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Become An Electrical Systems Engineer

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Working As An Electrical Systems Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $80,078

    Average Salary

What Does An Electrical Systems Engineer Do

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, or power generation equipment. Electrical engineers also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft.

Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, such as broadcast and communications systems, from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPSs). Many also work in areas closely related to computer hardware.

Duties

Electrical engineers typically do the following:

  • Design new ways to use electrical power to develop or improve products
  • Perform detailed calculations to develop manufacturing, construction, and installation standards and specifications
  • Direct the manufacture, installation, and testing of electrical equipment to ensure that products meet specifications and codes
  • Investigate complaints from customers or the public, evaluate problems, and recommend solutions
  • Work with project managers on production efforts to ensure that projects are completed satisfactorily, on time, and within budget

Electronics engineers typically do the following:

  • Design electronic components, software, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications
  • Analyze customer needs and determine the requirements, capacity, and cost for developing an electrical system plan
  • Develop maintenance and testing procedures for electronic components and equipment
  • Evaluate systems and recommend design modifications or equipment repair
  • Inspect electronic equipment, instruments, and systems to make sure that they meet safety standards and applicable regulations
  • Plan and develop applications and modifications for electronic properties used in parts and systems in order to improve technical performance

Electronics engineers who work for the federal government research, develop, and evaluate electronic devices used in a variety of areas, such as aviation, computing, transportation, and manufacturing. They work on federal electronic devices and systems, including satellites, flight systems, radar and sonar systems, and communications systems.

The work of electrical engineers and electronics engineers is often similar. Both use engineering and design software and equipment to do engineering tasks. Both types of engineers also must work with other engineers to discuss existing products and possibilities for engineering projects.

Engineers whose work is related exclusively to computer hardware are considered computer hardware engineers.

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How To Become An Electrical Systems Engineer

Electrical and electronics engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value practical experience, so participation in cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience. Having a Professional Engineer (PE) license may improve an engineer’s chances of finding employment.

Education

High school students interested in studying electrical or electronics engineering benefit from taking courses in physics and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Courses in drafting are also helpful, because electrical and electronics engineers often are required to prepare technical drawings.

In order to enter the occupation, prospective electrical and electronics engineers need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or electrical engineering technology. Programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. Courses include digital systems design, differential equations, and electrical circuit theory. Programs in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or electrical engineering technology should be accredited by ABET.

Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education. Cooperative programs combine classroom study with practical work. Internships provide similar experience and are growing in number.

At some universities, students can enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some universities, or in research and development.

Important Qualities

Concentration. Electrical and electronics engineers design and develop complex electrical systems and electronic components and products. They must be able to keep track of multiple design elements and technical characteristics when performing these tasks.

Initiative. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to apply their knowledge to new tasks in every project they undertake. In addition, they must engage in continuing education to keep up with changes in technology.

Interpersonal skills. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to work with others during the manufacturing process to ensure that their plans are implemented correctly. This collaboration includes monitoring technicians and devising remedies to problems as they arise.

Math skills. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to use the principles of calculus and other advanced math in order to analyze, design, and troubleshoot equipment.

Speaking skills. Electrical and electronics engineers work closely with other engineers and technicians. They must be able to explain their designs and reasoning clearly and to relay instructions during product development and production. They also may need to explain complex issues to customers who have little or no technical expertise.

Writing skills. Electrical and electronics engineers develop technical publications related to equipment they develop, including maintenance manuals, operation manuals, parts lists, product proposals, and design methods documents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as electrical and electronics engineers. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam can be taken right after graduation from a college or university. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After getting work experience, EITs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education courses to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.

Advancement

Electrical and electronic engineers may advance to supervisory positions in which they lead a team of engineers and technicians. Some may move to management positions, working as engineering or program managers. Preparation for managerial positions usually requires working under the guidance of a more experienced engineer. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

For sales work, an engineering background enables engineers to discuss a product's technical aspects and assist in product planning and use. For more information, see the profile on sales engineers.

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Electrical Systems Engineer Career Paths

Electrical Systems Engineer
Project Manager Construction Manager
Commissioning Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Controls Engineer Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Manager, Systems Engineering
Director Of Systems Engineering
12 Yearsyrs
Radio Frequency Engineer Designer Electrical Designer
Electrical Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Design Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Project Leader Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Staff Engineer Project Engineering Manager
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering/Maintenance Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Project Engineer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Controls Engineer Senior Project Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Engineering Manager Manufacturing Manager
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Project Manager Product Manager
Product Line Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Principal Engineer Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Radio Frequency Engineer Field Engineer Technical Support Engineer
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Program Manager Product Manager
Technical Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Electrical Systems Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Principal Engineer 4.7 years
Top Careers Before Electrical Systems Engineer
Engineer 5.3%
Internship 2.9%
Top Careers After Electrical Systems Engineer
Engineer 3.5%
Consultant 2.7%

Do you work as an Electrical Systems Engineer?

Electrical Systems Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

87.2%

Female

9.9%

Unknown

2.9%
Ethnicity

White

54.6%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Asian

13.2%

Black or African American

10.6%

Unknown

6.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.0%

Arabic

10.0%

Chinese

6.7%

Russian

6.7%

Polish

6.7%

Portuguese

3.3%

Hawaiian

3.3%

Lithuanian

3.3%

French

3.3%

Greek

3.3%

Carrier

3.3%

Mandarin

3.3%

Korean

3.3%

Italian

3.3%
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Electrical Systems Engineer Education

Schools

Lawrence Technological University

8.3%

University of Central Florida

7.3%

Purdue University

7.3%

Texas A&M University

6.4%

Indiana Wesleyan University

6.4%

Pennsylvania State University

5.5%

University of Akron

4.6%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

4.6%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.6%

University of Toledo

4.6%

Colorado Technical University

4.6%

University of Phoenix

4.6%

Clemson University

4.6%

University of Texas at San Antonio

4.6%

Missouri University of Science and Technology

3.7%

University of North Dakota

3.7%

Oakland University

3.7%

University of Southern California

3.7%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.7%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.7%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

56.9%

Business

6.8%

Computer Engineering

5.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.3%

Systems Engineering

3.6%

Engineering And Industrial Management

3.0%

Mechanical Engineering

2.8%

Management

2.1%

Project Management

1.9%

Engineering

1.7%

Computer Science

1.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Aerospace Engineering

1.3%

Finance

1.1%

Physics

0.8%

Engineering Technology

0.6%

Computer Information Systems

0.6%

Industrial Technology

0.6%

Biomedical Engineering

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.3%

Masters

32.8%

Other

11.9%

Doctorate

2.2%

Associate

2.0%

Certificate

1.1%

Diploma

0.7%
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Electrical Systems Engineer Videos

Day in the Life: Mechanical Engineer

Electrical Engineering Salary in 2016 - Get Salary Range Details

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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Electrical Systems Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Electrical Power Systems Engineer National Service Alliance-Houston Houston, TX Aug 17, 2016 $125,154
Senior Electrical Systems Engineer Becton, Dickinson & Company Franklin Lakes, NJ Nov 20, 2015 $123,448
Technical Engineer/Aircraft Electrical Systems IDD Aerospace Corporation Everett, WA Sep 24, 2012 $120,000 -
$140,000
Solar Systems Electrical Engineer General Electric Company Schenectady, NY Aug 08, 2011 $118,000
Senior Electrical System Engineer-Validation Fisker Automotive, Inc. Anaheim, CA Oct 01, 2011 $115,000
Electrical System Engineer Xenon Inc. of Nj Edison, NJ Sep 09, 2011 $113,652
Electrical System Engineer Xenon Inc. of Nj Edison, NJ Sep 09, 2012 $113,652
Electrical System Engineer Xenon Inc. of Nj Edison, NJ Feb 14, 2012 $113,652
Senior Electrical Systems Engineer Becton, Dickinson and Company Franklin Lakes, NJ Jul 20, 2016 $112,717
Senior Electrical Systems Engineer Performance Designed Products LLC San Diego, CA Apr 27, 2016 $111,925
Electrical Systems Engineer Atwood Oceanics Management, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 27, 2014 $109,881
Electrical Power Systems Engineer FMC Technologies, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 08, 2015 $85,500 -
$126,719
Electrical Power Systems Engineer FMC Technologies, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 06, 2015 $85,500 -
$126,719
Electric Power System Engineer 2 Battelle Richland, WA Mar 03, 2014 $85,296
Electric Systems Planning Engineer Midamerican Energy Company Davenport, IA Nov 28, 2016 $85,010 -
$106,000
Electric Systems Planning Engineer Midamerican Energy Company Davenport, IA Apr 14, 2016 $85,010 -
$106,000
System/Electrical Engineer Applied Materials, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Oct 01, 2011 $84,335 -
$96,600
Systems Electrical Engineer II American Renewable Energy Piscataway, NJ Sep 12, 2015 $84,136
Electrical Systems Engineer 1 Battelle Richland, WA Oct 01, 2015 $78,000
Electrical Power Systems Engineer 1 Battelle Richland, WA Oct 01, 2015 $78,000
Electrical Systems Engineer Magna E-Car USA Limited Partnership Rochester Hills, MI Apr 13, 2011 $77,876
Advanced Electrical Distribution System Components Engineer Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI Sep 22, 2015 $76,253 -
$109,740
Power Systems Electrical Engineer Solectria Renewables, LLC Lawrence, MA Aug 22, 2015 $75,982
Electrical Systems Engineer Dura Operating, LLC Auburn Hills, MI May 07, 2016 $75,000
Systems Engineer, AN Electrical Engineer MTI Laboratory, Inc. El Segundo, CA Apr 01, 2012 $74,984

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Top Skills for An Electrical Systems Engineer

  1. Computer
  2. Safety
  3. Test Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Researched, identified and negotiated repackaging of critical component for high-visibility F16 aircraft mission computer design.
  • Served as collaborative interface for vendor engineers, customer representatives, and regulatory and FRA railroad safety officials.
  • Outlined and developed system validation test plans based on customer requirements.
  • Evaluated and improved existing preventative maintenance procedures using the Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) methodology and analysis process.
  • Collaborate with customers, coordinate project activities with multidisciplinary engineering teams, and ensure customer milestones are attained.

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Top 10 Best States for Electrical Systems Engineers

  1. New Mexico
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Washington
  4. Alaska
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Rhode Island
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Arizona
  9. Virginia
  10. Maryland
  • (341 jobs)
  • (1,807 jobs)
  • (1,608 jobs)
  • (69 jobs)
  • (423 jobs)
  • (137 jobs)
  • (580 jobs)
  • (933 jobs)
  • (3,845 jobs)
  • (2,286 jobs)

Top Electrical Systems Engineer Employers

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Jobs From Top Electrical Systems Engineer Employers

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