Electronics engineer: job description
Electronics engineers create, design and develop everyday devices such as mobile phones, portable music devices and computers. Electronic engineering offers the chance to produce new innovations and developments in telecommunications, robotics, computing hardware, and power and electrical equipment.
There is plenty of scope to specialise within the field, with areas of expertise including audio, visual and light electronic equipment; control systems and automation; and microelectronics (computer chips) and telecommunications. There is currently a shortage of electronics engineers around the world – a situation likely to continue for some time to come. Typical duties for an electronics engineer include:
- using a mix of science and maths, along with engineering techniques, to design, produce, install and maintain telecommunications systems
- designing and managing equipment used to control and monitor processes, systems and machinery in many different areas
- using and designing systems to control pressures and temperatures and to manage waste in manufacturing industries
- writing specifications and drawing up theoretical designs to create user-friendly interfaces
- planning projects and preparing and managing budgets
- writing technical reports and keeping up to date with developments in technology and regulations
- evaluating operational systems and recommending design modifications to eliminate causes of malfunctions or changes in system requirements
- using computer-assisted engineering (CAE) and design software and equipment to perform engineering tasks
You can find out more about electronic engineering by reading our electronics industry sector overview, written by an experienced electronics engineer.
- Telecommunications providers – mobile phones, radio, TV and satellite companies
- Manufacturers and providers of PCs, tablets and ATM machines
- Scientific research – acoustics, optics, physics and nanotechnology
- Medical device and medical instrument manufacturers
- Aviation and aerospace companies
- The manufacturing sector – programmable logic controls (PLCs) and industrial machinery developers
There are also lots of opportunities with smaller engineering employers. You can find help on finding and applying for jobs with smaller engineering companies here.
Jobs are advertised online, by careers services and recruitment agencies, in newspapers and in relevant publications including: TARGETjobs Engineering, Computer Weekly, The Engineer, Electronics Weekly and Electrical Review. Starting salaries for graduates are estimated by TARGETjobs Engineering to be in the £18,000–£25,000 range at small to medium businesses, but larger employers may pay above that. Head to our engineering salary round-up to find out more about what you could earn as an engineer.
Many employers offer final-year project work, degree sponsorship, vacation work and industrial placements, which can provide valuable contacts and a useful insight into the profession. Take a look at our list of engineering employers who offer industrial placements and summer internships.
- If you'd like some guidance on applying for engineering jobs or internships, take a look at our engineering CV and covering letter tips and our advice on filling out online applications.
There are routes into an electronic engineering career for both university graduates and school leavers. Graduates will need an engineering degree and, while undertaking an MEng in electronic engineering is the most obvious route, graduates in other engineering disciplines can make their way in to the field. Some employers will ask for a 2.1 degree but others will accept candidates with a 2.2 degree. Take a look at our list of engineering employers that accept 2.2 degrees
The fastest route to gaining chartered engineer status is to take an accredited MEng degree, followed by at least four years’ vocational training with an accredited employer. To find out more, take a look at our guide to chartership.
To find out how you can get into this career via a school leaver route (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver training programme) see the engineering section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers. There are apprenticeships available in electronic engineering, but many of these lead to technician posts, and more training may be required to progress.
A career as an electronics engineer can lead in many directions and the long-term opportunities are excellent. For those with strong initiative, interpersonal, teamwork and project management skills, opportunities exist to move into managerial and consulting roles.
- Complex problem-solving skills and a methodical mind
- Critical thinking
- Strong interest in technology
- Aptitude for maths
- Communications skills
- Strong IT skills
- Time management and an ability to prioritise and plan work effectively
Read our article on the skills engineering employers look for for more information and then find out how you can prove you possess these competencies at engineering assessment centres.