Approximately 134,900 electronics engineers are employed in the United States, according to the Department of Labor. More engineers work in the electronics and electrical field than in any other division of engineering. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers reports that there are 10 key industry sectors in which engineers are employed: Aerospace, Bioengineering, Computers, Education and Research, Energy and Electric Power, Manufacturing, Semiconductors, Service Industry, Telecommunications, and Transportation and Automotive. Some work as private consultants.
Electronic engineering students may get their start in their career through an internship, work-study, or cooperative education program while in college. Students who have participated in these programs often receive permanent job offers from these companies, or they may obtain useful contacts that can lead to a job interview or offer.
Electronics engineering students also conduct their own employment search and apply directly to the companies that interest them. They research companies using resources found online or through public libraries, such as company directories and annual reports.
Other methods used to find employment opportunities include school career services offices, employment agencies, and state employment offices. Professional associations for engineers also post employment opportunities in their career sections and job boards.
Electronics engineer have many avenues for advancement. An electronics engineer straight out of college will usually take a job as an entry-level engineer and advance to higher positions after acquiring some job experience and technical skills. Those with strong technical skills who show leadership ability and good communications skills may move into positions that involve supervising teams of engineers and making sure they are working efficiently. Engineers can advance from these positions to that of a chief engineer. The chief engineer usually oversees all projects and has authority over project managers and managing engineers.
Many companies provide structured programs to train new employees and prepare them for advancement. These programs usually rely heavily on formal training opportunities such as in-house development programs and seminars. Some companies also provide special programs for electronics engineers through colleges, universities, and outside agencies. Engineers usually advance from junior-level engineering positions to more senior-level positions through a series of positions. Engineers may also specialize in a specific area once they have acquired the necessary experience and skills.
Some engineers move into sales and managerial positions, with some engineers leaving the electronics industry to seek top-level management positions with other types of firms. Other engineers set up their own firms in design or consulting. Engineers can also move into the academic field and become teachers at high schools or universities.
The key to advancing in the electronics field is keeping pace with technological changes, which occur rapidly in this field. Electronics engineers will need to pursue additional training throughout their careers in order to stay up to date on new technologies and techniques.
Read publications to learn more about trends in the industry and potential employers. Find a variety of publications and journals on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Web site, https://www.ieee.org/publications/index.html.
Visit the IEEE job site for career news and advice, job postings, salary calculators, and other resources, https://jobs.ieee.org.
Join professional associations such as the IEEE to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities. Visit the students section of the IEEE's Web site to learn more, https://students.ieee.org.
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