Electrical engineers are highly analytical and creative problem solvers. Electrical engineers, or electrical designers, have invaluable electrical design knowledge and experience that make their profession critical to ensuring electronic systems always remain operational.
In this career, electrical engineers apply the complex physics and math of electronics, electricity, and electromagnetism to conduct root cause analyses, process information and address, or prevent, issues in different sized electrical systems. They work along the entire spectrum of product and system development, from idea to inception, testing and manufacturing, and release and maintenance.
Electronics design engineers are innovators at heart who can design, develop, and test electrical equipment and devices for a range of industries, such as construction, manufacturing, transportation, power generation from traditional and renewable energy sources, robotics, telecommunications, aviation, consulting, and beyond.
In the renewable energy sector, electrical engineers may be responsible for ensuring generators or the smart grids keep functioning. In the transportation sector, electrical engineers could be responsible for managing the signals and lighting to support safe traffic flow. There is no shortage of possibilities for a skilled and motivated electrical engineer!
Common electrical engineer responsibilities
An electrical designer or engineer is responsible for performing a range of important tasks. They often split their time between developing complex theoretical concepts and testing products in reality. Responsibilities and tasks may include:
- Maintaining or improving electrical wiring and circuits, components, instruments, products, or systems;
- Interpreting electrical system specifications and creating technical drawings;
- Innovatively designing complex technical systems that require precise calculations;
- Inspecting, monitoring, testing, detecting, preventing, and solving an array of electrical problems, such as rectifying electrical surges or managing energy efficiency of a product;
- Using engineering software and computer-assisted design software to execute tasks;
- Collaborating with diverse technicians, team members, and customers to discuss and address issues in electrical engineering projects;
- Collecting data or writing reports related to electrical design projects;
- Preparing detailed specifications for the purchase of electrical equipment and materials;
- Ensuring the compliance of engineering outputs with relevant requirements, codes, and certifications, and in line with customer needs and demands;
- Always assuring the safety and security of team members;
- Traveling to inspect electrical systems or devices.
Qualifications for electrical design engineers
Electrical engineers should have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics, Installation Engineering, or a related technical field. In some countries, an engineering license may also be required.
Additional supporting skills and experience include:
- Excellent applied math and design skills;
- Proficiency in using diverse computer operating system hardware & software, and the latest design, modelling, and calculation software;
- Strong verbal and written communication skills to be able to work easily with other technicians and team members like project managers, manufacturers, data analysts and architects;
- Some work experience gained through an apprenticeship or in a relevant role.
An electrical design engineer can progress in this career field by attaining a Master’s degree and developing at least 3 to 4 years of managerial experience. A more senior role includes greater responsibility for project management, supervising, training, planning, strategy development and budget control.
Sources of information