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Electrical engineer: Job description

Electrical engineers design, develop and maintain electrical control systems and/or components to required specifications, focusing on economy, safety, reliability, quality and sustainability.

They design and manufacture electrical equipment for use across many sectors, including:

  • the building industry and services, including lighting, heating and ventilation;
  • transportation and transport networks;
  • manufacturing and construction;
  • production and distribution of power.

Electrical engineers are involved in projects from the concept and detail of the design through to implementation, testing and handover. They may also be involved in maintenance programmes.

As well as having technical knowledge, electrical engineers need to be able to project manage and multitask. They also need to have commercial awareness. Additional attributes, such as team leadership or management skills, are required as careers progress.

Typical work activities

Most electrical engineers work in a multi-disciplinary project team, which is likely to include engineers from other specialist areas as well as architects, marketing and sales staff, manufacturers, technicians and customer service personnel. They may also work with representatives from client organisations.

Depending on the employer, the electrical engineer may be involved at every stage of design and development or may just be involved at one particular stage. The nature of the role varies according to industry or sector, but the range of activities common to many posts is likely to include:

  • identifying customer requirements;
  • designing systems and products;
  • reading design specifications and technical drawings;
  • researching suitable solutions and estimating costs and timescales;
  • making models and prototypes of products using three-dimensional design software;
  • working to British (BS), European (EN) and other standards;
  • liaising with others in the design team;
  • liaising with clients and contractors;
  • attending meetings on site;
  • designing and conducting tests;
  • recording, analysing and interpreting test data;
  • proposing modifications and retesting products;
  • qualifying the final product or system;
  • servicing and maintaining equipment;
  • preparing product documentation, writing reports and giving presentations;
  • monitoring a product in use to improve on future design.

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AGCAS
Written by AGCAS editors
Date: 
August 2013
 

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