Electronics engineers are specialists who design, develop and implement electronics systems and equipment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electronics engineers work on a wide variety of electronics applications including CD and MP3 players, GPS systems, and other devices. Electronics engineers are slightly different from computer engineers, who tend to focus on how the electronic systems relate to software. Electronics engineers concern themselves with hardware applications and the framework of the devices themselves rather than the software that operates them.
Of course, electronics engineers cannot work in a vacuum, so it is quite common for electronics engineers to work closely with computer engineers and software designers as they develop new products.
What Are The Job Duties of an Electronics Engineer?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electronics engineers are typically asked to:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that fourteen percent of all electronics engineers work for the federal government, often in a military capacity. Eleven percent of electronics engineers work in telecommunications centers while another 11 percent work in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Eight percent are involved in agriculture or engineering, while another eight percent work with navigational, medical, or control instrument applications.
How Much Do Electronics Engineers Earn?
The 2010 median annual salary for electronics engineers with a bachelor’s degree was $84,540, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the industry in which an electronics engineer finds work does make a difference in how much he or she will earn.
For electronics engineers working for the federal government, the annual median salary was $104,310. For those who worked in semiconductor and component manufacturing, the median annual salary was $93,610. Electronics engineers who worked for agricultural or engineering services earned a median annual salary of $89,360, while those who worked in the navigational, medical, or control instruments fields earned $88,690. Those who work in the field of architecture and engineering earned $83,750.
Other factors that may influence salary are location and years of experience. Many electronics engineers begin in entry-level jobs while they gain experience to work in a highly-paid government position.
What Is The Job Outlook for Electronics Engineers?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for electronics engineers is only expected to be about six percent in the next ten years, primarily due to corresponding slow growth in the manufacturing sector. Electronics engineers who work for the government or who work for large engineering firms will probably have the most job stability and growth.
How Do I Become an Electronics Engineer?
Electronics engineers generally begin with a four-year degree from an electronics engineering program at an accredited school, according to the BLS. However, in order to be competitive, some electronics engineers will seek a master’s degree or will take a graduate degree in a related field such as business.
Students who are interested in a career as an electronics engineer must be prepared to be competitive. Those who have experience will usually find it easier to find employment, so look for a training program that incorporates hands-on experience. Several schools are moving to a seamless master’s in engineering program with a concentration available in electronics. These programs often feature internships or other opportunities for students to practice their skills and build a portfolio of work experience before entering the job market.
While states do not always require certification for electronics engineers, it may also pay to gain certain credentials. A+ certification, Network+ certification, and CETA certification are all useful to have if a student is trying to gain a particular position with an emphasis on those skills. Joining professional organizations also helps to show employers that you take your work seriously.
Becoming an electronics engineer requires strong skills in math and science as well as a rational, logical approach to problem solving. Future electronics engineers should also display a certain degree of creative thinking that will enable them to design and develop new products. Finally, electronics engineers must be prepared to work closely on details to ensure complete accuracy of their work products and performance of the systems they design.