Electrical engineering is a diverse field that gives you the chance to work in a variety of rewarding, high-paying roles. An entry-level electrical engineer’s salary averages at approximately $95,111 per year. Equipped with a diverse skill set, an electrical engineer can work in various industries ranging from research and development and telecommunications to manufacturing services.
Do you like tinkering with electrical equipment or managing navigation systems, and earning top dollars while doing it? Are you considering becoming an electrical engineer and wonder what types of jobs you could land? If so, keep reading as we walk you through the best jobs for electrical engineers.
What Is an Electrical Engineer?
An electrical engineer is someone who designs, configures, installs, and maintains electrical components in transportation systems, control systems, and electric power generation systems. Electrical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines, and people trained in it can work in computer software engineering, aerospace engineering, hardware manufacturing, and mechanical engineering.
What Jobs Are Available to Electrical Engineers?
There are many opportunities for electrical engineers according to their skills, interests, and career goals. Computer engineering, systems engineering, power engineering, telecommunications, radio-frequency engineering, and hardware engineering are all specializations that fall under the Electrical Engineering umbrella.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical and electronics engineers often find employment in private research and development industries and engineering services firms. Some work for the federal government, mainly under the military and the transportation bureau.
Electrical engineers are versatile and can work with various electrical systems and electronic devices depending on their chosen specialization. They can work on radar and navigation systems, broadcast and communications systems, power generation equipment, and electrical equipment like electric motors.
Some industries that hire electrical engineers are automotive, marine, railroad, aerospace, defense, consumer electronics, commercial construction, computers and components, telecommunications, and traffic control. Electrical engineers can also work in different government institutions and departments.
Companies That Hire Electrical Engineers
There are a lot of companies in different industries that hire electrical engineers in various positions. Below are five companies that employ a large number of electrical engineers every year. These companies offer above-median wages, attractive bonuses, and competitive benefits packages.
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- International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). This world-renowned technology corporation globally hires computer hardware engineers and software engineers by the load. Apart from job growth and excellent skill development, IBM offers great salaries and compensation packages. The average salary for an IBM engineer is around $100,831.
- Rockwell Automation (ROK). This company is a pioneer in industrial and commercial automation products and information systems. It employs software engineers, product engineers, and other engineering majors for its information outlets, software applications, and automation components. Its estimated electrical engineer’s median salary is $123,056.
- Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS). This is the 2nd largest defense company globally, with a significant presence in fixed-wing strikes, weapons, and integrated missile system markets. It hires aeronautical engineers and electrical aerospace engineers, among others. The average salary for its engineers is roughly $137,000.
- CGI Group. This is one of the largest IT and business consulting services companies worldwide. New electrical engineering graduates are welcome to apply. Apart from its engineers’ average annual wage of $114,521, it offers incentive programs such as Share Purchase Plan and Profit Participation Plan.
- Nikola Corporation. This is a pioneer manufacturer of zero-emission trucks and heavy-duty commercial battery-electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles. Aside from mechanical engineering jobs, it also hires electrical controls engineers for its electronic equipment and control system. Its entry-level engineers’ average pay is $102,296.
10 Highest-Paying Jobs for Electrical Engineers*
|Job Title||Average Salary||Top 10% Salary|
|Computer Hardware Engineer||$139,015||$192,110.00|
|Machine Learning Engineer||$131,001||$147,452.00|
|Digital Signal Processing Engineer||$104,575||$134,000.00|
|Hardware Design Engineer||$102,982||$142,000.00|
|Electronics Design Engineer||$93,488||$126,000.00|
It’s essential to understand the demand of various job market sectors to help you check and plan your possible career paths. Salary ranges vary depending on several factors like levels of education, certifications, specialized skills, and practical experience. Below is the breakdown of the ten highest-paying jobs you can get as an electrical engineer.
1. Machine Learning Engineer
One of the top-earning electrical engineering career paths is in the specialized field of machine learning engineering. To become one, you’ll need an advanced degree in computer science, math, statistics, or a master’s degree in machine learning, neural networks, or other related fields.
A machine learning (ML) engineer conceptualizes, builds, and designs automated predictive models with self-running artificial intelligence (AI) systems. ML engineers construct machine learning and AI systems for data scientists working on statistical and model-builds. A machine learning engineer’s common skills are advanced math and statistical skills, coding, and programming languages, including Python, Java, C++, and R.
2. Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer hardware engineers create computer systems and components. This includes doing research, working on designs, and then developing and testing their creations, which can include processors, circuit boards, routers, and memory devices.
Some of the products that benefit from a hardware engineer’s output are new automobiles, home appliances, and medical diagnostic devices. These have Internet-ready computer systems built into them. Computer hardware engineers in San Jose, CA, earn an average salary of $130,561 per year.
3. Software Engineer
A software engineer uses advanced math skills and computer science principles to design and develop applications and computer systems software. Software engineers are sought out in a variety of industries to develop operating systems, network control systems, business applications, and even computer games.
This specialist needs extensive programming languages, software development, and computer operating systems. With a top-end salary of roughly $160,000, the software engineer career path is number three on this list.
4. Applications Engineer
An applications engineer supports the design and development process in turning a software concept into reality using technical standpoints to help product advancement. They conduct applications and software testing to drive modification and improvement.
Applications engineers need to learn source codes such as HTML to remove unnecessary codes and components. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for an applications engineer is $106,890.
5. Hardware Design Engineer
Hardware design engineers create and develop electronic components such as circuit boards and processors for computers and other electronic devices to meet customers’ needs. This specialist needs to know firmware languages like C++, VHDL, and Verilog to program and debug hardware components.
To secure this engineering position, you need a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering or design engineering. The average base pay for a hardware design engineer is $102,982.
6. Production Engineer
Production engineers oversee and improve the production of manufacturing plants and factories by drafting safety protocols and developing strategies to increase machine efficiency and profits. They enforce strict observation of all health and safety codes, ensure that trained workers use the machines correctly, and identify any issues in a production line.
Production engineers need a working knowledge of CAD software, a degree in engineering, and a professional license. These specialists earn as much as $173,000.
7. Electronics Design Engineer
Electronics design engineers create, develop, and produce new cutting-edge electronic equipment. They evaluate, maintain, and improve electronic devices and systems, such as portable music players, Global Positioning Systems devices, satellites, broadcast, aviation, and communication systems.
Electronics design engineers must have a bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program. Engineers of this specialization earn an average base pay of $93,488, with the top 10% earning as much as $126,000.
8. Systems Engineer
System engineering is a field between engineering and engineering management. A systems engineer uses software engineering and advanced math concepts to design, implement, and manage computer systems, servers, and other electrical hardware. The goal is to increase workplace productivity.
One of the requirements is a bachelor’s degree majoring in digital systems design. Still, a graduate degree in computer science, software engineering, or any related engineering field is advantageous. This specialist earns an average annual wage of $92,380.
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9. Digital Signal Processing Engineer
Digital signal processing, or DSP, engineers install, support, and convert digital signals for videos, audio, and pressure. They also design hardware, such as microprocessors and controllers. DSP engineers work in telecommunications, the space domain, and medical imaging, to name a few.
They need to be knowledgeable in MatLab, proficient in programming languages such as Python and GNU Octave. The median wage for a DSP Engineer is roughly $89,459, with an entry-level salary of $78,412. In contrast, a tenured engineer gets an average compensation of $151,269.
10. Communication Engineer
The work of a communications engineer revolves around communications equipment and systems, which they help design, create, test, and set up. It is a specialized major within electronic communications engineering. The top industries where communications engineers can work are Internet and computing technologies, radio, networking, and telecommunications.
Apart from a bachelor’s degree, you must have strong technical skills and learn new technologies continuously. A communication engineer’s average pay is $88,878, with the pay range approximately falling between $81,368 and $98,324.
Tips for Finding Success as an Electrical Engineer
Finding success as an electrical engineer can be challenging. Below are five tips to help you thrive in your chosen career.
- Get a degree from an educational institute that offers ABET-accredited engineering programs. The level of education needed to become a professional engineer is a bachelor’s or an associate degree in one of the electrical engineering majors.
- Obtain a postgraduate degree. If you want to advance in senior engineers’ positions, you’ll need a master’s or doctoral degree in a relevant field. Ensure it has accreditation from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). This accreditation will help you become an incorporated engineer (IEng) or chartered engineer (CEng) later in your career.
- Pursue additional training in advanced math and other related fields. Suppose you want career growth as a licensed engineer. In that case, you have to update your digital technology knowledge and keep up with new electrical engineering concepts.
- Gain practical experience. One of the easiest ways of gaining relevant work experience is on-the-job training. Under the guidance of an experienced engineer, you’ll get to use the necessary tools and equipment for the job. As you gain more work experience, your chances of getting a promotion also increase.
- Enhance your communication skills. Another tip for succeeding in your chosen field is working on your communication skills. This will help you present your ideas clearly and answer any questions regarding your project proposals, and build better relationships with the people you work with.
Jobs for Electrical Engineer Outlook
There is a positive outlook for electrical engineering jobs in the coming years. The forecast shows that there’ll be a production of around 193,100 job opportunities annually for electrical engineers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical engineering is projected to grow by seven percent between 2020 and 2030.
This growth is due to the rapid pace of technological innovation and advancement. Electrical engineers are in high demand to plan new developments for consumer electronic devices, communications technologies, and electrical systems.
Best Jobs for Electrical Engineer FAQ
An electrical engineer needs several critical skills aside from a firm understanding of electrical engineering concepts and a background in math to do detailed calculations. These skills include computer proficiency, problem-solving, firmware know-how, statistical analysis, and effective communication skills.
Absolutely! Software and electronic design work together. Coding is essential in electrical simulations, hardware configuration, and industrial automation. These steps need Python, C++, MatLab, and other programming codes.
Yes, many people regard electrical engineering and all types of engineering majors as a complex discipline. The most common reason is the number of math and physics subjects plus the amount of abstract thinking involved. If you like solving complicated problems, then engineering might be for you.
Electrical engineers use computer-aided engineering (CAE) software. One of the best and most frequently used software by an electrical engineer is MATLAB. It is a programming and numeric computing platform used to analyze data, develop algorithms, and create models. For circuit simulation, they use Proteus, TINA, and Pspice, among others.
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