Engineering design

Electrical engineer

Electrical engineers design, build and maintain electrical systems, machinery and equipment.

Annual Salary

£21,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Electrical engineer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your day-to-day tasks depend on the industry you're in, but could include:

  • carrying out feasibility studies for new technical developments
  • drawing up project plans and circuit diagrams using computer-assisted engineering and design software
  • estimating costs and project timings
  • coordinating the work of technicians and craftspeople
  • testing installations and systems, and analysing test data
  • making sure projects meet safety regulations
  • overseeing inspection and maintenance programmes
  • attending meetings, writing reports and giving presentations

You'll usually work on projects with other professionals, like civil engineers, architects and engineering technicians.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

University

You can do a degree in electrical or electronic engineering. You may also be able to get into this career with a degree in:

  • electromechanical engineering
  • building services engineering
  • applied physics
  • aeronautical engineering
  • mechatronics

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

College

You could do a Level 4 and 5 Higher National Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at college before looking for work.

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

Apprenticeship

You could do an electrical and electronic technical support engineer higher apprenticeship.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

Work

You could start as an electrical engineering technician and do training on the job to qualify as an engineer.

Direct application

You can apply for jobs if you've got qualifications and several years' experience in a related area of engineering, for example electronics.

Further information

You can find more details about careers and training from Electrical Careers and The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

£21,000 to £45,000

Starter salary: £21,000 to £25,000

Experienced salary: £25,000 to £40,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

You'll usually work around 40 hours a week. You may have to work occasional overtime to meet deadlines.

You could be based in an office, factory, production plant, workshop, power station or research facility.

You may need your own transport to get from site to site.

You could work in different industries, from power and renewable energy to transport, construction and manufacturing.

You can improve your career prospects with incorporated or chartered engineer status. Chartered status can help you move into electrical design and project management roles, specialise in a particular field, or work as an engineering consultant.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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