California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

   Electronics Engineers, Except Computer in California

May also be called: Circuit Design Engineers; Communications Engineers; Electronics Design Engineers; Electronics Research Engineers; Integrated Circuit Design Engineers; Telecommunications Engineers

What Would I Do?

Electronic engineering came out of the development and technological advancements of the telegraph, telephone, and radio industries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the major contributors to this new age of electronics were the invention of the television and the advances in telegraph, telephone, and radio technologies. However, the greatest advancements occurred during World War II, with the development of radar, sonar, communication, and weapon systems. It was not until the late 1950s when the term "electronic engineering" was used.

Electronics Engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electronic components, circuits, and systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, and scientific use. They use their in-depth knowledge of electronic theory and material properties to perform their jobs. Electronics Engineers prepare, review, and maintain maintenance schedules, design documentation, and operational reports and charts. They may also work on time and cost estimates for various types of electronic projects.

Electronics Engineers are employed in many different industries, such as aerospace, automobile, healthcare, telecommunications, or utilities. They are responsible for a wide range of technologies, such as global positioning satellite (GPS) systems and portable music players. Some Engineers may specialize in communications (hardwire, wireless, and fiber optics), control systems, integrated circuits, or signal processing. They work with robotic technology designing, developing, and testing robots to perform a variety of functions, such as assembling products, moving over the surface of Mars, or walking into live volcanoes. Electronics Engineers may be found in the healthcare sector designing cutting-edge technology to save lives or developing medical devices, such as dialysis machines, electrocardiographs, and fetal monitors. They also research or develop new green electronics technologies, such as inverters or energy management systems for solar photovoltaic products, optical data storage devices, or energy-efficient televisions.

Electronics Engineers often work in areas closely related to computers. However, they do not work exclusively with computer hardware. Engineers whose work is related exclusively to computer hardware are considered Computer Hardware Engineers.

Tools and Technology
Electronics Engineers use a variety of tools in their work, such as computers, electronics counters and probes, meters, microprocessors, programmable logic controllers, and software, including analytical or scientific, computer-aided design (CAD), development environment, and office suite.

Green Economy(1)
Electronics Engineers may play an important role in the emerging Green Economy. They may assist with the research and design of electronic components for hybrid and electric vehicles within the transportation sector in order to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.

Green Economy activities and technologies would most likely have an effect on Electronics Engineers. The advancements in technology may cause changes to the work and worker requirements, such as new tasks, skills, knowledge, and credentials.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Operate computer-assisted engineering or design software or equipment to perform engineering tasks.Computers and Electronics
Design electronic components, software, products or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications.Design
Prepare engineering sketches or specifications for construction, relocation, or installation of equipment, facilities, products, or systems.Engineering and Technology
Recommend repair or design modifications of electronics components or systems based on factors such as environment, service, cost, or system capabilities.Mechanical
Research or develop electronics technologies for use in electric-drive vehicles.Deductive Reasoning
Confer with engineers, customers, vendors or others to discuss existing or potential electronics engineering projects or products.Oral Expression
Analyze electronics system requirements, capacity, cost, or customer needs to determine project feasibility.Judgment and Decision Making
Evaluate project work to ensure effectiveness, technical adequacy, or compatibility in the resolution of complex engineering problems.Systems Analysis
Develop and perform operational, maintenance, or testing procedures for electronic products, components, equipment, or systems.Operations Analysis
Provide technical support or instruction to staff or customers regarding electronics equipment standards.Troubleshooting
Inspect electronic equipment, instruments, products, or systems to ensure conformance to specifications, safety standards, or applicable codes or regulations.Systems Evaluation
Plan and develop applications or modifications for electronic properties used in components, products, or systems, to improve technical performance.Inductive Reasoning
Investigate green consumer electronics applications for consumer electronic devices, power saving devices for computers or televisions, or energy efficient power chargers.Critical Thinking
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Electronics Engineers work in office buildings, laboratories, manufacturing firms, or industrial plants. They may spend time at these locations overseeing the installation of electronic systems and equipment, monitoring operations, or solving on-site problems. When working with any type of electronic systems or equipment, Electronics Engineers must be trained in proper safety procedures. Some Engineers work a standard 40-hour workweek but can expect frequent evening, weekend, or holiday work to meet deadlines.

Generally, Electronics Engineers are not members of labor unions, although those working in State or local government are required to become full members or pay "fair share" in a union, such as Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG).

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Electronics Engineer may appeal to those who enjoy working with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. Engineers search for facts using a variety of sources in order to solve problems. Electronics Engineers are also skilled in analysis and design. This requires a type of intelligence that is logical, detail-oriented, inquisitive, and creative. Additionally, Electronics Engineers' work activities involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions.

Electronics Engineers must be able to work alone or as part of a team. Effective oral and written communication skills are critical. Engineers usually convey information to interested parties on a range of technical topics, which include design reviews.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Electronics Engineers in California is $113,106 annually, or $54.38 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$89,529$113,106$142,191
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Electronics Engineers may receive excellent benefit packages, including health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and pension plans. However, this is dependent upon the company they work for.

What is the Job Outlook?

With the increased focus on environmentally sustainable business practices, it is expected that there may be increased opportunities for Electronics Engineers.(1) However, like many occupations, employment is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy.

(1)This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This solution is copyrighted by the institution that created it. Internal use by an organization and/or personal use by an individual for non-commercial purposes is permissible. All other uses require the prior authorization of the copyright owner.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Electronics Engineers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Electronics Engineers are expected to increase by 8.5 percent, or 3,000 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Electronics Engineers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
35,50038,5003,0008.57,800
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 300 new job openings per year is expected for Electronics Engineers, plus an additional 780 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,080 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Electronics Engineers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
3007801,080
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

A bachelor's degree in electronic engineering or a related field, such as computer or electrical engineering, is generally the minimum educational level that employers will consider for a position as an Electronics Engineer. Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in design, mathematics, physical and life sciences, and hands-on laboratory classes. Additional courses may include circuits, analog/digital electronics, communications, and control systems. Advanced computer skills are also vital to the Engineer's education. Research and development or university teaching positions usually require a master’s or doctoral degree.

Experience

Many employers require at least two to five years of experience in the electronics engineering field. However, larger companies may offer entry-level engineering positions for college graduates and provide them with formal classroom or seminar-type training. As new Engineers gain knowledge and experience, they are assigned more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Early Career Planning

High school students planning to become Electronics Engineers should take college preparatory courses, such as English, math, chemistry, and physics, as well as computer and drafting classes. Students would also benefit from participating in extracurricular science or engineering programs geared toward middle and high school students such as Odyssey of the Mind, Science Olympiad, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs.

Work Study Programs

Work study programs in electronics engineering may be available through the college or university the student attends.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is not a requirement; however, most Electronics Engineers stay up to date with the latest developments in their field to properly do their jobs.

Licensing and Certification

A Professional Engineer's (PE) license is not required for Electronics Engineers. However, a number of Engineers may possess a PE license in control systems or electrical engineering, which some employers recommend. The license must be renewed every two years.

To become licensed, Engineers must first pass the Engineer-in-Training or Fundamentals of Engineering examination, which requires at least three years of coursework from a college or university offering an engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), or three years of engineering-related experience. The next step in the process is to pass the professional examination which requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited institution, along with two years of eligible engineering experience. Engineers without a bachelor's degree in engineering must possess six years of eligible experience. Contact the agency that issues the license for additional information. Click on the license title below for details.

Certification is not a requirement to be employed as an Electronics Engineer. However, there are numerous certifications that are available, such as Reliability Engineer and Project Management. These certifications are offered by various professional organizations. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Communications Engineer, Computer Engineer, Electrical and Electronics Engineer, and Electronics Engineer.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Electronics Engineers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Architectural and Engineering Services 19.7%
Electronic Instrument Manufacturing 11.0%
Federal Government 9.9%
Semiconductor and Electronic Components 8.6%
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 7.5%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers is one of the most common and effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through classified advertisements in newspapers, networking, online job boards, and professional engineering organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Electronics Engineers.

  • Electronic Engineering
  • Electronics Engineering
  • Electronics Engineers
  • Semiconductors

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

With increasing experience and skills, the Electronics Engineer may take on additional responsibilities. They may become specialists in radio frequency identification device (RFID) systems, which are used to track information, products, or shipments. Some Engineers move into supervisory positions where they oversee other Engineers or technicians. Also, numerous professional certifications exist for Electronics Engineers which may offer improved opportunity for advancement to senior technical or managerial positions. A master's degree or doctor of philosophy degree may lead to teaching opportunities.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Electronics Engineers with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Aerospace EngineersGuide
Avionics TechniciansProfile
Electrical and Electronics DraftersProfile
Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial EquipmentProfile
Electrical EngineersGuide
Industrial Engineering TechniciansGuide
Mechanical EngineersGuide

Other Sources

  • California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
         www.pels.ca.gov
  • California Department of Consumer Affairs
         www.dca.ca.gov
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
         www.abet.org
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc
         www.ieee.org
  • National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
         www.ncees.org
  • National Society of Professional Engineers
         www.nspe.org

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification17-2072
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Electronics Engineers, Except Computer17-2072.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)IRA
   Radio Frequency Identification Device Specialists17-2072.01
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)RIC
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Telecommunications Engineering 141004
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Telecommunications Technology093430