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.
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|
|Task||Skill 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|
Below is a definition for each skill.
|View the tasks to skills list|
|Computers and Electronics||Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.|
|Design||Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.|
|Engineering and Technology||Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.|
|Mechanical||Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.|
|Deductive Reasoning||The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.|
|Oral Expression||The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.|
|Judgment and Decision Making||Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.|
|Systems Analysis||Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.|
|Operations Analysis||Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.|
|Troubleshooting||Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.|
|Systems Evaluation||Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.|
|Inductive Reasoning||The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).|
|Critical Thinking||Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.|
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?
The median wage in 2015 for Electronics Engineers in California was $109,590 annually, or $52.69 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
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|
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Due to Net
|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|
|Jobs From Growth||Jobs Due to|
|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.
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 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 Title||Percent 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%|
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
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.
Below is a list of occupations related to Electronics Engineers with links to more information.
|Electrical and Electronics Drafters||Profile|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||Profile|
|Industrial Engineering Technicians||Guide|
- California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
- California Department of Consumer Affairs
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc
- National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
- National Society of Professional Engineers
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.