Electrical and electronics engineers (NOC 2133)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Electrical and electronics engineers design, plan, research, review and test electrical and electronic equipment and systems.

Electrical and electronics engineers can work in the public and private sector. People in this career are employed by companies in many different sectors including manufacturing, processing, transportation, electrical utilities and communications. They may work for manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment, consulting firms and government.

Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of an electrical engineer is like.

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Electrical engineer


Common job titles
  • engineer, antenna / satellite
  • engineer, audio
  • engineer, broadcasting professional
  • engineer, circuit design
  • engineer, controls / instrumentation
  • engineer, design - electrical power

Duties

In general, electrical and electronics engineers:

  • Research the feasibility, design, operation and performance of power systems, electrical machinery and electronic communications, instrumentation and control systems, including the individual equipment and components used
  • Prepare project budgets, timing estimates and reports
  • Design specifications for electrical and electronic systems and equipment
  • Design electrical and electronic circuits, components, systems and equipment, such as systems that transmit voice, video and data over copper wires, fibre optics or microwave networks
  • Supervise and inspect the installation, modification, testing and operation of electrical and electronic systems and equipment
  • Develop maintenance and operating standards for electrical and electronic systems and equipment
  • Investigate electrical or electronic failures
  • Prepare contracts and review tenders for construction or maintenance

People in this job may also supervise technicians, technologists, programmers, analysts and other engineers on a project or in a department or company.

In addition, electrical and electronics engineers may specialize in a number of areas including electrical design for residential, commercial or industrial installations, electrical power generation and transmission, and instrumentation and control systems.

People in this career may also be involved in the development of electronics and nanoelectronics, such as solar cells, thin film display, quantum computers, high-speed communications systems, optics and optoelectronics, and medical electronics.

Work environment

Electrical and electronics engineers usually work a standard 40-hour week; however, project deadlines may require them to work longer hours and in some cases at night or on the weekend.

People in this job can work in a variety of settings due to improvements in technology, including a company office or a home office. Some electrical and electronics engineers inspect, oversee and solve on-site problems in laboratories or industrial plants while others do outdoor field work as a part of operational, maintenance or construction activities.

Job hazards vary depending on the situation; however, during field activities there may be a risk of electrical shock from field wiring if safety procedures are not followed.

Insights from industry

Electric, gas, telephone and other utility companies are typical employers in the province of British Columbia that may have an increased need for electrical and electronics engineers in the future. More and more, companies are using consulting and service companies for their engineering needs which means that most employment growth will be in these non-manufacturing firms.

Since most companies looking to hire an engineering firm consider the reputation of the whole firm and not just the people who work there, self-employment may not be a good option for those in this career.

The aerospace, oil and high voltage power system industries may offer opportunities for larger electronic and electrical engineering companies to work on international contracts. People in this career who would like to work in international consulting must have a good reputation, be able to adapt to different cultures, and work with a multicultural team.

Continued changes in technology mean that people in this job must stay up to date in this area.

Alternative and renewable energy resource sectors may create a change for those in this career. New technologies such as wind, geothermal, solar, tidal, biomass and other non-traditional resources are being used more and more and will likely change how electrical and electronics engineers to do their jobs in the coming years. This could also result in an increase in jobs that are located outside of larger cities.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Generally, recent graduates begin as a junior engineer or engineer-in-training. With experience, people in this job can advance to positions such as senior engineers, project managers, principal engineers or partners. Individuals in this career may earn master's degree to work in a more specialized field.

There are many different areas of specialization in this field. Some electrical and electronics engineers:

  • Perform electrical design for residential, commercial or industrial installations, electrical power and communications systems, and instrumentation and control systems
  • Apply engineering science to make products for homes, such as consumer electronics, to make electrical/electronic products for industry and commercial applications (consumer)
  • Work on image processing or control systems for the industrial and commercial applications
  • Design and build a variety of other items (for example, medical equipment, space technology, environmental monitoring systems, and technology used in underwater research)

Electrical and electronic engineers who go on to earn a doctoral degree can contribute to the field through research and teaching at the post-secondary level or they may find work in a larger firm in their specialty.

Additional resources