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Engineering
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What jobs can you do with an electronic engineering degree?

Careers for electronic engineering graduates can be found in a whole host of industries, from automotive to utilities.

An electronic engineering degree appears to lead in some fairly obvious directions – to the electronics industry, for example. However, the options are much broader than this, both within the engineering industry and outside it.

Engineering industries that accept electronic engineering graduates

Electronic engineering graduates are typically accepted into the following industries. However, different employers will have different requirements, so do check out companies individually.

  • Aerospace industry
  • Automotive industry
  • Construction industry
  • Defence industry
  • Electronics industry
  • Fast moving consumer goods industry
  • Marine industry
  • Oil and gas industry
  • Pharmaceuticals industry
  • Power generation industry
  • Rail industry
  • Telecoms
  • Utilities industry

An electronic engineer’s job in different industries

  • Electronics is now an important part of the automotive industry, for example for engine control units, dashboard indicators, air-conditioning, safety systems, braking systems and info-tainment systems. 
  • If you join the defence industry, expect to expand your knowledge of different engineering disciplines. BAE System’s enterprise integration manager Paul Jones comments: ‘At BAE systems – and at most other defence companies – engineers today mainly work at system level. Defence systems are now so integrated that engineers need to operate cross-discipline, for example using a mixture of mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering knowledge.’
  • In the electronics sector you could work in roles such as design engineering (designing a product or component prior to launch) or applications engineering (supporting a product for its entire life).
  • Electronic engineering graduates are very welcome in the fast moving consumer goods industry. In this sector they will often develop a broad engineering skill set rather than focusing solely on electronic engineering issues. Chris Traynor, careers adviser and former engineer and engineering recruiter, explains: ‘Almost all the graduate roles are in one of two areas: manufacturing/engineering or supply network operations/logistics. And for both of these areas graduates from different disciplines would be doing similar jobs as each other. Graduates will pick up skills from other disciplines as they go through their training and career.’
  • Paul Clarke, an asset developer at EDF Energy – Generation, outlines typical roles in the power generation industry. He explains: ‘Electronic engineers are often involved in maintaining control and instrumentation plant items (SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), DCS (distributed control system), instruments, telephony, data networks, etc).’
  • In the rail engineering sector, ‘Electronic engineers could be involved with signalling and advanced railway control systems, as well as telecoms,’ says Jerry England, group asset management director at Network Rail. He adds: ‘It may be worth noting that we own and operate the third largest telecoms network in the UK.’
  • Neil Pullen, director of gas transmission asset management at National Grid, describes roles for electronic engineers in the utilities sector. He comments: ‘Electronic engineers can find many roles in telecoms. There are also many roles for them in energy, for example designing and running complex control systems – eg those needed to run the National Grid or to control a nuclear power station.’

In a related vein, electronic engineers are often welcome to apply to technical roles in the IT industry – don’t assume that only computer scientists or software engineers are sought.

Non-engineering jobs for electronic engineering graduates

Professor Patrick McNally from the School of Electronic Engineering, Dublin City University, is keen to encourage electronic engineering students to think beyond the obvious career options.

He comments: ‘Graduates are well positioned to gain employment in a range of fields that rely on their analytical and solutions-orientated training. Over the past years we have seen our graduates gain employment in companies involved in consulting, legal practice (especially patent related), finance, logistics and education.’

If you’re keen to explore career paths outside engineering, start by reading What can I do with an engineering degree, apart from being an engineer? for ideas of non-engineering careers that relate to the engineering sector. You can then explore your options further at targetjobs.co.uk.

In particular, you might like to consider options such as consulting, law (eg intellectual property law), financial services, sales and pre-sales, IT and education, which are areas in which you can put your analytical skills and high levels of numeracy to good use.

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