what does an electrical engineer do?

  • job profiles
  • September 08, 2020

Electrical engineers — also known as “electronics engineers” on job boards — are inventive problem solvers who can find creative workarounds to just about any technical challenge. From electrical component testing to validation, safety inspection, quality assurance (QA) and more, electrical engineers are at the center of so much action — and as such, they’re highly in-demand professionals at some of the world’s most innovative companies today.

But what are the big-picture responsibilities of electrical and electronics engineers on a day-to-day basis? There are too many to name, but here are a few of the major ones:

  • working cross-functionally with project managers and other professionals in support of engineering projects and product development, design, planning and more
  • evaluating electrical systems, products, components and applications
  • testing and validating electrical systems and components
  • researching, testing and deploying new manufacturing and assembly methods, materials, components and processes
  • applying knowledge of telecommunications engineering, power grids and systems and computer and control systems to achieve key business outcomes
  • carrying out quality assurance (QA) processes to ensure product quality
  • continually ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations, as well as adherence to safety standards

how do you become an electrical engineer?

Technology is transforming industries and roles across the board, and the day-to-day work of your contemporary electrical engineer is no exception. Understanding a spate of new tech tools, systems and platforms is crucial — and candidates who haven’t been exposed to them should invest in targeted upskilling through online learning platforms as soon as possible. Check out the top electrical engineering courses on Udemy, our learning partner, if you need some help getting started.

With all of that in mind, what are a few of the key qualifications and requirements that will help you become an electrical engineer?

  • bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from an accredited educational institution
  • licensure as a professional engineer (PE) is often required
  • proficiency using advanced engineering software and applications
  • some previous professional experience
  • knowledge of relevant codes and regulations

Finally, one pro tip to keep in mind whenever you’re using job boards: Mentally try to take note of the difference between the skills that are “nice-to-have” (but not essential) and those that are “must-haves” (essential) for each role. This is key — because if you don’t have the former, that won’t necessarily preclude you from landing an interview for the job.

what are the key skills of an electrical engineer?

Electrical engineers can contribute enormous bottom-line value to businesses today. And while they’re highly trained professionals with deep technical skill sets, those aren’t the only aptitudes that matter in the minds of potential employers.

A few other key skills that electrical engineers should call attention to on their resumes in order to stand out in today’s busy job marketplace:

  • analytical and financial modeling skills
  • design thinking
  • strategic thinking and troubleshooting
  • strong verbal, written and presentation skills
  • proficiency in Microsoft Excel, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and other technology platforms
  • time management and organizational aptitudes
  • proven ability to multitask and meet deadlines
  • empathy and emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • quality focus
  • attentiveness to detail

what search terms will help me find roles as an electrical engineer?

Struggling to find the right roles on job boards? Don’t sweat it — you definitely aren’t alone, and we’ve got some easy tips that will help you out. For example, you should try using a combination of the following search terms if you want to find additional relevant opportunities in electrical engineering:

  • electrical engineer/senior electrical engineer
  • Revit proficiency
  • electrical design
  • electrical testing/validation

how much does an electrical engineer make?

From a salary standpoint, electrical engineers will find a lot of variation on the job market today. That said, they do tend to be slightly better than civil engineers and many other engineering specialties.

Looking at the latest data, average salaries for these engineering wizards can be grouped into three tiers — low, mid and high — depending on a lot of factors, including your location, market, responsibilities and relative level of expertise.

Those tiers are as follows:

  • low $85,813
  • mid $108,627
  • high $131,651

Be sure to head on over to our free salary comparison tool for a deeper dive into the latest salary data. You’ll get in-depth and at-a-glance data about pay rates for electrical and electronics engineering roles across different locations and markets.

key takeaways

As we have discussed, electrical engineers are highly in-demand professionals. They’re hands-on, high-energy performers, too — and that’s a fact that you will see reflected in their compensation data above.

Quickly to recap, we’ve covered:

  • what electrical engineers do
  • background, training, experience and other requirements for this position
  • key skills
  • salary
  • and more

So if you’re ready to land a great new role, start searching for electrical engineers jobs today.