Electrical Engineer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

An Electrical Engineer, or Electronics Engineer, is responsible for developing electrical devices and testing them for safety and efficiency. Their duties include managing the manufacturing process for new electrical equipment, using design software to produce schematics and overseeing the installation process of their designs.

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Electrical Engineer duties and responsibilities

Electrical Engineers have duties and responsibilities that focus on safety, sustainable devices and quality assurance. They design, develop and maintain electrical systems and parts for consumer and business electronics. Electrical Engineers provide support for electrical work in the manufacturing, transport and construction industries. Their duties and responsibilities include:

  • Understanding and implementing designs from technical drawings
  • Interacting with contractors and customers using verbal and written communication
  • Making presentations to clients and coworkers
  • Attending company meetings
  • Creating product documentation and records
  • Preparing cost estimates for customers and other employees
  • Inspecting electrical components during and after the product installation
  • Testing electronics for problems and proposing solutions
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What does an Electrical Engineer do?

Electrical Engineers can work at research facilities, manufacturing companies and utility providers to design appliances, wiring plans, telecommunication devices, power generators and other electrical equipment and systems. Electrical Engineers use their knowledge of math, science and physics to develop reliable products. They meet with clients to determine their needs and research manufacturing processes and technical developments to find possible solutions. Electrical Engineers oversee prototype development, test products for safety and adjust them to meet engineering codes and safety standards. They also create plans for regular inspections and ongoing maintenance to ensure their products stay at peak efficiency.

Electrical Engineer skills and qualifications

An Electrical Engineer’s skills and qualifications include various technical, personal and professional abilities, including:

  • Advanced mathematical skills for calculation of design equations
  • Excellent communication skills to explain technical specifics to peers and customers
  • Writing skills for preparing manuals, parts lists, proposals and design documentation
  • Ability to supervise technicians
  • Focus and concentration to understand complex electrical systems
  • Self-motivation to keep up with current electrical advances using new technologies
  • Using industry-specific tools to analyze and test electronics
  • Time-management skills for meeting deadlines

Electrical Engineer salary expectations

 An Electrical Engineer makes an average of $90,903 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Electrical Engineer education and training requirements

Electrical Engineers need at least a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, though some employers might prefer a master’s degree. Students in electrical engineering programs receive training in fundamentals like drafting, creating blueprints, testing electronics and developing electrical systems. Most Electrical Engineers also complete at least one internship, giving them practical training with a government organization or engineering firm.

Electrical Engineers who want to work with the public need to earn their Professional Engineer license. In order to get this license, they need to work under the supervision of a licensed PE for three years, then pass the Principles & Practice of Engineering exam. 

Electrical Engineer experience requirements

Entry-level Electrical Engineers often have experience from school and internships, so no actual experience is required. Those who need to work on large projects or oversee a team need at least three years of experience and their PE license. 

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Frequently asked questions about Electrical Engineers

 

What is the difference between an Electrical Engineer and an Electrician?

Electrical Engineers design new systems and develop unique ideas to solve client problems using electrical currents and conductivity. Electricians install and update the products that Electrical Engineers create. Both professions have a strong knowledge of electrical safety standards and building codes, but Electricians are more hands-on with the final product while Electrical Engineers work with research and development of new inventions. Electrical Engineers and Electricians can work together to discuss safety protocols and plan access to power systems. Electricians ensure that specific connections and wires are set up according to an Electrical Engineer’s schematics.

 

What are the qualities of a good Electrical Engineer?

Electrical Engineers need to have an extensive knowledge of science and applied mathematics so that they can control and direct electrical currents to achieve different functions. Because they use engineering and modeling software as a regular part of their work process, good Electrical Engineers enjoy working with computers. They should thrive when working as part of a team and be able to give and receive instruction. Electrical Engineers are creative and imaginative, able to use innovative thinking to create customer communication systems, motors, tech tools and generators for their clients.

 

What are the daily duties of an Electrical Engineer?

Electrical Engineers spend their time in a laboratory running tests or work at an office using engineering software to develop blueprints. Because they split their time between developing theoretical concepts and testing real-world products, Electrical Engineers regularly hold meetings with Researchers, Project Managers, Architects, Manufacturers and Data Analysts. They communicate with clients to adjust project expectations, draft proposals and update contracts. Electrical Engineers may operate manufacturing equipment to develop prototypes then run tests to determine their safety. They read industry reports to learn about new regulations and standards.

 

What are the different types of Electrical Engineers?

Electrical Engineers can specialize in many different fields including nuclear engineering, telecommunications, data networking, microelectronics and power engineering. They apply electrical concepts to their specialty to improve electrical systems and technology in that industry. Microelectronics Engineers spend their time designing small-scale circuits and power supplies, while Power Engineers work on large generators and design infrastructure to supply power to residences and businesses.

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