10 Key Skills You Need to Be an Electrical Engineer

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When you decide to become an electrical engineer, you are committing yourself to a profession that involves developing, designing, testing and supervising the manufacture of electrical equipment and equipment, including navigation systems, electric motors, and power generation equipment. is included.

Therefore, to be able to handle such complex concepts and principles, and to understand how to apply them in real-life projects, you must have a very unique and tailored skill. In fact, it is no secret that a large proportion of engineering students drop out or change courses, with a lack of preparation often cited as the biggest reason for this unusually high attrition rate. .

So, to see if you have what it takes to stay the course and develop a promising career in the field, here are the top 10 electrical engineering skills you’ll need.

1. Problem Solving

Regardless of their discipline, engineers are, at their core, problem solvers. This is especially true in electrical engineering, where you often need to think logically and apply a particular rule or concept to solve a problem.

This is easier said than done, sure, but there are many techniques that can improve your approach to problem solving. After all, there’s no point in having all that expertise if you don’t know how to troubleshoot problems or properly approach a new project.

2. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a broad skill that can be applied to a wide range of situations, but it is just as important in electrical engineering. When you’re trying to achieve a certain goal with your project, having the ability to see things differently or have a different approach to the ideal can make a big difference.

It involves analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the project or problem in front of you and presenting alternative solutions, approaches and conclusions – all key aspects of critical thinking.

3. Basic Circuit Knowledge

Electrical design can become a very complex subject, particularly where large installations are concerned (such as the energy grid) or even within highly advanced pieces of small hardware (such as those used in smartphones). . So, if you have any hope of getting to grips with all of this, you need to have a solid understanding of basic circuit design first.

If you struggle with the fundamentals during your physics lessons in school, you need to ask yourself if electrical engineering really interests you. In the meantime, working on small (and safe!) projects in after-school clubs or in your own time can help develop your knowledge and dexterity.

4. Communication

There is hardly a profession in the world where the ability to communicate is not important, and electrical engineering is no different.

Whether it is understanding client needs and requirements, working within project teams to develop or improve a piece of hardware, or working with other departments and stakeholders, communication skills are an essential part of the role.

5. Electronic Troubleshooting

It is an essential skill for every electrical engineer.

Electronic troubleshooting involves fault installation, location and correction through the use of measurement and diagnostic tools. The level of difficulty depends on what equipment you will need to work with and repair; In some cases, you may need to test each appliance component individually to make sure everything works properly.

Analyzing, approaching and repairing electronic circuits is the bread and butter of this profession, so it is a skill that needs to be perfected to progress in your field.

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6. Organization

The ability to organize and manage your time is important for an electrical engineer, as most of your work will be time-sensitive or project-based, regardless of what area of ​​engineering you specialize in.

However, it is not only in the workplace that these skills will come in handy. They will also prove invaluable during your studies, where you will learn and understand complex subjects on top of everything that higher education demands. Being able to manage it all and stay on top – especially during exam season – will put you in good stead.

7. Arithmetic

A common problem for electrical engineering students is that their mathematical background is not strong enough. Therefore, it is important to focus on calculus in school, as well as taking as many math-related electives as possible at university.

8. Creative Thinking

Engineers are not only problem-solvers – they are also pioneers. Whether it is large scale or simple, the solutions they provide change the way we live; So, to be able to detect and implement such radical ideas, you have to be able to think outside the box.

This is especially true in the commercial sector, where electronics giants are constantly competing to develop new and exciting technologies; This is also an essential quality that top engineering schools look for potential candidates. Remember: You may have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t know how to be creative and explore new possibilities with it, you will be left behind.

9. Programming

Although coding is more important in some areas of electrical engineering than in others, it is still a very useful skill, especially when working with low-level embedded systems or analyzing data.

Java, C, C++ and BASIC are the most useful languages ​​to learn in this area, although any programming knowledge you can bring to the table is valuable. In the long run, this will definitely make your job easier as well as boost your CV, so if you haven’t already, take some time to pick up some coding skills.

10. Leadership

Engineers are often required to work within multidisciplinary teams throughout the duration of a project. In addition to their core engineering duties, they may also have to guide their peers, make strategic decisions, and optimize each phase of an ongoing project. As a leader, you will be tasked with overseeing the entire product lifecycle, implementing new processes, and setting goals for your entire team.

Good project management skills and the ability to lead a team, if not an organization as a whole, may be essential to advance within your role and pursue managerial opportunities in your field.

final thoughts

As you can see, the career of an electrical engineer — as is the case with many STEM professions — is demanding.

In addition to possessing the requisite technical knowledge, it is imperative for you to include other key soft skills in your employability repertoire, such as decision making and attention to detail.

The rewards are high, however, as electrical engineering is one of the highest paying fields in the industry.

join the conversation! Are there any other skills you would recommend to a potential electrical engineer? Let us know in the comments section below!

This article is an update of an earlier version published in April 2015 and includes contributions from staff writer Melina Theodoro.

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