What Does an Electrical Engineer Do: Complete Guide

Electrical engineers solve problems by using their knowledge of circuits and electronics and their passion for building systems and solutions to make different aspects of everyday life more efficient. They understand and work with electricity and electromagnetism, electronics, telecommunications, and signal processing.

It deals with the design, construction and maintenance of control systems, machinery and equipment. Some electrical engineering issues also have to do with civil engineering.

Electrical engineering also often includes electronic engineering. The first focuses on the large-scale production and distribution of electrical power, while the second deals with smaller electronic circuits, such as those in computers and other modern technologies.

What Does an Electrical Engineer Do?

  • Plan, prepare and execute projects and works in the various stages of installation, operation, generation, transmission, transformation, distribution, use, maintenance and energy development.
  • Be in charge of studies, projects, designs and execution of industrial, residential and public lighting installations.
  • Energy and mines, transport and communications sector.
  • Electric companies or hydroelectric plants.
  • Teaching and scientific research.

An electrical engineer needs to have excellent technical knowledge and the ability to operate the equipment. Business knowledge is also important. The role can also include many trips and visits for meetings and inspections to ensure that the systems meet all standards. Supervision of electrical maintenance is also part of their duties.

How Can You Become an Electrical Engineer?

If you have already finished high school or have even graduated from a polytechnic school, you can follow this path or a similar one to become an electrical engineer.

Earn a bachelor’s or higher degree

To find your first job as an electrical engineer, you must have a bachelor’s degree in this discipline, issued by an institution accredited by the College of Engineers in your country. You may even take the FE test during your undergraduate education, which would help your electrical engineering career even more.

You usually learn digital systems design, electrical circuit theory, and differential equations during this career, among other courses.

Electrical engineering students learn in classrooms, in laboratories, and practical fieldwork. Electrical engineering students can combine a bachelor’s and a master’s degree with a five-year study program.

Take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam

In almost all countries, for electrical engineers to work in the utility field, they must pass an exam that confirms that they know the fundamentals of engineering. You can easily ace this test by taking a FE prep course.

To qualify for the license, the applicant must have completed a degree from an engineering program accredited by the appropriate organization in the country and obtain a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

Get an entrance job

Internships are of utmost importance for engineering students because they provide the first connections to landing an entry job. During the early years, engineers need to land a job that, while not their dream job, provides them with the experience they need to grow in their field.

Getting to work right away from the bachelor’s degree helps professionals keep up with emerging technologies and evolve with their careers. Earn as much experience as you can in the early years. It doesn’t matter if it’s not very well paid.

Take a professional engineer exam

In several countries worldwide, engineers are required to take constant tests to know that they are up to date with the evolution of electrical engineering.

Although not entirely necessary, after working in the field for four years and meeting other criteria, the individual can earn a Professional Engineer license, further expanding their career in the future.

Within electrical engineering, there are many possible paths that you can follow, so think about it well or consider the variants during the race so that you specialize in a field that meets all your expectations.

Not including the years required to earn a high school diploma, a person interested in working in this field can do so within three to four years (the time it takes to finish an engineering degree).

However, the pursuit of additional education and licensing as a professional engineer can take much longer, depending on specific circumstances.

Essential Skills for Electrical Engineers

Electronic

Skills in analog electronics with the ability to analyze, design and implement circuits implementing electronic components and their associated usual topologies. Broad knowledge of the main active and passive electronic components, their principles, their characteristics and ability to implement them in electrical systems in the broad sense. Ability to implement semiconductor devices operating in switching regimes at various current and voltage scales. Ability to define, design and implement the best topologies. Ability to analyze, design and implement systems implementing programmed analog or digital electronic functions. Mastery of simulation and design software for electronic diagrams and circuits.

Telecommunication

Competence in telecommunications with the ability to analyze, model, design, and implement a wired or microwave link, including hardware and software aspects. Knowledge and ability to implement the main electronic components and systems for amplification, modulation, demodulation, coding, decoding and transmission of a radio signal. Ability to implement modeling software for antennas and radiofrequency components. Knowledge of and ability to set up the main computer networks and connect or communicate an electrical system.

Automatic – Instrumentation and control

Automatic skills in basic methods for the analysis, design, simulation, control and diagnosis of dynamic systems continuously. Ability to model a multi-physics system integrating actuator sensors and their controls. Ability to choose and implement the best control strategy with digital or analog systems. Ability to define and optimize the order in terms of precision, speed, stability, robustness, etc. Ability to analyze, design, implement logic systems made up of discrete electronic components, specific electronic circuits, programmable electronic components, PLCs (Industrial Programmable Controllers) and their programming tools. Ability to analyze,

Industrial and Embedded Computing

Proficiency in the use, analysis, design and implementation of advanced programming languages ​​such as C / C ++, Java, etc. Competence in algorithms and the definition of data and software structures. Competence in the porting of complex programmed functions in embedded industrial electronic systems, from microcontrollers to systems integrating complex operating systems. Skills in industrial computing with the ability to design, build and implement embedded systems, systems for industrial process control and production management.

There are plenty of additional high-demand skills for electrical engineers that you may acquire to help yourself stand out in the employment market.

Where Can Electrical Engineers Find Jobs?

The Electrical Engineer often works in a construction company and rarely freelance. It can be in the pay of individuals, companies, companies that supply energy, railway companies, etc.

Electrical engineers are in high demand in most centers of major Canadian cities. As a result, electrical engineers can earn an entry salary of over $70,000 in most Canadian markets. The only exception is Quebec City, where entry salaries for electrical engineers are significantly lower. 

With experience under your belt, your salary can increase up to $90,000. Western Canada is particularly in demand for experienced engineers, and you will find attractive salaries there.

With increasing technological developments related to computer and electronic products, employment prospects for electrical engineers are very promising in Canada.

In addition, electrical engineering is a field in which experience and credentials acquired abroad are welcomed. Electrical engineers can then progress to supervisory or management roles in their area of expertise. Here’s a roundup of some job roles you can opt for as an electrical engineer:

Controls Engineer: They have responsibilities around developing the key equipment used in manufacturing components and products.

Average salary: $60,644 per year

Project Engineer: They have a managerial role mostly, where they supervise, coordinate with teams, and oversee engineering projects.

Average salary: $77,686 per year

Test Engineer: Test engineering is mainly responsible for conducting tests, monitoring findings, and presenting reports based on test results.

Average salary: $82,745 per year

Design Engineer: A design engineer must be skilled in Computer-Aided Software (CAD) to develop products and systems.

Average salary: $86,519 per year

Electrical Engineer: This role requires a professional to be an expert in developing and designing components used in manufacturing systems or devices.

Average salary: $95,068 per year

Systems Engineer: A professional responsible for ensuring every system is working at optimal levels with maximum efficiency. 

Average salary: $99,446 per year

Frequently Asked Questions

What do electrical engineers do daily?

Electrical engineers have diverse responsibilities based on their job roles in systems, designing, development, and overseeing projects.

Do electrical engineers get paid well?

Since technology is advancing rapidly, skilled and experienced engineers continue to be paid well.

How stressful is electrical engineering?

It largely depends on the job role, organization, and the task at hand but engineering, more or less, can be a stressful job because there is usually a lot at stake.

How much does electricity make in an hour?

Engineers’ hourly salaries depend on many factors, including projects, regions, and organizations. But it is understood that electrical engineers make a neat amount on an hourly basis.

Are electrical engineers in demand?

Electrical engineers are more in demand than ever due to digitization. In addition, the promotion and rapid use of electric cars has also pushed the demand for electrical engineers.