The work of an electrical engineer involves developing, designing, testing and supervising the manufacturing of electrical devices and equipment. This includes navigation systems, electric motors and power generation equipment. The life of an engineer is demanding and requires a university education with one of the highest dropout rates. If you are interested in being an electrical engineer, here are the top 10 skills that you will need.
See Also: How to Become an Electrical Engineer
1. Critical Thinking
Engineers are problem solvers. As an electrical engineer, you are often required to think logically. You need to analyse strengths and weaknesses and offer alternative solutions, approaches and conclusions to problems. Critical thinking helps to ensure everything runs smoothly and systematically.
2. Circuit Design
One of the most basic skills you will need. If you don’t have a deep understanding how circuits work how can you possibly hope to fix or design them. It is really the first part of your training in how electronics work. If you can’t master this then you won’t be able to finish university.
3. Instrumentation and Electrical Measurements
You need to be able to read and manipulate electrical instruments expertly as this will be a big part of your job. Testing electrical currents and how different components react to one another is a critical part of both repairing old devices and creating new ones. Too little electrical current and a circuit might not work, too much and it could explode, catch fire or melt.
4. Active Learning
Having a degree is not the end of the road for an engineer. This is just the beginning of your journey of active learning. You are required to be up to date with the latest information at all times. Often, you will find yourself seeking more knowledge to meet the growing demands of this career. The ability to learn new skills fast is valued by every employer.
5. Interpersonal Communication
Having knowledge of electrical engineering is one thing, its application is another. To be a valuable employee, you need to know how to relate to other people. It is important to know how to work in a team and how to relate to clients to help solve problems. This is a quality that every employer values.
6. Organizational Skills
You will often find yourself in situations that require you to prioritise, manage time and plan projects. If you have poor organisational skills, you may find yourself under pressure at all times. To avoid this, you need to have a knack for organisation.
7. Complex Problem Solving
You will probably face complex engineering problems at work. Consequently, you need complex problem-solving skills to identify such problems and evaluate related information to develop and assess options that will offer appropriate solutions. You also need the skills to design electrical systems to solve complex problems.
8. Mathematics and Physics
The practical application of engineering knowledge requires you to be good with figures. Mathematics and physics problems do not end in class. You have to use these skills consistently and continuously improve them.
9. Innovative Thinking
Having skills in class and not using them to come up with new ideas is considered obsolete. As an electrical engineer, you have to use your skills effectively at all times. Always think out of the box and be on the lookout to come up with better ways of doing things.
10. Programming Languages
Coding is an essential skill for electrical engineers as many of the projects that you work on will require programming to work and design. At the very least you will need to have an excellent understanding of C/C++ for low level embedded systems and MATLAB for solving equations, analysing data and designing circuits and other projects.
The career of an electrical engineer can be quite demanding. Apart from having basic knowledge, it is mandatory for you to incorporate other skills like systems analysis, judgment and decision-making, leadership, equipment selection and coordination. Some of these skills can be learned in university, and others need to be developed on the job. Stay up to date on the improvements that need to be added to your CV to have a successful career.
Can you think of any other skills that are required for an electrical engineer? Let us know in the comments box below
This article was originally published in April 2015.