Career Prospects of an Electrical Engineering Graduate

Anyone who’s ever experienced a major power outage would appreciate just how crucial electricity is to our everyday lives. Lights, motors and countless other devices need electricity to operate. This is where electrical engineers come in. 


What is Electrical Engineering? 

Electrical Engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. 

It involves physics, mathematics and covers sub fields such as electronics, telecommunications, control systems, signal processing as well as computers. This engineering branch also covers power systems. 


Brief History of Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is one of the newer branches of engineering which dates back to the late 19th century. Experiments with electricity included primitive batteries and static charges. 

However, the actual design, construction and manufacturing of useful devices and systems began with the implementation of Michael Faraday’s Law of Induction, which became the foundation of Electrical Engineering. It essentially states that, “The voltage in a circuit is proportional to the rate of change in the magnetic field through the circuit.”

This law applies to the basic principles of the electric generator, electric motor and the transformer. The advent of the modern age is marked by the introduction of electricity to homes, businesses, and industry all of which were made possible by Electrical Engineers.


What do Electrical Engineers Do?

Electrical Engineers work in a very wide range of industries and the skills required are likewise variable. These range from basic circuit theory to the management skills required of a project manager. 

They apply the physics and mathematics of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism to both large and small scale systems to process information and transmit energy. 

To do this electrical engineers design computers, electronic devices, communication systems, test equipment, electric power networks and improve systems through problem solving techniques. 

The tools and equipment that an individual engineer may need are similarly variable, ranging from a simple voltmeter to a top end analyser to sophisticated design and manufacturing software.

The job duties of electrical engineers depend on the industry they are in but could include:

  • Carrying out feasibility studies for new technical developments,
  • Drawing up project plans and circuit diagrams using computer assisted-engineering and design software,
  • Estimating costs and project timings,
  • Coordinating the work of technicians and craftspeople,
  • Testing installations and systems and analyzing test data,
  • Making sure projects meet safety regulations,
  • Oversee inspection and maintenance programs,
  • Attending meetings, writing reports and giving presentations.


They usually work on projects with other professionals like Civil Engineers, Architects and Engineering Technicians.


The Skills Required in Electrical Engineering are:

  • Circuit Designing
  • Instrumentation Electrical Measurements
  • Power Transmission and Transmission Lines Fundamentals
  • Electrical Drives and Electrical Machinery
  • Power Electronics
  • Renewable Energy Fundamentals
  • Microcontrollers and Programming Languages
  • Presentation and Communication Skills
  • Fundamentals of Electrical Power Generation and Maintenance of Electrical Power Plants
  • Control Systems and Control Machinery
  • Quality Control Analysis

Why study Electrical Engineering? 

Here are some of the top reasons why you should study electrical engineering:

  1. Electrical engineers are always in demand. This means you will have good job prospects once you graduate with an electrical engineering degree. 
  2. Electrical engineers have good salaries. 
  3. Electrical engineering plays an important role in the development of new technologies for numerous industries including robotics, transportation, and healthcare. 
  4. The electrical engineering field is dynamic and continues to grow and expand. 
  5. You can choose to broaden your professional scope into the many subfields or related fields. 
  6. The laws of mathematics and physics are universal. As such, you will be able to choose to work in any country you wish. There are many international companies who need electrical engineers. 
  7. An electrical engineering degree is more affordable compared to fields such as medicine. 


Who Should Study Electrical Engineering? 

The engineering profession may not be for everyone as some people just have more natural affinity towards it. Consider the following if you’re trying to decide if electrical engineering is the career for you. 


  • You have a love for technology
    Electrical engineers will learn how to create and build hardware for websites and applications to run on. You will be working with computers, phones as well as tablets and will need to know at least the basics of technologically advanced products.
    Even though you may not be building technologically advanced products per se, an electrical engineering course will allow you to explore the wonders of modern technology. 


  • You are always looking for ways to make things function better
    You will definitely love studying electrical and electronic engineering if you’re constantly looking for ways to make things work efficiently. This is because fixing and improving this will be part of your job. You will get to push the boundaries of technology with creative innovations. 


  • You’re somehow just able to fix electronic things
    Do you seem to be the one that your family and friends come to when something at home is not working? A large part of being an electronic engineer is your ability to troubleshoot and fix electrical parts. 


  • You want to learn and improve
    You need to be able to keep yourself motivated to learn as you may well face numerous trial and errors before you become a successful electrical engineer. Having a passion to learn also means that you will keep up to date with the latest development in this fast changing, fluid field. 


  • You are able to work in a team
    Collaborating with others in the field is inevitable. You will have to work with fellow students during your electrical engineering course. This will prepare you to work with other people such as other engineers, contractors and designers once you have graduated.
    However, do not worry if you’re not used to working in a team. Stay open, learn to build trust among your team members and build on each other’s strength. You may well find that working as a team enables you to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. 


  • You’re good at critical thinking and problem solving
    As an electrical engineer, you will most likely face issues in designs, systems and programming very often. As such, you will need to be able to think and solve problems even when you feel stressed out. Creativity is an added advantage. 


Electrical engineering study opportunities in Malaysia

In Malaysia, electrical engineers are in high demand. As this country continues to develop, electrical engineering is a field that will continue to expand to keep up with the nation’s growth. 

As such, electrical engineering courses are increasingly popular among students who have completed their secondary or high school education. Because of the growing number of students opting for this course, most tertiary education institutions offer electrical engineering courses that are designed to give students a jumpstart in this field.  


Electrical Engineering Scope

Electrical engineering has now been subdivided into a wide range of subfields including electronics, digital computers, power engineering, telecommunications, control systems, radio-frequency engineering, signal processing, instrumentation, and microelectronics. 

Many of these sub-disciplines overlap with other engineering branches, spanning a huge number of specializations such as hardware engineering, power electronics, electromagnetics & waves, microwave engineering, nanotechnology, electrochemistry, renewable energies, mechatronics, electrical materials science, and many more.


The most common industries to apply are:

  • Oil and Gas Extraction:
    Electrical Engineers would help develop and maintain equipment. They primarily focus on designing electrical supply systems and equipment specifications needed at planets, drilling rigs, offshore platforms, and pipeline monitoring stations.


  • Computer System Designs:
    The Electrical Engineer would be designing new computer hardware and peripherals.


  • Aerospace Manufacturing Navigation:
    Design aircraft electrical systems. The Electrical Engineer would do research, develop, evaluate electronic devices using aviation, including satellites, flight systems, and communications systems.


  • Semiconductor and Associated Parts Manufacturing.
    Building a computer requires a number of parts, many of which are very small and must be manufactured to very precise specifications. A variety of products use semiconductors including music players, global positioning systems, computers and automobiles. The job of the Electrical Engineer would be to make parts smaller while making them faster, more powerful and more dependable. 


  • Consumer electronics
    Also known as home electronics, consumer electronics are electronic devices that are used in homes. Consumer electronics are some of the most commonly used forms of electronic devices. They include televisions, laptops, washing machines, refrigerators, computers and tablets. Electrical engineers play a large role in designing, improving and advancing these products. 


  • Telecommunications
    The exchange of information via electronic processes is referred to as telecommunications. Electronic engineers are needed to design and continuously improve phones, mobile devices, satellites, broadcasting equipment and other communication tools. 


  • Construction industry
    You might be surprised that electrical engineers are also needed in the construction industry. The responsibilities of electrical engineers in construction sites include designing, testing, installing as well as maintaining the electrical systems in the building. 


  • Government institutions like defence, traffic control departments, transportation, etc
    Electrical engineers are also needed in many government institutions such as defence, traffic control departments, transportation and many more. In fact, many of the systems we enjoy and sometimes take for granted are put in place by electrical engineers. Wherever you find electrical systems and electrical devices, an electrical engineer would have played a role in its development. 


How Much Money Do Electrical Engineers Make?

According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics electrical engineers earn a median salary of $93,000 per year. Salaries typically start from $59,240 and go up to $146,820. The top 10 % of Electrical Engineers earn a monthly salary of $10,972 or more.

In addition, electrical engineers with a Master’s Degree or Professional License improve their attractiveness to employers and may qualify for higher wages. 

The average Engineer with a Master’s Degree in any field earns approximately $900 more per month than one with a Bachelor’s Degree.

The average salary of a fresh electrical engineering graduate in Malaysia would be RM 47,000 a year.

The top companies hiring electrical engineers are:

  • ExxonMobil International
  • Shell Global
  • International Business Machines (IBM)
  • Google
  • Apple
  • General Electric
  • BMW Group
  • KLIA Holdings
  • Top Glove
  • Gagasan Sentral
  • Tesla
  • Boeing
  • Intel


Future Progression

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is projected to grow by 4% between now and 2020.  

The rapid pace of technological innovation and development will likely drive demand for Electrical and Electronics Engineers in research and development, an area in which engineering expertise will be needed to develop distribution systems related to new technologies


In Summary

An Electrical Engineer has a chance to work with great people and to work on multi-million-dollar projects in a challenging, volatile and exciting industry. 

You are part of something that is very important, which is constantly moving and evolving. 

You will be dealing and talking with governments about their energy needs and how you will provide energy for citizens and get fantastic exposure to some of the real critical issues going on in the energy industry right now. 

Delivering your goals requires a multidisciplinary approach and also a commercial mindset, where you will be regularly working in teams of various sizes. Hence, thinking beyond the technical is a must.

But being an Electrical Engineer, you are just not limited there. 

You will get the opportunity to move around, see different parts of the business and apply your knowledge in those areas.

You will be able to go everywhere you want. 

You stand a chance to progress your career with global energy leaders and expand your horizons, along with an opportunity to make an impact on the future of the industry. 

As an Electrical Engineer, you’ll play a key role in successful project delivery and work alongside fellow creative thinkers, problem solvers and innovators keen to push boundaries. 

Thinking of pursuing a career in electrical engineering? Come and check out UOW Malaysia KDU's Engineering courses here.

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