If you are an aspiring electrical engineer, you may be curious what a day in the life of an electrical engineer looks like. This can help you prepare for the workforce and guide your decisions about whether or not electrical jobs are of interest.
In this article, we’ll go through what a typical day in the life of an electrical engineer looks like and break down the average electrical engineer salary by different levels of experience.
What is an Electrical Engineer?
An electrical engineer is a professional who builds, installs, tests and maintains electrical systems, equipment, machines and control instruments such as electric motors, radar, navigation systems, smartphones and electrical power generation equipment. They work in a range of industries including manufacturing, telecommunications, aerospace, automotive and IT.
What does an electrical engineer do on a daily basis?
The work an electrical engineer does on a daily basis varies depending on the progress of their project and the type of project they are working on. This could be anything from working on product design to working with other departments on a project, monitoring project progress, managing finances and reporting to a client or senior management.
- Make technical drawings† Before starting any electrical project, an electrical engineer will prepare technical drawings showing the device specifications, as well as topographic maps that the team will follow. This is done to ensure that the product meets customer requirements.
- Meet the project team† Electrical engineers have regular consultations with their project team. This team consists of a design team, architects, project managers and other experts. During these meetings, they discuss project goals, budget, schedule and production processes to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Oversees project production† Projects are usually not intended for one electrical engineer to complete alone. They have to work with experts from different fields to deliver quality products and achieve different project goals. By overseeing project production, they ensure that everything is completed accurately, on time and within budget.
- Testing prototypes† The most exciting and often stressful part of electrical engineering jobs is product testing and quality control. This is when technicians test the product before handing it over to make sure it works perfectly and is safe to use. They also check for errors and make corrections before delivering the product.
- Reporting to customers or senior management† Electrical engineers report the progress of their work to senior management or their customers to make sure everyone is happy. They keep them up to date in case any adjustments to the product are needed or a change in delivery time.
How can I become an electrical engineer?
You can become an electrical engineer by earning a degree, taking online courses, and earning certifications. Earning a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for electrical engineering jobs. However, you can also earn an associate degree and work as an electrical engineer.
Degrees Electrical Engineer
A Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering is the minimum requirement to begin a career as an electrical engineer. Mot universities offer electrical engineering courses. An associate degree is also an acceptable degree, but you’ll need to start out as an electrical engineer. Earning a master’s or certificate can help you advance in your career and become an engineering manager.
Electrical Engineer Online Courses
Online courses are a great way to stay current in the field, with new cutting edge technologies being developed on a monthly basis. You can even take online courses to earn your degree. You can also take individual courses at any time. Keeping yourself continuously informed about the developments in the industry will help you grow your career and work on even more exciting projects.
Electrical Engineer Certifications
Certifications are proof of your skills and are only available to engineers with a certain amount of experience. They prove to potential employers that you can work efficiently. There are several electrical certifications you can earn to impress recruiters. These certifications mainly differ based on skill level.
How do I get a job as an electrical engineer?
To get a job as an electrical engineer, you must first complete a degree. You can obtain a Bachelor or Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering. After that you have to gain practical experience, which can be done through internships or apprenticeships. Many schools offer work-study programs to help their engineering students gain this experience while still studying.
You must also pass a basic engineering exam, which is required to practice as an engineer and can be taken right after graduation. As you complete all of these preceding steps, hopefully you’ll have built solid industry connections that can help you find work. The final step is to apply for entry-level jobs.
Steps to find a job as an electrical engineer
- Earn a degree
To get started as an electrical engineer, you must first obtain a diploma. No one will hire an engineer without an education. You can choose between a bachelor’s or an associate degree, although the latter can limit your growth potential.
- Gain experience
As a novice to the industry, no work experience is expected, but it is highly recommended that you gain some before graduating. To gain hands-on experience, you can apply for internships or apprenticeships at companies to help you gain practical experience and give you a competitive advantage in the job market.
- Take a technical exam
To practice as a professional engineer, you must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, more commonly known as FE. This exam is very important to get started with your career and requires that you already have a diploma from an accredited school. It is recommended to take this exam immediately after graduation.
- Build a network
Your network is important to your career. Building a network of professionals who can help you stay connected in the industry will help you learn about industry job opportunities faster and land those jobs. You can build a strong professional network by joining industry forums, communities, attending industry events, and attending professional workshops.
- Apply for entry-level jobs
As a recent graduate, you should focus on applying for entry-level positions that fall within your skill level. These jobs will help you grow your career and gain the necessary experience. You can find electrical engineering jobs on job boards, company websites, social media, and industry communities.
What is the average salary of an electrical engineer?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of an electrical engineer is $100,830. At the time of writing this article, the lowest 10 percent earn about $64,870, and the highest 10 percent earn about $159,520. These numbers depend on industry, experience, and location.
Salary for a starting electrical engineer
The average salary of an entry-level electrical engineer is $57,372 according to ZipRecruiter. The top earners earn about $74,000, while the majority earn between $48,000 and $65,000. These salaries depend on skill level, location and industry.
Salary for a medior electrical engineer
According to ZipRecruiter, the median salary for mid-level electrical engineers is $79,250. The majority earn between $71,500 and $83,500, while top earners earn around $93,500. The highest earners earn about $99,500.
Senior Electrical Engineer Salary
The median salary of a senior electrical engineer is $107,086, according to ZipRecruiter. Higher level engineers typically have about 20 years of experience in the electrical field. The top earners earn about $137,000, while most senior electrical engineers earn between $90,500 and $118,500.
Job Outlook for an Electrical Engineer
The job outlook for electrical engineers is seven percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is as fast as the average for all occupations. The BLS projects approximately 22,700 job openings per year for the next decade. These job openings will come from replacing employees who are transitioning into another career or retiring.
Should I Become an Electrical Engineer?
You should become an electrical engineer if you think critically and have a strong background in mathematics and physics. Electrical engineers have high job prospects, so finding a good job shouldn’t be too difficult. They also earn impressive salaries and can work in a wide variety of industries, including for the federal government.
This is an exciting field that requires a lot of determination and focus to excel. In the Electrical Engineering program you must be able to work with complex systems and make detailed calculations. You should also maintain a high grade point average throughout your education. If you can achieve all of this, then you should pursue a career as an electrical engineer.
A Day in the Life of an Electrical Engineer Frequently Asked Questions
A typical day for an electrical engineer includes building devices using design software, troubleshooting, going through design plans, working with your team, meeting customers, performing maintenance checks, and testing devices.
Electrical engineers work on the same work schedule as most other jobs, but they may have to work extra hours to meet deadlines. They do not operate on holidays, night shifts or weekends.
Electrical engineers work eight hours a day for an average of 40 hours a week. This can sometimes increase when they have deadlines to meet and are behind schedule. Some professionals have a flexible schedule that allows them to take certain hours off weekly or fortnightly.
Electrical engineers usually work as part of a team or with a team. This means that these professionals need to have excellent communication skills to work with their colleagues.
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