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An Electrical Engineer researches, designs, tests, repairs and integrates electronic products. This can include a variety of industries and equipment, from navigation systems to motors to communication equipment to power generators.
Electrical Engineers typically work in offices, although they may be required to visit sites to observe and test equipment. The majority work for either telecommunications companies, federal and state governments or engineering services firms. Due to a decline in the manufacturing industry, careers in electrical engineering are expected to remain stagnant through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Electrical Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
In order to facilitate the manufacturing of electrical equipment, an Electrical Engineer performs many different tasks. We analyzed job listings for Electrical Engineers in order to identify these core duties and responsibilities.
Design Electronic Systems
The Electrical Engineer designs for a variety of electrical systems and assists senior level engineers with the design process. They draft and plan new designs, keeping in mind cost, schedule and manufacturing feasibility, and then they move into the prototyping phase. Electrical Engineers also redesign existing products to improve their effectiveness, reduce cost or address safety concerns.
Develop Electronic Systems
In collaboration with manufacturing and part suppliers, Electrical Engineers develop the electronic systems they've designed. This includes the development of completely new equipment as well as improvements on existing equipment. It is important to stick to a project schedule during the development stage.
Test Electronic Systems
Throughout the design, prototyping, development and installation stages, Electrical Engineers test their electronic systems to ensure that they're functioning properly. They run tests on cost, manufacturing feasibility, functionality and more and analyze the results. It is their responsibility to debug systems and solve any issues that arise during testing phases.
Maintains Electronic Systems
The Electrical Engineer repairs, troubleshoots, and debugs electrical hardware. They assess customer feedback and use it to work on current electronic systems, improving their performance and solving any issues that arise.
Electrical Engineer Skills
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Electrical Engineers with these core skills. If you want to work as an Electrical Engineer, focus on the following.
- Demonstrating some programming knowledge
- Showing proficiency in AutoCAD and other relevant software
- Possessing experience with industry standard testing
- Demonstrating an ability to create and interpret electrical schematics
- Having knowledge of circuit design and both analog and digital products
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Electrical Engineer toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Ability to obtain government clearance
- Master’s degree in Engineering
- Industry-specific experience
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Electrical Engineer Resources
We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as an Electrical Engineer. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.
On the Web
A blog for a large electrical engineering community
Daily entertainment for engineers
A blog full of tests and designs by an electrical engineer
Electrical Engineer Books
Electrical Engineering 101
A guide meant to supplement inschool learning
Beginner's Guide to Electrical Engineering
A beginner's guide to becoming an Electrical Engineer
Practical Electronics for Engineers
An introductory book on practical electronics
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