Electrical engineering careers offer strong prospects in many parts of the world. In Australia, for example, the government reports unemployment rates for electrical engineers below average, comparatively high earnings, and predicts continued strong jobs growth up to 2016-17. In the US and the UK similar trends have been reported, due to the industry-wide need for engineering graduates.
If you complete your electrical engineering degree at bachelor level (BEng) and want to go on and become a chartered engineer (CEng), you will need to undertake further study once you’ve gained experience in the field as a graduate. Completing a work experience placement during your degree is also a good idea, as a way to gain hands-on, practical understanding of particular systems and industries.
Electrical engineers design, develop and maintain electrical control systems and/or components through a mixture of technical knowledge and commercial awareness, and can expect to earn between US$61,000-85,000. As well as having technical knowledge, electrical engineers need to have commercial awareness and be able to project manage and multitask.
As an electrical engineer, you can expect to work as part of a team on multidisciplinary projects, alongside specialists such as architects, technicians and other engineers (civil, design, etc.). Depending on your particular role and the scale of the project, as an electrical engineer you may be involved in one or all stages of design and development. This can involve making models and prototypes, reading and/or writing design specifications, researching, budgeting and costing, liaising with clients and contractors, conducting tests, interpreting data and servicing equipment.
Some major employment sectors for those pursuing electrical engineering careers include:
- Power generation and supply
- Transport infrastructure maintenance and development
- Communications and media
- Computer hardware and software design
- Science and technology research
Within each of these industries, positions are available in research and development, design, testing and maintenance. Career progression could mean taking on supervisory and management roles.