Electrical engineers work with all kinds of electronics, ranging from computer circuits to fuel cells. Many engineers work in one specialized field, like the automotive or computer industries, for the majority of their career. You should follow a general path to become an electrical engineer and then specialize your education if you want to work in a specific area or field.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.
Major in electrical engineering during your undergraduate years in college. Consider taking on an academic minor if you think you'll have enough time to do the extra course work. Minors in management, a second language or a science like chemistry or physics tend to complement engineering well.
Look for student electrical engineering clubs and activities to help you apply what you learned in the classroom. For example, many engineering schools participate in nationwide solar-powered car-building events or robotics competitions. Remember that these clubs also help you build your resume and list of professional references.
Try to do some undergraduate research with one of your professors. Getting research experience during your first three years of college will help you if you have to complete a research project during your senior year. You'll also be able to network with people in the industry by meeting the financial sponsors of your professor's research.
Join an organization for electrical engineers. Some groups, including the popular Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, even have student chapters (see Resources below). Groups such as the IEEE can help you search online job listings and upload your resume for potential employers to look at.
Continue to stay up to date on electrical engineering advancements. If you want to become an excellent engineer, you'll need to realize that your education doesn't end when you finish college. Talk to your employer about paying for subscriptions to trade magazines or even funding your graduate studies.
Tips and warnings
- The job market is very competitive for recent electrical engineering graduates. If you want to become an engineer right out of school, you'll probably need intern experience and extracurricular activities to help your resume stand out.
- Most colleges offer two career fairs that you should go to. Attend the first during your junior year to look for an internship, then go to the second as a senior to speak about job opportunities after graduation.
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