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What are growing occupations in electrical engineering? I’ve searched the internet for some but having trouble finding a definitive answer.

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I want to explore electrical engineering more but am having trouble finding answers on the matter. If you could answer my question it would be really helpful. Thanks!

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John’s Answer

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Aayush electrical engineers specialize in power supply and generation. They design, develop, test and supervise electrical equipment manufacturing. They have also been trained to handle responsibilities like wiring and lighting installations in buildings, automobiles and aircraft. What is great about being an electrical engineer is that the training is so extensive that graduates may land a job in many different industries such as construction, manufacturing and design. Moreover, electrical engineers may take part in development and research as assistants to scientists and other engineers. Many kinds of electronic equipment from portable music players to GPS devices pass through an electronic engineer’s hands.

• CAREER DEFINITION – Electrical engineers are responsible for implementing electrical components into any number of devices that use electricity. They help to design and manufacture electrical products of all shapes and sizes, making it a career constantly on the cutting edge. Due to the job's complexities, electrical engineers frequently work with computers; many of these professionals also work in team settings. While there is overlap with electronics areas, electrical engineers generally focus on supply and generation of power.
• REQUIRED EDUCATION – Having at least one degree in electrical engineering is an absolute necessity for advancement in the field; many firms require electrical engineers to have a master's or doctoral degree for career advancement. Degrees offered in the field include Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Bachelor of Engineering with a concentration in electrical engineering, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, Master of Engineering with a concentration in electrical engineering and Doctorate of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering. Gaining entrance into most engineering schools is quite difficult; applicants need top grades in classes such as computer science, physics, chemistry, mathematics and statistics.
• SALARY OUTLOOK – The average Electrical Engineer II salary in the United States is $84,900 as of June 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $77,500 and $93,900. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

• CAREER DEFINITION – Electromechanical engineers bring the principles of electrical and mechanical engineering to the workplace. All kinds of products, from space satellites to computer monitors, are both electrical and mechanical in nature; electromechanical engineers conceptualize and build machines that use both technologies. Finding a job as an electromechanical engineer requires good grades from a four-year institution; higher positions in the field may necessitate graduate studies.
• REQUIRED EDUCATION – Most people who become electromechanical engineers obtain a bachelor's degree in either electrical engineering or in mechanical engineering; however, a growing number of schools now offer bachelor's degrees in electromechanical engineering. In any engineering program, students can expect to take classes in math, physics, computer science and the basics of engineering. Most undergraduate engineering degrees can be earned in four years; many high-level electromechanical engineer jobs require at least a master's degree or higher.
• SALARY OUTLOOK – The average Electromechanical Engineer salary in the United States is $70,000 as of June 28, 2020, but the salary range typically falls between $65,000 and $80,000. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

• CAREER DEFINITION – Electrical design engineers develop new electrical systems for various applications. They research systems ideas and draw up plans for these systems, usually using a computer program. They are responsible for developing system specifications and layouts. Electrical design engineers also test their systems and make adjustments as needed. In addition, they provide support throughout the manufacturing of the electrical systems they have designed.
• REQUIRED EDUCATION – In most cases, employers seek candidates for electrical design engineer positions who hold a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. These programs often teach students how to use CAD software, read technical drawings, and understand electrical theories and concepts. No licensing is required to work in this field; however, it could be helpful to secure a Professional Engineering (PE) license for career advancement purposes.
• SALARY OUTLOOK – The average Electrical Design Engineer salary in the United States is $84,800 as of June 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $77,900 and $94,000. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

• CAREER DEFINITION – Evaluates electrical systems, products, components, and applications by designing and conducting research programs; applying knowledge of electricity and materials. Confirms system's and components' capabilities by designing testing methods; testing properties. Develops electrical products by studying customer requirements; researching and testing manufacturing and assembly methods and materials.
Develops manufacturing processes by designing and modifying equipment for building and assembling electrical components; soliciting observations from operators.
• REQUIRED EDUCATION – Being an Electrical Controls Engineer I requires a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and 0-2 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Has knowledge of commonly-used concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field.
• SALARY OUTLOOK – The average Electrical Controls Engineer salary in the United States is $89,500 as of June 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $75,900 and $105,000. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

• CAREER DEFINITION – A power systems engineer specializes in working with power systems, with job duties ranging from conducting power system studies to testing wind turbine components. Power systems engineers can work for wind turbine manufacturers, electric utility companies, or wind owners/developers. Most power systems engineers work full-time. They may work in an office environment, but often travel to client sites.
• REQUIRED EDUCATION – Individuals will need a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or a related field to work as a power systems engineer. A background in power systems operations or planning may be beneficial. Interested individuals can join a professional organization like the Power and Energy Society. The organization provides members with relevant updates in the electric power industry and training resources.
• SALARY OUTLOOK – The average Power System Engineer salary in the United States is $96,800 as of June 28, 2020, but the salary range typically falls between $87,900 and $111,000. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Hope this was Helpful Aayush

Thank You Nolan. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare John Frick Translate
Thank You Dexter for your Continued Support. Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. John Frick Translate
Wow! Thanks so much! This is really helpful for me and I’m so grateful you answered my question in such detail! Aayush R. Translate
Your Welcome Aayush, It was my Pleasure. The real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the job. John Frick Translate
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Dexter’s Answer

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Hi Aayush,

I think the answer really depends on what time period "growing" is asking about. So if you mean in the next 5-10 years, I really like Chet's answer, where the mentions autonomous driving, RF, etc. There's also exciting things like wireless power, next generation batteries, better electronics in space, human augmentation with chips/machines, or just better <insert anything you see around you>. Remember, electrical engineers help create just about everything electronic you see around you: headphones, microwaves, cars, monitors, cell phones.... anything with electrical current running through them.

I think if you're asking about 20-30 years into the future, I don't think anyone knows. I mean, just read the novels from 50 years ago, who were guessing that in the year 2020, we'd be in flying cars, living until we were 300, and/or living in a wasteland.

I would say, look deeper into yourself and find why you're asking this question in the first place. Is it because you're worried that if you were to choose an EE career path, that you're afraid that it'd become irrelevant in the future? If that's your worry, I would assure you that is not likely to happen, as we need smart electrical engineers to solve a million problems that we dream up everyday. Also, you'll find out in your career that once you become a fully trained engineer, it's not very difficult to transition into other careers, so I would just advise that you choose a career that you enjoy doing, as there's no point in worrying about something we can't control.

I wish you the best of luck.

Thank you! Aayush R. Translate
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Bill’s Answer

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Thanks for asking, Aayush. John's answer covers the major fields nicely.

How to narrow down what works best for you from all the choices?

First, recognize that opportunites within EE are dynamic - needs and demands change quickly. Today's hot jobs may be obsolete or secondary tomorrow. For example, early in my career I worked in power supply design for the minicomputer company Digital Equipment Corporation. Their power supplies were big and bulky because they relied on a large mass of material to store energy (think big transformers). But they were cheap. Satellites and space flight changed all that - power systems had have near zero mass. This necessitated learning about digital power systems and switching power supplies, which in turn brought their own problems with heat management (lots of energy moving around in a small space), radiation resistance (those cosmic rays out there), and EMI (unintentional radiation.) Because I had studied the basics of these areas in school, I quickly adapted to new design tools and systems, and occasionally was asked to teach them to my peers.

The best start in EE is a broad engineering education from the outset. If you can learn the basics, then it is relatively easy to learn something new and to be one of the first into a new realm of engineering a few years down the road. If you have the tools, then new developments are adventures in discovery, not obstacles to be fought through. Look at it this way: all the newest and flashiest things are reworkings of the same fundamentals of science. Example: Flat screen TVs required investigation into how to create very thin video screens that looked good. We have had LCD LED, OLED, Plasma, and other versions of this, all requiring intense and (I think) interesting creative engineering.

Finally, yes, do try to match your interests with the currently growing occupations, but realize the days of growth may not be forever. Example: Nuclear power generation was "hot" (pun intended) fifty years ago, but tragic accidents like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island put the chill on nuclear power. However it still holds promise for a way to generate high levels of clean power on demand, without the quirks of solar or wind or even water power. But what technology will convice skeptics that it would be safe to "rediscover" nuclear in a new and safer way?

I am suggesting some next steps to start where you are now and see what EE career paths might look interesting and be fun for you to try

Bill recommends the following next steps:

  • Rank John's broad career options for yourself in terms of potential overall appeal to you. Don't spend a lot of time doing t his - make a high-level call - you can always change it any time later.
  • Starting with #1 on your list, search the Internet for organizations that work in that option area. Make a list of specific types of work that may appeal to you either to find out more about or to try to find work in. Research specific activities and jobs there. Read some posted job descriptpions to see ther specific tech tools employers wish they had.
  • Check scientific journals such as Scientific American to see how your interests may apply to current research and topics of interest in the science community. Usually science turns to engineering to make the latest discoveries and needs work out into useful producxts and systems - engineers design those.
  • Consider a student membership in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) if you are in grade 11 or12 or in college. Some of their stuff is quite advanced, but for now you are looking for key words and hot topics that generate lots of mentions. Use the topics that pop up releatedly to refine your search.
  • Finally, customize your opportunities - that is, if a field appeals to you, mix in your own interests and see if there is a portion of that field that "fits" you better. I did a lot of engineering in power systems, but it was satellite power that seemed most challeging and rewarding when one of my unique "birds" made a successful launch and mission.
Thanks a lot for your guide! It’s really helpful for me and I’m amazed how quickly you were able to adapt to the constant change, was it hard? Aayush R. Translate
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Chet’s Answer

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Hi Ayush,

John's answer is a good overview for your options as an EE. There are competing measures and points of view for growth areas in any field. Is it a trend over the past year, past decade or based on future projections? Are you measuring salary growth or total jobs? And so forth.

The focus on wireless communications (like 5G) creates opportunity for RF engineering. This will likely remain true for the next decade. Note there are many types of EE's working in this realm. Hardware, software, design, validation, reliability, etc. can all benefit, as can pure communications-focused engineers.

Likewise green energy continues to grow as a field. Within this, there are opportunities for power engineers. The increase in mobility and electric cars make battery design, manufacturing and test an increasing market.

The same things could be said for AI, autonomous driving. They are emerging fields, lots of 'growth' but remember that before there were not many people doing these things at all! So a percentage of 'growth' is very different from 'how many total jobs added'.

While those three may sound good, remember that fast-growing areas can also be somewhat boom/bust. If you catch the right wave (Apple), good for you. If you land with a different company (Nokia) it may work for a while but then the ride ends. Note that electric cars were a threat to internal combustion engines in the 1890s! But until Elon Musk and Tesla, electric cars didn't pan out.

It may be best to look at total jobs out there. Computer engineers, controls engineers, etc. are well-established fields. They may be less exciting than the latest, greatest emerging field, but the jobs will be there for your lifetime. Since they are so big, just small amounts of growth (or even stable even numbers) still mean lots of job opportunity.
Thanks! I’m definitely gaining a better understanding of growth and this entire field in a couple of days! Thanks again, it means a lot to me that you answered. Aayush R. Translate
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