration may become a project manager, while one with a PhD in electrical engineering may become a research director.

Another way to advance in this field is to specialize in a particular area of electrical engineering. For example, you might become a specialist in power generation, transmission, and distribution; control systems; electronics; or telecommunications. As a specialist, you would have a more in-depth knowledge of your chosen area and would be able to contribute more to your team or company.

Finally, you can also advance in your career by taking on more responsibility. For example, you might become a project manager, a team leader, or a department head. As you take on more responsibility, you will have the opportunity to make a greater impact on your team or company and to further your career.

Similar Jobs


What Does a Sales Coordinator Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Safety Manager Do?