Electrical engineers throughout their careers can work with a diverse range of industries and have many opportunities for growth. Sometimes electrical engineers have very technical job duties due to which they complete some qualifications before they apply for jobs.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in electrical engineering, there are some steps that you must follow to prepare for your career. Let’s start with what an electrical engineer does.
What does an Electrical Engineer do?
Electrical engineers are individuals who create or design devices that use or produce electricity. Engineers are mostly involved in the entire process throughout the life of the device they have designed, from the stage of conceptualization to the routine maintenance of the device once it is developed.
Moreover, an engineer can also take charge of making improvements to existing and current designs as well as testing new prototypes and evaluating systems.
Their focus is on the technical processes such as performing feasibility studies and cost analyses. Most electrical engineering jobs are based in a lab or office but that does not mean on-site and short-term projects are not common.
Electrical engineers are assigned projects like the installation of wiring and lighting in a building, creating telecommunication systems and developing household appliances. These are some common projects but based on the industry they are working in projects can be complicated as well.
There is a requirement for electrical engineers in every industry which is why some engineers specialize based on the industry and nature of work.
Some of the sub-disciplines of this field are power engineering, signal processing engineering, control engineering, electronics engineering, instrumentation, communications engineering, computers engineering and microelectronics engineering.
How to prepare to become an Electrical Engineer?
The first thing to do in order to prepare to become an electrical engineer is to decide to become one. The above details on what an electrical engineer does would help you decide whether you want to pursue this field as your career or not. The following are the steps to pursue your career in the field of electrical engineering:
- Get at least an Electrical Engineering Bachelor’s degree.
The very first step and most essential step toward becoming an electrical engineer is to obtain an electrical engineering bachelor’s degree from a reputable institution. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, individuals can also obtain a Master’s or Doctoral degree which helps them advance their careers in this field.
When obtaining this degree you must keep in mind that subjects like basic engineering, math, physics, statistics, and computer science would be this field’s common requirements.
- Take the FE Exam.
Once you have obtained the degree, and are looking forward to working in the utility field, the initial thing that you need to do is prepare for and take the FE Electrical exam. It is the Fundamentals of Engineering exam which requires applicants to have an electrical engineering degree from a certified institution.
Once a student has graduated, he or she can take the FE Electrical exam immediately. A student is required to pass this exam in order to receive the title of an engineer intern or engineer-in-training. There are various online courses for preparation for this exam and if you prepare for it you can pass it with a good grade.
- Apply for an Entry-level Position.
As soon as you have obtained your degree and the FE Electrical licensing, you can start the process of applying for jobs. The initial step would be overwhelming yet exciting at the same time. If you are looking to advance your career in electrical engineering there are many ways to do so. You can either advance it through accomplishments and experience or by taking the Professional Engineer exam.
Mostly, a bachelor’s degree should be enough to help you find a decent job in this field as companies often hire freshies and then train and educate them on the advancements of technologies and their need for work. So once you have an entry-level electrical engineering position in a company, it would take some years to gain expertise and polish your skills.
- Take the Professional Engineer Exam
The fourth step is to take the Professional Engineer exam which can be only taken when you have completed at least four years of job experience.
In some states, professional engineers are required to maintain their licenses through persistent education and training. This is for the engineers to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and advancements so that they can be able to solve electrical problems and come up with unique and innovative ideas. The professional engineer exam would enable engineers to qualify for higher-paying jobs that have more complex duties.
What are the skills required for becoming an Electrical Engineer?
Although experience is important for electrical engineers to flourish in their careers, there are also some skills that an electrical engineer must have to be effective in his or her work. These skills include:
- Critical Thinking Skills
An engineer is required to think critically while assessing the weaknesses and strengths of a product.
- Problem-solving Skills
Problem-solving skills enable an engineer to analyze and identify issues so that they can come up with information and tools that can help in providing a solution.
- Organizational Skills
Engineers need to have organizational skills to plan and prioritize projects.
- Communication Skills
Electrical engineers need to collaborate with other professionals so they need to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Although, this is not necessary, but if engineers have this skill then it would make them more efficient in their work.
- Circuit Knowledge
An electrical engineer must have knowledge of circuits as it is essential for repairing and developing electrical devices.
- Creative Thinking
Electrical engineers are expected to think creatively about designing new products and come up with endless electronic solutions.
Preparing to become an electrical engineer may sound easy but it’s not. It requires you to have the determination and desire to become a professional. Hence, once you have obtained a degree and passed the FE Electrical exam, there is no stop to the endless job opportunities waiting for you.