Career Tips for Electrical Engineers to Advance Their Careers

Whether as simple as a flashlight or as complex as a cell phone or tablet, all-electric-powered devices are a basic necessity of our daily lives and developed by electrical engineers.

A career in electrical engineering offers numerous opportunities to work for top companies like Northrop Grumman, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, and more. Electrical engineers also earn well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an electrical engineer’s national average yearly wage is around $101,600.

If you’ve recently graduated from college with a degree in electrical engineering, you probably wonder what’s the best way to take your career to the next level.

This article will list the best career tips for electrical engineers that will help them skyrocket their careers in electrical engineering.

Let’s get started.

Best Career Tips for Electrical Engineers

Following are the three best career tips for electrical engineers to progress in their profession:

  1. Register in a certificate program to gain specialized skills
  2. Establish contacts with experts in the industry
  3. Earn a PE license by passing the PE exam

Tip#1: Register in a certificate program to gain specialized skills

Electrical engineers wanting to advance their career in electrical engineering should enroll themselves in certificate programs if they possess only general engineering knowledge and expertise.

These certifications programs are available online and on-campus and help electrical engineers develop unique skills that top-paying employers seek.

Some electrical engineers may also be lucky enough to get an opportunity from their hiring managers to participate in specialization programs. Following are the most popular specializations to pursue as an electrical engineer:

  • Communications and Signal Processing
  • Electrophysics
  • Microelectronics
  • Power Systems
  • Computer Engineering
  • Controls

Tip#2: Establish contacts with experts in the industry

Another career tip for electrical engineers to advance in their profession is to build relationships with experts in the industry. Engaging with other experts in your field can be beneficial in increasing your industrial knowledge and discovering numerous employment prospects.

There are a lot of approaches to getting active in the professional community and enhancing your status through networking. For instance, you can attend engineering exhibitions and meetings, participate in seminars and join alumni clubs and engineering societies. You might also want to sign up for newsletters and join discussion groups to exchange views and stay up to date with whatever is happening in your industry.

Tip#3: Earn a PE license by passing the PE exam

Imagine following the engineering career advice mentioned above but still not being able to call yourself an engineer officially. It feels like all your efforts and hard work have gone down the drain, right?

Earning a PE license helps you gain recognition as an engineer and sets you aside from the other candidates applying for the same position, thereby landing you your dream job and flourishing your career in electrical engineering!  

Moreover:

People are more likely to trust Professional Engineers with their work because they have more significant expertise, education, and grip over the tasks they perform, resulting in more employment opportunities and benefits coming their way.

For example:

The electrical engineer’s salary ranges from $89,900 to $136,000 per year with the PE license.

So:

To obtain the PE license, you first have to take the eight-hour-long PE Electrical and Computer exam and pass it. The exam questions differ per state. However, they often assess understanding and knowledge of general engineering and magnetic and electrical field theory.

But:

To take the PE exam, you must pass the eight-hour-long FE Electrical and Computer Engineering exam and earn four years of experience under a licensed Professional Engineer.

After earning the relevant experience, you are eligible to take the PE exam and can earn your PE license.

Enhance Your Electrical Engineering Career by Learning New Skills

Here is a list of the soft and hard skills of electrical engineers that will help them advance in their careers:

  1. Project management skills
  2. The appropriate technical and up-to-date industrial knowledge
  3. Commercial awareness
  4. Adaptability to emerging technologies
  5. Verbal and written communication skills

1. Project management skills

As electrical engineers supervise various electrical projects, so it’s a must for them to possess solid project management skills. These abilities assist electrical engineers in distributing resources, setting financial plans, and managing their own time and the time of others engaged in their projects.

These skills also enable electrical engineers to create project status reports, adhere to customer demands, execute project operations and complete the project on time and within the set budget.   

Electrical engineers with project management expertise and prestigious credentials like Project Management Professional (PMP) and PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMP-ACP) fetch hefty paychecks since they can help companies better supervise and manage large-scale engineering production costs. These credentials and experience not only boost your chances of getting a job, but they can also help you climb up the ladder in your career in electrical engineering.

2. The appropriate technical and up-to-date industrial knowledge

Electrical engineers should know computer design applications such as AutoCAD, MATLAB, and SolidWorks because they will be using them frequently in the present age. Moreover, they must also be familiar with specialized programming languages like Python and C++. 

The engineering sector has evolved with the emergence of the latest tech, principles, and equipment. So, you should seek out advanced training and learning as much as possible to keep your abilities and expertise updated.

Some organizations will pay for additional training or education, so it’s advisable to consult your boss. Even if financial support isn’t available, you can bring to their notice your eagerness to study and your wish to advance in your career in electrical engineering. They may help you complete further education and obtain the necessary training by providing financial help.

3. Commercial awareness

Electrical engineers must be well-versed in the commercial aspects of their jobs and have outstanding project management skills. Commercial awareness entails a thorough understanding of your business, encompassing trends, supply and demand, and rivalries.

Staying abreast with the business trends and developments facilitates electrical engineers in crafting the most satisfactory solutions.

Moreover:

Commercial awareness can help you interact with and persuade several stakeholders and investors that the project is viable and worth pursuing.

Electrical engineers having this skill can also effectively collaborate with persons who lack technical knowledge, like financiers who are mainly focused on the economic growth of a business.

4. Adaptability to emerging technologies

Several electrical engineering jobs have specific responsibilities that you must fulfill. Unpredictable events may present new problems and challenges that you must overcome and complete swiftly. You may deal with projects requiring frequent revisions or updates and knowledge of the latest techniques and technologies.

You can quickly progress in your career in electrical engineering if you’re adaptable to evolving technologies. You can readily adjust to the changing working conditions while maintaining a positive attitude.

5. Verbal and written communication skills

Electrical engineers who desire to push ranks must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills. These skills will help them assign duties, discuss tasks and objectives, keep staff on track, and finish the project smoothly and successfully.

Electrical engineers with these skills may also clearly convey their demands and goals to upper-level decision-makers who may have inadequate technical knowledge of electrical products and machines.

In addition, solid communication skills enable electrical engineers to create documentation, give presentations, discuss ideas fluently with other experts, address complaints, and assist workers and non-technical personnel in understanding engineering designs in layman’s terms.

Conclusion

A career in electrical engineering is rich in opportunities, enabling employees to engage in important projects in many sectors. Electrically powered devices, automobiles, and hardware will keep evolving and enhancing, thanks to the efforts of electrical engineers.

If you are looking to upgrade your skills for better job prospects, we can bet our bottom dollar that you can take your career to the next level by following the career tips for electrical engineers discussed in this article. If you are interested in knowing what you can do with an electrical engineering degree, consider reading this blog.

wasim-smal
Wasim Asghar – P.E, P.ENG, M.ENG

Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.