Electronic Engineer Job Description
Electronic engineering is a very broad field of engineering that covers a number of subfields. It is a subfield itself within the broader field of electrical engineering, and is divided into its own subfields, which include signal processing, instrumentation, telecommunications engineering, and control engineering.
In the broadest sense, electronic engineers apply their knowledge of electrons and use electrical components to design electronic systems, devices, and circuits. Their jobs can include creating any kind of equipment or system that uses electricity as a power source. Electronic engineers develop and test systems and precision components and optimize the way electricity is used to power and control equipment. They usually implement algorithms and applications developed within any of the related engineering fields, for instance telecommunications, signal processing, robotics, system engineering, and radio engineering.
Electronic engineers design systems that can be applied across a variety of specialized areas, for example in radio communications, mobile phones, robotics, medical instruments, and defence.
Aside from having a good understanding of electronics, electromagnetics, network analysis, and IT, as well as excellent overall technical knowledge, electronic engineers must have be familiar with safety regulations and relevant legislation. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are a must, and commercial awareness is always an asset.
Interpersonal and team skills are important, as electronic engineers usually work in cross-functional teams that include professionals from other fields of engineering. Communication and people skills are also a huge asset because electronic engineers usually present proposals to clients, attend meetings with subcontractors, and oversee technicians and other team members on a project. Project management, organizational and leadership skills are essential for career success, especially as engineers move up the ladder to senior roles.
Electronic engineers usually have honours degrees in electrical or electronic engineering or any of the related fields: computer engineering, production or manufacturing engineering, communications engineering, computer science, mathematics or physics. Electronic engineering jobs do not always require pre-entry work experience, but most employers will at the very least see it as a strong asset. Having even just vacation placements on the resume can be very useful when applying for jobs early in one's career.
Electronic engineers usually work to obtain professional qualifications. For the status of incorporated engineer (IEng), they need a bachelor's degree accredited by a relevant professional body or an accredited HND or HNC, with further learning to bachelor's degree level.
For the status of chartered engineer, electronic engineers need an accredited Master of Engineering (MEng) degree, or a bachelor's degree with honours with further training to master's degree level.
Electronic engineers can also pursue postgraduate studies and earn degrees such as a Master of Science (MSc) or Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD).
The relevant professional bodies for the electronic engineering profession are the Engineering Council and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Electronic engineers who apply for a job in a security-related field must have a clean record and, in some cases, they may need to pass security clearance depending on the job and the employer.
Electronic engineers are usually involved in a project from the concept stage to production and installation. They design and develop products, create and test prototypes, and see projects through to the implementation stage.