Electrical engineering is a field of engineering which is mostly concerned with the application of electricity, electromagnetism and electronics.
You could be designing, developing and maintaining electrical control systems and components, focusing on a number of things including safety and sustainability. There will be a certain amount of analysing data as well as testing and ensuring that inspection and maintenance programmes are carried out.
What skills and qualifications will I need?
Your maths, science and IT skills need to be excellent. For most electrical engineering roles, you will also need normal colour vision.
You will need to demonstrate that you are up to date with relevant technical knowledge and with the latest sector knowledge, before moving onto demonstrating job related experience.
You’ll need to be flexible and able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing – there will be teams to carry out the projects and most of the time you will be working with other specialists. You could be working in any kind of location depending on the project that you are focusing on – anywhere from a workshop to an office or factory. You may be leading a project so make a note of any times that you have gained experience in team building or people management. At any one time you will be dealing with many issues – show that you are able to multi-task in a calm way. Sometimes you may have to deal with other specialists who are unfamiliar with your technical language – therefore you’ll need to be able to adapt your communication to use layman’s terms.
You will have leadership and management skills and the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. As well as this, you will need commercial awareness, be able to problem solve and analyse information successfully and be looking for continued professional development.
There may be opportunities to work for the Ministry of Defence and there would then be security implications so you would need to pass security clearance and be a UK citizen in order to take up this kind of role.
You can further your studies by gaining chartered engineering status and then you could move to become a consultant.
What else do I need to know?
There will be roles available across many industries and sectors:
Transport networks and transportation
The Armed Forces
Power and energy companies
Manufacturing and construction
Production and the distribution of power
Building industry and services within it including Lighting, Heating and Ventilation
As an electrical engineer you will probably be involved in project work – often within multidisciplinary teams. The teams will include specialists from other areas including architects, marketing and sales staff, technicians and manufacturers. The project work can begin with the concept and design and follow through with implementation, testing and the final handover.
Women are under-represented in the industry and there are initiatives to encourage them to join the field – WISE and WES will include more information.
Entry into the industry is usually with an electronic or electrical engineering degree – but you could join with another relevant degree such as one in –
Building services engineering
Computing or software engineering
Physics or applied physics
If you are able to get some relevant work experience during your degree, either paid or voluntary it will be to your advantage – sometimes the course will include a year’s industrial placement – then you will gain valuable insights into the kind of roles available and are likely to make contacts which could be useful when you are applying for a job.
Where can I get more information?
If you are interested in working overseas – then look for large companies based in the oil, petro-chemical or power sectors, as well as large building or consultancy firms.
Encouraging gender balance - https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk
Women’s Engineering Society - http://www.wes.org.uk
If you haven’t yet chosen your course – look to ensure that it is accredited by a professional body like the IET – Institution of Engineering & Technology. Then you can go on to become a chartered engineer or an incorporated engineer once you are qualified.
As a student you can have membership of an engineering institution such as the IET – you will have access to newsletters and updated information, build your network and familiarise yourself with the industry.
Good luck from the mybrink team!