WHAT DO ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS DO?
If you have an aptitude for putting together and taking apart electrical equipment, or interested in how electronics and devices work, then you might find a shockingly good career as an electrical engineer.
Electrical engineers create, design, test and oversee the building of electrical equipment. This could include motors, navigation systems, radio and communication systems and more. Often, electrical engineers work with project managers to make sure they deliver quality devices on time and within budget. Anything with wires and electricity running through it has been touched by an electrical engineer.
Electrical engineers often look for new ways to make devices more energy efficient or innovative. They understand electricity as a power source, and have the ability to create complex calculations and blueprints to harness that power. After designing, they oversee manufacture and test the devices. Electrical engineers understand safety codes needed for creating electrical devices, and work make sure those safety standards are met.
HOW MUCH DO ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS MAKE?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electrical engineers made a median hourly income of $41.92 in 2010, or $87,180 annually.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Electrical engineers must have a bachelor's degree in engineering or similar, plus practical experience through a cooperative program, which generally lasts 4 years. Some colleges offer cooperative programs as part of their degree.
High school students interested in getting into the field will want to take classes in algebra, physics, trigonometry and calculus, as well as drafting.
Licensure is also available and will enhance your chances for getting a job.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Active Learning: The lessons that electrical engineers learn in school will be directly applied to their jobs. As technology changes, electrical engineers need a habit of lifelong learning to keep up with innovation.
- Communication: Speaking and listening to other engineers, team members and project managers, giving instructions to technicians and the ability to clearly communicate ideas and designs is essential.
- Attention to Detail: The complicated electrical systems that electrical engineers devise need close inspection and a sharp eye.
- Math Skills: electrical engineers use calculus, trigonometry and many other advanced math skills every day.
- Teamwork: Electrical engineers work as part of a team with other engineers, technicians, project managers and report to upper management. Being a team player helps get the job done.
CAREER PATHS FOR ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS
THE FUTURE OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS
Jobs for electrical engineers will grow slowly between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS. While electronics continue to evolve and innovate, more manufacturing overseas will hamper job growth in the United States.