What Does An Electrical Engineer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Electrical Engineers

Electrical Engineers research, design, develop, test, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.

Salary
$105990
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Electrical Engineers research, design, develop, test, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.

  • Operate computer-assisted engineering or design software or equipment to perform engineering tasks.
  • Prepare technical drawings, specifications of electrical systems, or topographical maps to ensure that installation and operations conform to standards and customer requirements.
  • Confer with engineers, customers, or others to discuss existing or potential engineering projects or products.
  • Design, implement, maintain, or improve electrical instruments, equipment, facilities, components, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, or domestic purposes.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Electrical Engineers design, implement, maintain, or improve electrical instruments, equipment, facilities, components, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, or domestic purposes. They confer with engineers, customers, or others to discuss existing or potential engineering projects or products.

A typical day for an Electrical Engineer will also include:

  • Operate computer-assisted engineering or design software or equipment to perform engineering tasks.
  • Direct or coordinate manufacturing, construction, installation, maintenance, support, documentation, or testing activities to ensure compliance with specifications, codes, or customer requirements.
  • Perform detailed calculations to compute and establish manufacturing, construction, or installation standards or specifications.
  • Oversee project production efforts to assure projects are completed on time and within budget.
  • Prepare technical drawings, specifications of electrical systems, or topographical maps to ensure that installation and operations conform to standards and customer requirements.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Electrical Engineers also inspect completed installations and observe operations to ensure conformance to design and equipment specifications and compliance with operational, safety, or environmental standards. They may also direct or coordinate manufacturing, construction, installation, maintenance, support, documentation, or testing activities to ensure compliance with specifications, codes, or customer requirements.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Electrical Engineers perform detailed calculations to compute and establish manufacturing, construction, or installation standards or specifications. They might also compile data and write reports regarding existing or potential electrical engineering studies or projects.

In addition, they prepare specifications for purchases of materials or equipment.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them collect data relating to commercial or residential development, population, or power system interconnection to determine the operating efficiency of electrical systems.

To some Electrical Engineers, it is also their responsibility to conduct field surveys or study maps, graphs, diagrams, or other data to identify and correct power system problems.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

High

Is this job meaningful

High

72% said they were satisfied with their job and 58% said they found their job meaningful.


I am an electrical engineer with 27 years of experience. I work in a company that has three activities: installs electrical installations (in companies, buildings, houses), repairs electrical machines, and sells materials for electrical installations (cables, insulation, etc.) My typical day My work starts at 7 am, everyone comes at that time. We enter the … Read More


After grabbing a cup of coffee, I look at my to-do list. I have a text file on hand where I put down different thoughts throughout the day. When I come in each morning, I review the list and prioritize the ideas and tasks I’ve written and then get straight to work. The beginning of … Read More


Pros

Suitable for people who like to solve problems mentally.

Suitable for people who value achievements and are results-oriented.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Very high salary (top 25% highest paid careers).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$105990 per year

Average hourly wage

$51 per hour

Entry-level Electrical Engineers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $64,870 to $79,010 per year or $31 to $38 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $159,520 $77
Senior (Top 25%) $128,680 $62
Median $100,830 $48
Junior (Bottom 25%) $79,010 $38
No experience (Bottom 10%) $64,870 $31

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Electrical Engineers based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Oil and Gas Extraction $131710 $63.32
Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers $127250 $61.18
Office Administrative Services $127080 $61.10
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing $123460 $59.36
Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations $123290 $59.28
Nondepository Credit Intermediation $122780 $59.03
Electronics and Appliance Stores $120060 $57.72
Scientific Research and Development Services $118210 $56.83
Natural Gas Distribution $117680 $56.58
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing $117220 $56.35

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Electrical Engineers work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Electrical Engineers including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services 41010 $105010 $50.49
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution 18850 $104590 $50.28
Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing 12970 $110590 $53.17
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing 12360 $116990 $56.25
Scientific Research and Development Services 8420 $118210 $56.83
Management of Companies and Enterprises 8150 $105060 $50.51
Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing 7830 $113280 $54.46
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 7640 $114970 $55.27
Machinery Manufacturing 5620 $93760 $45.08
Federal Executive Branch 5360 $105680 $50.81

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
1%

40 hours
30%

More than 40 hours
68%

Working schedule

92%

7%

1%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
98%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
32%

Every day
62%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
25%

Every day
72%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
39%

Once a year
30%

Once a month
19%

Once a week
12%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
12%

Slightly competitive
9%

Moderately competitive
56%

Highly competitive
18%

Extremely competitive
4%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
4%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
4%

Every day
89%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
32%

Once a year or more
43%

Once a month or more
9%

Once a week or more
6%

Every day
9%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
41%

Once a year or more
43%

Once a month or more
13%

Once a week or more
3%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
63%

Once a year or more
23%

Once a month or more
8%

Once a week or more
6%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Hard
You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. Similar careers include Database Administrators, Chemists, Art Directors, and Accountants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
3%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
2%

Bachelor’s Degree
70%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
1%

Master’s Degree
23%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Electromechanical Engineering

A program that prepares individuals to apply scientific and mathematical principles to the problems associated with combining electrical and mechanical components with special emphasis on manufacturing and automated processes. Includes instruction in applied mechanics, instrumentation and monitoring, machine design, automated control techniques, fluid and thermal dynamics, circuit analysis, and solid state electronics.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

A program that prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design and development of computer systems. Includes instruction in computer architecture, cybersecurity, electronic circuits, electromagnetism, electronic materials and design, micro-fabrication methods and techniques, signal and image processing, and wireless communication networks.

Electrical and Electronics Engineering

A program that prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of electrical and electronic systems and their components, including electrical power generation systems; and the analysis of problems such as superconductor, wave propagation, energy storage and retrieval, and reception and amplification.



Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
3%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
2%

6 months to 1 year
6%

1 to 2 years
37%

2 to 4 years
16%

4 to 6 years
4%

6 to 8 years
13%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
19%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
2%

1 month
22%

1 to 3 months
9%

3 to 6 months
21%

6 months to 1 year
13%

1 to 2 years
13%

2 to 4 years
9%

4 to 10 years
10%

Over 10 years
1%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

The Builder
86%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
90%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
29%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
14%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
43%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
52%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
81%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
79%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
76%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
62%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
62%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
76%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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