What is an Electronic Engineer?

by Charlie Higgins - Updated September 26, 2017
Electronic engineers work closely with circuits, wires and other electrical components.

Electronic engineers are engineering professionals who specialize in the technology and many applications of electricity. Their job may involve designing and testing new products, improving electrical efficiency in a building, working with telephone and communications systems or monitoring power plant systems. Electronic engineers work in labs, offices, factories, power plants and other similar environments. They need extensive education and training in order to qualify for the job, and many positions require additional certification.

Education And Training

A college degree in engineering is required for most electronic engineering jobs. A bachelor’s degree in engineering typically takes four or five years to complete and often requires students to take elective courses in the humanities in addition to their math and science-based curriculum. While pursuing their undergraduate degree, students learn how to solve all sorts of electronic problems and take courses in areas such as DC circuit analysis, electronic control systems robotics, digital logic and digital signal processing. Upon graduating from college, electronic engineers usually enter an apprenticeship program lasting two years. This gives them the hands-on training they need to become professional engineers. In addition they must pass a series of exams approved by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

Job Description

Job responsibilities of an electronic engineer really depend on the industry the individual works in as well as the exact position. Some electronic engineers work primarily in research and development, conceiving, designing and prototyping new products for electronics companies. Other electronic engineers are more involved in the manufacturing side, overseeing the manufacturing process and managing quality control. Other electronic engineers may focus their careers in education, writing educational materials and teaching. Most electronic engineers work in the private sector, according to StateUniversity.com, though some are employed by the state or federal government.

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Working Conditions

Working conditions for electrical engineers also vary a lot and depend on the job and industry. Some individuals work in noisy factories or power plants, while others spend most of their time on the computer working in offices or even at home. Many electronic engineers work in research laboratories with a team of other engineering professionals. Most engineers work a 40-hour work week, according to StateUniversity.com, though overtime is often necessary when project deadlines are approaching.

Job Outlook and Salary

Electronic engineers generally make a handsome salary and enjoy a range of benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of an electrical engineer was $88,670 as of May 2008. The BLS also reported that there were a total of 301,500 electronic engineers working in 2008 in the U.S. In terms of job outlook, this industry is expected to remain steady with little or no change through 2018. Jobs for individuals working with wireless phone transmitters and giant electric power generators are expected to increase in demand.

About the Author

Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.

Photo Credits

  • electronics image by Benjamin Fontaine from Fotolia.com
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