How to become an Electrical Engineer

Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers design, develop and supervise the manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of electrical systems. They work on systems for the generation, distribution, utilisation and control of electric power. They also work on electronic systems used for computing, communications and other industrial applications. Electrical engineers may specialise as electrical maintenance engineers, electrical power engineers, electrical design engineers, communications engineers or computer engineers. They may also specialise in areas such as the design and operation of power plants, generators, metal refining, rolling mills, motors and transformers, and in researching new applications of technology or production machinery.

Personal requirements for an Electrical Engineer

  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Enjoy computing and technical design
  • Practical and creative
  • Able to work independently and accept responsibility

Education & Training for an Electrical Engineer

To become an electrical engineer you usually have to complete an engineering degree at university with a major in electrical, electronic, electrical power, telecommunications and network, or communications engineering. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Additional information

Graduates may be eligible for membership of Engineers Australia. Visit their website for more details. Depending on your state or territory, you may need to register with authorities specific to your area of work.

Duties & Tasks of an Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers:

  • Plan and design power stations and equipment for generators
  • Supervise construction plans and specifications and draw up contracts
  • Supervise operating and maintenance staff
  • Design and produce drawings of electrical systems using computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Decide on the type and arrangement of circuits, transformers, circuit-breakers, transmission lines and equipment, based on calculations
  • Make or improve products such as electric motors, parts, equipment and appliances
  • Prepare and interpret specifications, drawings and regulations for the use of electric power equipment
  • Determine delivery and installation schedules for machines, switchgear, cables and fittings
  • Organise and manage staff and materials in the making of electrical parts, machines, appliances and equipment
  • Ensure completed works meet specifications and safety standards
  • Design and install control and signalling devices for road, rail and air traffic
  • Design telecommunications equipment and networks
  • Contribute and adhere to safety requirements.

Tasks

  • Planning and designing power stations and power generation equipment.
  • Developing products such as electric motors, components, equipment and appliances.
  • Determining the type and arrangement of circuits, transformers, circuit-breakers, transmission lines and other equipment.
  • Supervising the operation and maintenance of power stations, transmission and distribution systems and industrial plants.
  • Interpreting specifications, drawings, standards and regulations relating to electric power equipment and use.
  • May specialise in research in areas such as power generation and transmission systems, transformers, switchgear and electric motors, telemetry and control systems.
  • Designing and installing control and signalling equipment for road, rail and air traffic.
  • Establishing delivery and installation schedules for machines, switchgear, cables and fittings.
  • Organising and managing resources used in the supply of electrical components, machines, appliances and equipment.

Working conditions for an Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers work with senior administrators, civil and mechanical engineers, computer scientists and various workers in the business, building and construction industries. They advise employers, associates or clients and consult with scientists, industrial designers and architects.


Employment Opportunities for an Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers work for state, territory and federal government departments; electricity suppliers; consulting engineers; and firms in the minerals, defence, telecommunications, information technology, steel, manufacturing and service industries. The telecommunications industry is expanding due to factors such as the rapid development of technology, the increased use of mobile phones by the Australian public and new telecommunications companies entering the market.


Specializations

Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers design, develop and supervise the manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of electrical systems. They work on systems for the generation, distribution, utilisation and control of electric power. They also work on electronic systems used for computing, communications and other industrial applications. Electrical engineers may specialise as electrical maintenance engineers, electrical power engineers, electrical design engineers, communications engineers or computer engineers. They may also specialise in areas such as the design and operation of power plants, generators, metal refining, rolling mills, motors and transformers, and in researching new applications of technology or production machinery.

  • Average age
    Average age
    39 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Stable
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    7% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    44 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $2,160
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    91% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    18,800 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.7%
    NSW: 36.2%
    NT: 1.1%
    QLD: 19.3%
    SA: 5.3%
    TAS: 1.6%
    VIC: 20.8%
    WA: 14.0%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.1%
    20-24: 4.6%
    25-34: 32%
    35-44: 26.2%
    45-54: 20.6%
    55-59: 8.5%
    60-64: 5%
    65 and Over: 3.1%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 11.7%
    Bachelor degree: 58.1%
    Below Year 10: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 6.6%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 20.1%
    Year 10 and below: 0.3%
    Year 11: 0.1%
    Year 12: 3.2%
    Years 11 & 10: 0%
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