Electronics engineers are the brains behind digital broadcasting and communications systems, global positioning systems, portable music players and other pieces of electronic equipment. If you are an innovative thinker with excellent problem-solving skills, you can pursue a successful career in electronics engineering.
1. What Do Electronics Engineers Do?
Their duties include:
- Developing designs for various pieces of electronic equipment for industrial, commercial, scientific or military use
- Designing circuits for this equipment
- Analyzing user/consumer feedback and making modifications to existing electronic equipment
- Supervising the installation, or providing technical assistance during the installation of electronic systems or equipment
- Inspecting newly-manufactured electronic equipment to ensure adherence to quality standards
- Staying abreast of regulatory changes in the electronic engineering field
- Supervising electronics engineering technicians.
2. Work Environment
Electronics engineers typically work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. They work indoors in offices or laboratories where they design and build electronic products. Occasionally, they can visit client sites to supervise installations. For instance, they can visit the telecommunication sites of media houses to supervise the installation of broadcast equipment.
According to Payscale, electronics engineers earn an average annual salary of $72,155.
4. Entry Requirements
To become an electronics engineer, you must have an in-depth knowledge of microprocessor applications, electronic device applications, computer programming, digital systems, electric circuits, semiconductor devices, communication systems and circuit analysis. The best way to acquire this knowledge is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering or electronics engineering technology.
Some of the best schools for these programs include:
- University of Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts
- California State University Long Beach, California
You can also get started with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, as long it offers substantial coursework in electronics engineering.
Upon graduation, complete the Fundamentals of Engineering exam to qualify as an Engineer Intern. This credential will not only prove that you possess what it takes to become a professional engineer, but also increases your ability to attract employers.
5. Important Qualities
To be a competent electronics engineer, you need:
- An aptitude for technical activities
- Excellent problem-solving skills
- The ability to think creatively
- An aptitude for innovation
- Strong analytical skills
- Strong computer skills
- Good eye-hand coordination
- Dexterity skills
- Math skills
- Teamwork skills
- The ability to concentrate for long periods of time
- Good communication skills
- Good research skills
- Presentation skills.
6. Career Development
After landing your first job as an electronics engineer, undertake the following activities to improve your competence and enhance your career progression prospects:
- Obtain the Professional Engineer license from your state’s board of engineering – This requires at least four years of engineering experience. You must also pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.
- Secure membership in the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – You will be able to access industry newsletters, seminars, training workshops and other professional development resources
- Pursue a master’s degree in electronics engineering, like the one offered in Norfolk State University. You can also go for a masters in engineering management.
7. Job Opportunities
The employers of electronics engineers include:
- Engineering firms
- Manufacturers of electronics equipment
- Telecommunication companies (media house, telephone carriers etc.)
- Local authorities
With vast experience, a Professional Engineer license and an advanced degree, you can advance to become a lead electronics engineer or engineering manager.
Finally, the Occupational Information Network projects that there will be about 35,000 new jobs for electronics engineers through 2022.
So if you love finding out how things work, and you fancy an engineering career, then you could become a successful electronics engineer.