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Electronics Engineer


How to Become an Electronics Engineer
Job Duties of an Electronics Engineer
Skills and Qualities of an Electronics Engineer
Salaries of Electronics Engineers
Influential Professionals in this field
Leading Electronics Engineer Organizations
Top Cities for Electronics Engineer Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an Electronics Engineer

For an entry level position, an engineering undergraduate degree is usually required. Sometimes, an applicant with a natural sciences or mathematics degree may get an entry level job, but that is not nearly as common. The curriculum for engineers at colleges and universities tends to be a highly regimented one with requirements not only for what courses must be taken, but what sequence they must be taken in and in specific combinations. The curriculum emphasis is on math, the specific electrical engineering field, physics and other hard sciences. Students often take an extra year to complete their degrees due to the rigor of the programs, and like other engineering programs, there are always a few areas that pose consistent and high levels of difficulty for students.

Although a person could become a part of an engineering company or department and be considered an electronics engineer in general, the formal engineering designation is Professional Engineer (PE), which means that one is licensed by a particular state to offer their services directly to the public. In other words, the role of an engineer is broad, but the title of "engineer" is specific. There is no specific PE area of electronics engineering, but there are electrical and computer engineering areas of focus, both of which are often closely associated - and in some cases synonymous - with electronics engineering. As an additional note, not all PE categories are used in every state.

To become a PE, there are a number of requirements, including graduating with an undergraduate degree from a specially program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), four years of experience, and an exam. There are two stages of becoming a PE, each categorized by passing exams. Upon completion of the first exam, (Fundamentals of Engineering), the PE candidate is called an "engineer in training" or "engineer intern". The second exam (Principles and Practice of Engineering) is usually only able to be taken after some years of work experience. Site licensing varies and some states require continuing education while others do not. Independent from state and other governmental regulators, there are other professional organizations that offer certification in special areas of engineering, like electrical and computer engineering.

What does an Electronics Engineer do?

Although the tile of "engineer" can seem to be quite technical and specific, there are many areas of engineering; some of these areas are very different and some of them overlap quite a bit.

Electronics engineers work technology devices that often go into consumer electronics products or telecommunication devices, all devices that have some kind of computing function or which are often related to computers. Electronics engineers differ from electrical engineers, in that electrical engineers work on the design, manufacture, improvement and maintenance of electrical equipment, including power supplies, device controls, electric motors, lighting, building wiring, electrical equipment, etc.

Some consider electronics engineering to be a sub division of electrical engineering, and many people also consider electronics engineers to be differentiated from computer hardware engineers, who work exclusively on computers and related devices.

As with all engineering disciplines, electrical engineers work with computer design programs in designing systems or devices and spend a lot of time doing non-technical tasks, such as project management, people management, budgeting, writing presentations/reports. After all, engineering is all about applied science.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Electronics Engineer?

Electronic Engineers must, of course, be able to complete all the necessary educational and professional requirements to become engineers at all. This indicates an intelligence type that is analytical, detail oriented and inquisitive. Creativity is also a necessary trait as it feeds into creative problem solving. Interpersonal skills are also highly necessary, as electronics engineers almost always work with teams and other departments. Project management skills are also an absolute must, as there are usually a multitude of moving parts (phases, teams, disciplines) to any one project. Language - spoken and written - are also necessary due to not only the teaming aspect of a electronics engineer's job but also because of the necessity to communicate findings, discuss issues with clients, present recommendations, etc. in written form.

How much do Electronics Engineers make?

For non-computer hardware engineers, electronics engineers' annual wages range from about $54,000 to $124,000+, according to 2007 statistics. In addition to the government, electronics companies and engineering firms comprise the largest employer groups. As far as who is best paid for their work, engineers in industry seem to make the higher salaries.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

The current President and CEO of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is Lewis M. Terman, with John R. Vig as the President-Elect and Leah H. Jamieson as the immediate past President.

The current President of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is Joseph L. Sussman, with the President-Elect being David K. Holger and L.S. "Skip" Fletcher as the immediate past President.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers - leading global professional organization for the disciplines of electrical and electronics engineering

ABET - Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Oversees accreditation of college and university engineering programs.

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying - national organization composed of licensing boards from all US states and territories.

National Society of Professional Engineers - Primary national professional organization for PEs across all disciplines. [NOTE: Although there is no specific PE area of electronics engineering, there are electrical and computer engineering areas of focus, both of which are often closely associated - and in some cases synonymous - with electronics engineering.]

For a lists of state boards, visit the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying's website.

What are the top cities for Electronics Engineer jobs?

Of course, Silicon Valley in California is the place to be if you want to pursue this career in electronics. Silicon Valley plays host to many R&D facilities for major electronics corporations and by several magnitudes employs the largest numbers of electronics engineers. There are other locations, like Atlanta, New York and Seattle, which some researchers are calling the new up and coming hot spots for electronics development.

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