What does an Electrical Engineer do?

What is it/what do they do?

In a way, there isn’t a single definition for what an Electrical Engineer does, because the possibilities are so varied.

Anything which requires energy needs someone to design and develop the systems to make it work, then maintain and fix things when they break.

This can range from designing a new device through to designing the layout of a power grid.

The main industries Brunel works in, like Oil & Gas, Mining, Automotive and Renewable Energy, all rely heavily on skilled engineers to design, manufacture, install and maintain electrical equipment.

You could fix a wind turbine offshore in the North Sea, work at an oil refinery in the North African desert, or be part of a global design team which develops the next generation of mining equipment, there really is no limit on the variety of jobs available.

What qualifications are needed?

Either a degree or a work-based training development such as an apprenticeship

Industry bodies can provide additional certifications, with Chartership being the ultimate seal of approval.

How to become an electrical engineer?

There are 2 main routes to becoming an electrical engineer, both offering something different in terms of the way you develop your skills.

  1. Become an apprentice

     

    An apprentice learns on the job, working alongside an experienced engineer and being taught how to do things in a practical way. Often described as “on the tools” or “hands-on”, engineers who came through the apprentice route have a very strong understanding of the physical workings of the equipment and components.

     

  2. Go to university, get a degree then join a graduate program

 

Graduates tend to lean towards a theoretical knowledge base, with design principles being a key component of most degree courses. Having a degree can mean a quicker progression towards Chartership if you get a job with a company which offers a mentoring scheme, and many engineering consultancies have specific graduate programs which offer career progression.

What salary you’ll make as an electrical engineer

The salaries on offer to an electrical engineer vary as widely as the industries you can work in.

Typically a graduate engineer working for a Consultancy or engineering contractor would expect to be making between £25,000 and £30,000.

As you progress and gain experience, your earning potential can rise significantly. It is not uncommon for Chartered electrical engineers to make £65,000 per annum, or in excess of £40 per hour if you choose to work as an independent contractor.

For some industries where the job may entail working in remote or harsh conditions, the day rates can go over £500.

What jobs are there?

Electrical engineers can and do work in a very wide range of industries and jobs.

You can work for manufacturers, contractors, consultancies, even space agencies.

With so many areas you could specialise in, such as robotics, automation, control systems or instrumentation, once you decide to pursue a career in electronics or electrical engineering you’re only limited by your own imagination.

Check our international electrical engineer jobs

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