Do you often find yourself wondering how your flat screen TV can possibly be so energy efficient? Have you ever contemplated what it is that allows Las Vegas casinos to use up so much electric without them ever blowing a fuse? If so, then it appears that you have a particular proclivity for electrical engineering.
Perhaps it’s time you stopped asking the world’s toughest electrical questions and started answering them instead. To do that, you have to turn your passion into a profession and become an electrical engineer. To see what you need to do to follow this demanding yet rewarding career path, make sure to read on.
Earn your degrees
At the very least, if you wish to enter the electrical engineering profession then you must hold a bachelor-level degree in the subject of electrical engineering — one that has been officially recognized by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, no less. Nine out of ten entry-level positions that you go for will require that you have this kind of education, so going to college and obtaining it is key.
Bachelor-level degree courses that are commonly taken by budding electrical engineers include:
- Probability Theory — A course in which students are introduced to the task of calculating possible effects and probabilities of engineering decisions.
- Physics — A course where the transfer of energy and matter is studied, and universal physical laws are recognized.
- Electromagnetic Fields — A course in which students learn about forces, fields, and waves.
- Microprocessor System — A course in which students are introduced to the structure of microprocessors.
If you want to get your career off to the absolute best start possible, however, then you’re going to have to go one step further than earning a bachelor’s. Before you get your first official paid job in the industry, you should obtain a masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering by Kettering University. Undertaking this advanced degree will help you to hone your skills in a number of fields, from mobile robotics to the development of autonomous vehicles. With this kind of cutting-edge degree planted firmly on your resume, quite simply, there is no way any potential employer could possibly ignore you.
In addition to the classroom work and textbook studying that you do, in order to make yourself seem like an appealing employee, you should undertake laboratory work and perform field studies, too. If you feel that you have the time to be able to do so (chances are, what with the intense amount of studying that you will be asked to do, you won’t), you should even try to get yourself some real life work experience.
Take the FE exam
The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which you can take as soon as you have graduated from your bachelor-level degree course, is the next hurdle you have to overcome in your bid to carve out a career in electrical engineering. Without a pass mark from this exam, you will be unable to practice engineering as a licensed professional — to make matters worse, you will officially be known as an engineer-in-training (EIT) or as an engineer intern (EI). You don’t want to be an EIT or an EI, you want to be a full-blown engineer, so make sure you get that all-important pass mark as soon as possible… even if it means devoting the summer following your college or university graduation to even more studying and revision.
Land your entry-level job
Even if you did decide to get yourself an advanced degree in the field, you’re still going to have to land yourself an entry-level electrical engineering job at the very start of your working career. This role will help you get a feel for the profession, and it will prove to potential employers that you are willing to work your way up the career ladder.
Fear not, though, because, if you have the expertise, the experience, and the accomplishments employers want, you’ll find yourself breaking free of the entry-level shackles sooner rather than later.
A few entry-level electrical engineering roles for you to be looking out for on the job boards include:
- Innovation engineer
- Trainee engineer
- Primal semi-skilled engineer
- Solutions engineer
- Maintenance engineer
- Junior service engineer
Take the PE exam
Unfortunately, even four years into your career as an electrical engineer, you’re still going to be required to sit examinations. The next one on the list is the Professional Engineer (PE) exam, and this needs to be taken to keep your engineering license.
You are going to be asked to take this test to show that you had remained abreast of all of the latest changes in the field — if there’s one thing you need to have as an electrical engineer, it’s your finger on the pulse of the most modern technology and the very latest electronic practices. This means, then, that, no matter how busy you may be with your full-time job role, you’re going to need to make time to study your field. In this instance, you could take action such as signing up to a monthly electronics magazine, or you could head to conferences that are held about the subject. Whatever you decide to do, just don’t let your knowledge of your industry fall behind the pace. The moment it does is the moment you make potential career advancement for yourself much harder to attain.
As you can see, becoming an electrical engineer is no walk in the park. You have to devote 100% of your determination and passion to this field even before you can officially be recognized as a professional in it — and then the real hard work begins. All of that studying, hard work, and test taking will be worth it in the end, though, when you’re sitting pretty at the pinnacle of your dream career.
No matter what your specific path to becoming an electrical engineer has in store for you, just make sure that you follow the above advice. Doing so will help you to reach your professional goals a lot sooner.