Job Outlook for Electrical Engineering

electrical engineering job outlook

What is Electrical Engineering?

Electrical engineering dates to the 19th century when pioneers like Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell were making advancements in alternating current, battery storage, and a device that could turn electricity into sound. Electrical engineering is relatively young compared to other disciplines, but it has developed and evolved far more quickly since the days of Tesla.

Because technologies have rapidly advanced, the definition of electrical engineering might be different depending on who you ask. Still, at its core, electrical engineering is about harnessing electricity to power our world.

Over time, the field of electrical engineering has branched out into a wide range of subfields, including power generation and transmission, batteries and energy storage systems, wireless communications, electronics, controls, and instrumentation.

How Can I Become an Electrical Engineer?

Although there are numerous career paths for an electrical engineer, most electrical engineering bachelor programs will consist of core curriculum:

  • Circuit analysis
  • Digital design
  • Power and energy
  • Continuous time signals and discrete time signals
  • Controls
  • Plus, essential math and physics related courses

Character traits of Electrical Engineers

Because of the course requirements, becoming an electrical engineer requires certain character traits and attributes. Engineers often must solve complex problems, so an electrical engineer must be adept at creating, evaluating, and implementing solutions. Electrical engineers also utilize computer design programs, so you should be tech-savvy and comfortable working with computers. Electrical engineering is a STEM field, so students that choose this path should expect to also become well-versed in the areas of science, technology, and mathematics that are related to electrical engineering.

It's important to note that in order to become licensed by the National Society of Professional Engineers, engineers must complete a four-year college degree.

What Are Some Career Opportunities for Electrical Engineers?

Because electrical engineering has numerous subfields, there are many career paths available with no shortage of industry options. At Progressive, we place electrical engineers across different industries, including utilities and renewable energy. Electrical engineers can also serve a wide range of roles within these industries, such as designers and project managers.

Electrical engineers are in such high demand that many companies are restructuring their benefits and compensation packages to attract top talent, making it an excellent time to pursue a career in electrical engineering.

Emilee Vogler, Renewable Energy consultant at Progressive, notes: “Many companies are willing to pay more for electrical engineers who are open to in-office/hybrid work options. They want people who are passionate about engineering, about the societal impact their work will have, and about collaboration and contributing to a positive company culture."

Are Electrical Engineers Paid Well?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of electrical engineers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, with nearly 23,000 new job openings projected each year over the decade. By 2030, the number of electrical engineers employed in the solar energy industry is expected to grow by nearly 25 percent. Electrical engineers employed in the wind energy industry is projected to grow by almost 52 percent.

As of May 2020, the median annual wage for electrical engineers was $100,830, with the highest ten percent earning more than $159,520, according to the BLS. Electric power generation, transmission and distribution is among the top paying industries for electrical engineers.

Not only are electrical engineers paid well, but they will also find many attractive benefits packages in today's job market.

Emilee adds: "It's a candidate's market, so many companies are beefing up their employment benefits to compete and attract top engineering talent. Incentives such as relocation assistance and equity, as well as unlimited paid time off (PTO), are becoming increasingly popular."

If you're an electrical engineer seeking career opportunities, Progressive is here to support you and take the stress out of finding your next role. Contact us today to get in touch with a consultant!

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