It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without electricity, we depend on it every day, but we don’t often consider that the production, distribution, and maintenance of electricity is a highly specialised skill. From powering an entire city to computer circuit boards, the electrical sector is an ever-evolving industry – and so are the careers!
Electrical engineers design, develop, install, and most commonly, maintain electrical products and systems. They are predominantly responsible for ensuring the smooth running of equipment and services. Their expertise is often utilised in factories, power stations, research facilities, offices, and a variety of other settings. They usually either work independently, as part of a team or oversee a team.
Electrical engineers will be expected to be able to anticipate issues or technical problems they might face and find efficient solutions quickly. Meeting the safety regulations is also a vital part of an electrical engineer’s role, they must ensure that the equipment or services they are responsible for are in compliance with current guidelines. They conduct tests on the products and then analyse the test data. They then implement any necessary modifications and retest until the product qualifies and is signed-off as fit for use. They’ll also monitor products when they are in use so that they can improve on future functionality.
How to get qualified
There are three main routes you can take to become an electrical engineer; you can either study at university, college, or complete an apprenticeship.
Like all subjects, the entry requirements for each university may vary. As electrical engineering will be an entirely new subject to those progressing from sixth form or further education colleges, universities often assess whether individuals have relevant A levels in subjects such as math and physics. Typically universities will require you to have three A-Levels ranging from AAA – AAB, or an equivalent qualification. However, if you don’t meet the requirements you can apply for a ‘Foundation Year’ if your chosen university offers this course type.
In university, you will learn through a combination of theoretical, experimental, and computational study and some courses may even include or have the option of a placement period.
You can also complete a Level 4 and 5 Higher National Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at college. The entry requirements are similar to university requirements: 1 or 2 A Levels or a Level 3 Diploma.
Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular as they allow students to gain practical and desirable work experience while they’re learning, alongside earning a salary. There are two types of apprenticeships you can do, a higher apprenticeship or a degree apprenticeship.
There are many career progression opportunities for electrical engineers. You can choose to become a specialist in your chosen area, work in research and design, move into project management, pursue an academic career, or become a consultant or contractor.
Job opportunities will include roles in:
- Power and energy
- Manufacturing and industrial production
- Construction and building
- Petrochemical industries
- Defence-related industries
- The armed forces
Whichever route or career path you take, becoming an electrical engineer is an interesting and rewarding career choice, providing you with an abundance of opportunities.
If you’ve recently qualified as an electrical engineer and you’re looking for a new role, get in touch with our team on 01422 413 813 and a member of our team will be happy to help you.