The Life of an Electrical Engineer
Setting out to become an electrical engineer can take many different paths. Some people start out with the goal of becoming a scientist. After taking engineering course work in college, BSEE and MSEE degrees can lead to exciting and rewarding work. Here are ways that individuals can prepare for and enjoy a career in electrical engineering.
Learning engineering in college can be hard work, spanning four years. One of the potential stepping stones to success is participation in the Air Force ROTC scholarship program in which students learn drills and what goes on in the military. The scholarship can give students the background they need to become an electrical engineer.
Student apprenticeship programs that award college credit are common ways to enter the field. It’s possible to do undergraduate work at a big company such as GE while working toward a degree. After receiving a bachelor’s degree, many students aim for a master’s degree in a specialized engineering field. An engineering degree is required to become an electrical engineer and can be the ticket to a lifetime of steady employment.
One of the keys to accelerating an education in electrical engineering is to learn the global standards used by the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Understanding the organization’s vision to improve global conditions and attending seminars can provide valuable lessons.
Job Opportunities for Electrical Engineers
Many electrical engineering graduates find work with a local utility company. It helps to get experience through a program such as the AFROTC. Visiting the career center and arranging interviews with college recruiters are helpful steps in pursuing engineering jobs. The key to getting this work is having the ability to solve electrical problems in a timely manner. Being able to face and solve new problems is just as essential.
Working with a Mentor
One way to gain vast amounts of knowledge about electrical engineering is to work with a mentor who has years of experience. While some students have mentors assigned to them at companies, it’s possible to gain more in-depth knowledge from chosen mentors who give helpful advice on a wide range of engineering scenarios. Since there are an infinite number of potential electrical issues, it’s advantageous to learn about as many scenarios as possible from engineers who have many unique experiences to share.
Technology companies of various industries offer design opportunities. Design can include work on life support systems, amusement park rides and expanding satellite communications for mobile phone users. It can also involve an evaluation of manufacturing techniques. Plenty of mathematical knowledge and problem solving is needed to gain a position in project management of an engineering project.
Electrical engineers tend to work in teams, although there is still plenty of work that can be done as an individual. Communication is very important when working on a team project, so an engineer must be very clear when describing problems. Team situations help strengthen the quality of a business, since it allows workers to constantly gain new knowledge on the job. In order to become a project leader, an engineer must have strong technical skills and leadership ability.
Having a good paying job is just one goal of a forward-thinking electrical engineer who wants to make the best of their career. They also strive to help the companies they work for achieve higher efficiency. Some engineers even travel the world to share their knowledge as members of the IEEE Power & Energy Society.
Providing reliable service with a high success rate of resolving problems is the central to the engineer’s mindset. A utility company engineer, for example, can improve a community’s quality of life by helping reduce down time from power outages. In the event of an outage in the United States, an engineer must resolve problems in a matter of minutes.
Balance of Work and Lifestyle
One thing that has remained true for decades is that there is no shortage of work for electrical engineers. The enjoyment level of the work can also add to the number of hours spent solving electrical issues. On the other hand, an engineer can earn an income level to the point of having the luxury to decide on taking multiple vacations throughout the year.
Spending time with friends and family is an option for well paid engineers. Since many engineers enjoy their work, they do not experience the type of stress the common person may feel at a corporate job. Electrical engineering is the type of job that fuels one’s energy and ambitions.
The Need for Engineers
Demand remains strong for experienced electrical engineers. They are needed by power companies who serve thousands of customers. As old grids need to be replaced by more modern systems, electrical engineers have plenty of job opportunities in the future. At the moment the power industry is experiencing a high volume of retirees who need to be replaced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a steady job outlook.
Many companies, according to Columbia University, hire on an “as needed” basis. Jobs can be found visiting university job fairs and association websites. Teaching jobs are also needed to help usher in the next generation of electrical engineers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes the work of electrical engineers as people who design, develop, test and supervise equipment manufacturing. They can work in research and development, manufacturing and telecommunications. Work can be found indoors with utility companies and the government. The most active engineers can make close to six figures. States that pay the highest salaries are California, Texas and New York.
Electrical engineer Cheri Warren advises engineering students to learn how to express themselves in writing. When engineers get innovative ideas, they need to sell them to other or the ideas won’t go very far. Debating the pros and cons of these ideas with others helps refine and strengthen a position. She also urges students to have passion for what they do.
To help you expand your technical expertise and acquire the advanced skills important for professional growth in the field of engineering, find out more information about New Jersey Institute of Technologies online master of science in electrical engineering program.