Jobs and Salaries
Typical Electrical Engineering Jobs
The following are typical jobs for an electrical engineer. This is a small random sample of typical jobs rather than a complete list.
- Power Plant Designer - Some electrical engineers make a career out of designing new power plants for generating electricity.
- Power System Design Engineer - This could be an engineer who designs the electrical power distribution system for a company.
- Substation Engineer - This is an engineer who specializes in the construction and maintenance of high voltage electrical substations.
- Power Electronics Designer - This is an engineer who specializes in the design of electronic circuitry that controls high power motors or other equipment, or that is used in the power grid. Electric cars use power electronics. Power electronics is also important in windmill design.
- Digital Designer (Board Level) - A board level digital designer designs digital electronic equipment. He or she designs the printed circuit boards inside all manner of digital devices, and the circuitry that goes on the boards. Most such designers work in teams.
- Integrated Circuit Designer - An integrated circuit designer designs the circuitry on integrated circuit chips, and the layout of the circuitry on the chips. Most such designers work in teams.
- Integrated Circuit Test Engineer - An I.C. test engineer designs tests for integrated circuits. This is an essential occupation because manufacturing defects cause a substantial percentage of newly manufactured integrated circuit chips to be faulty.
- Mixed Signal I.C. Designer - This is an integrated circuit designer who specializes in the design of mixed analog/digital circuitry. This is circuitry that has both analog & digital components on the same chip.
- Process Engineer - Some process engineers design the physical and chemical processes used in manufacturing integrated circuit chips. Other process engineers maintain the equipment used in integrated circuit fabrication lines and keep the fabrication lines working.
- Device Engineer - A device engineer makes measurements on semiconductor devices and on the processes that produce them. The goal is to fix problems or weaknesses in the process.
- Design Automation Software Engineer - This is an engineer who designs the software tools that electrical engineers use to help them design complex circuitry. Knowledge of both electrical engineering and computer engineering is required.
- Embedded Systems Design Engineer - Designs microcomputer-based systems that are embedded in larger systems to accomplish a task. Examples include a system that would be the brains of the autopilot of an airplane, or control the path adjustment of a satellite.
- Digital Signal Processing Engineer - Designs systems using DSP chips that analyze or change analog or digital signals. Examples include the generation of an HDTV signal, or the design of a system to encrypt message transmissions.
- Maintenance/Electrical Supervisor - This would be an engineer who supervises the personnel who are maintaining the electronic systems in a manufacturing plant.
- Analog Circuit Designer - This is an engineer who specializes in the design of the analog circuitry for some class of application. An example would be the design of high speed drivers and receivers for communications links.
- Engineering Manager - An engineering manager manages teams of other engineers. Many managers also spend a lot of their time interacting with other companies that sell or design equipment that is used by the manager's company, or interacting with the company's industrial customers.
- System Designer - Designer of an entire system. A system designer supervises the design of a complete electronic system of some sort. A system could be as large as a television set or the electronics system of an aircraft, or it could be as small as a single complex integrated circuit chip.
- Manufacturing Engineer - A manufacturing engineer specializes in the design and maintenance of assembly and manufacturing processes for electronics. An example would be an engineer who sets up automated equipment for placing the components onto a printed circuit board and soldering them.
- Customer Support Engineer - Answers technical questions and solves problems for a company's industrial customers. May involve travel.
- Packaging Engineer - Makes all of the critical decisions on how a collection of electronic components becomes an electronic system. He or she determines what kind and complexity of circuit board is needed, how much room the components will occupy, how the heat will be removed from the system, and which package and power technologies to use.
- Signal Integrity Engineer - Analyzes the performance of the wiring that connects the integrated circuit chips in a package or on a printed circuit board, and makes improvements in the wiring when necessary. He or she insures that signals are not corrupted passing through the wiring.
- Designer of Image Sensor Arrays - A designer of the arrays of photosensors that are used in a camera or video camera. The sensors may use nanostructures.
Electrical Engineering Salaries
The following table shows the distribution of incomes among electrical engineers for May 2014. This data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The table indicates, for example, that 90% of electrical engineers make less than $143,200 per year, and that the remaining 10% earn more than this amount. The table refers to salaries of all electrical engineers in May 2014, not just to starting salaries.
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