Equipped with a diverse skill set, an electrical engineer can work in various industries ranging from research and development and telecommunications to manufacturing services. The right education can qualify you for some of the highest-paying electrical engineering jobs. This article will provide job descriptions and salaries for electrical engineering professionals to help you get started on your career path.
Do you like tinkering with electrical equipment or managing navigation systems and earning top dollar while doing it? Are you considering becoming an electrical engineer and are wondering what types of jobs you could land? If so, keep reading as we walk you through the best paying jobs in electronic components and electrical engineering.
What Jobs Are Available to Electrical Engineers?
There are many electrical engineering jobs available in a range of specialties. Computer engineering, systems engineering, power engineering, telecommunications, radio-frequency engineering, and hardware engineering are all specializations that fall under the electrical engineering umbrella.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical and electronics engineers often find employment in private research and development industries and engineering services firms. Some work for the federal government, mainly under the military and the transportation bureau.
Electrical engineer careers are versatile, and these professionals can work with various electrical systems and electronic devices depending on their chosen specialization. They can work on radar and navigation systems, broadcast and communications systems, power generation equipment, and electrical equipment like electric motors.
Some industries that provide jobs for electrical engineers include automotive, marine, railroad, aerospace, defense, consumer electronics, commercial construction, computers and components, telecommunications, and traffic control. Electrical engineers can also work in different government institutions and departments.
10 Highest-Paying Jobs for Electrical Engineers
|Job Title||Average Salary||Top 10% Salary|
|Hardware Design Engineer||$137,931||$209,000|
|Machine Learning Engineer||$129,453||$206,000|
|Electronics Design Engineer||$106,176||$164,000|
|Digital Signal Processing Engineer||$86,710||$141,000|
|Computer Hardware Engineer||$79,320||$121,000|
10 Highest-Paying Jobs for Electrical Engineers: A Closer Look
It’s essential to understand the demand of various job market sectors to help you check and plan your possible career paths. Salary ranges vary depending on several factors like levels of education, certifications, specialized skills, and practical experience. Below is the breakdown of the 10 highest-paying electrical engineering jobs.
1. Hardware Design Engineer
Hardware design engineers create and develop electronic components such as circuit boards and processors for computers and other electronic devices to meet customers’ needs. This specialist needs to know firmware languages like C++, VHDL, and Verilog to program and debug hardware components.
To secure this engineering position, you need a Master’s Degree in Manufacturing Engineering or Design Engineering. The average base pay for a hardware design engineer is $137,931.
2. Machine Learning Engineer
One of the top-earning electrical engineering career paths is in the specialized field of machine learning engineering. To become one, you’ll need an advanced degree in computer science, math, statistics, or a Master’s Degree in Machine Learning, neural networks, or other related fields.
A machine learning (ML) engineer conceptualizes, builds, and designs automated predictive models with self-running artificial intelligence (AI) systems. ML engineers construct machine learning and AI systems for data scientists working on statistical and model-builds. A machine learning engineer’s common skills are advanced math and statistical skills, coding, and programming languages, including Python, Java, C++, and R.
3. Systems Engineer
System engineering is a field between engineering and engineering management. A systems engineer uses software engineering and advanced math concepts to design, implement, and manage computer systems, servers, and other electrical hardware. The goal is to increase workplace productivity.
One of the requirements is a bachelor’s degree majoring in digital systems design. Still, a graduate degree in computer science, software engineering, or any related engineering field is advantageous. This specialist earns an average annual wage of $111,709.
4. Electronics Design Engineer
Electronics design engineers create, develop, and produce new cutting-edge electronic equipment. They evaluate, maintain, and improve electronic devices and systems, such as portable music players, Global Positioning Systems devices, satellites, broadcast, aviation, and communication systems.
Electronics design engineers must have a bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program. The salaries for electrical engineer professionals with this specialization involve an average base pay of $106,176, with the top 10 percent earning as much as $164,000.
5. Software Engineer
A software engineer uses advanced math skills and computer science principles to design and develop applications and computer systems software. Software engineers are sought out in a variety of industries to develop operating systems, network control systems, business applications, and even computer games.
This specialist needs extensive knowledge in programming languages, software development, and computer operating systems. With a top-end salary of roughly $166,000, the software engineer career path is number five on this list.
6. Applications Engineer
An applications engineer supports the design and development process in turning a software concept into reality using technical standpoints to help product advancement. They conduct applications and software testing to drive modification and improvement.
Applications engineers need to learn source codes such as HTML to remove unnecessary codes and components. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for an applications engineer is $104,292.
7. Communication Engineer
The work of a communications engineer revolves around communications equipment and systems, which they help design, create, test, and set up. It is a specialized major within electronic communications engineering. The top industries where communications engineers can work are Internet and computing technologies, radio, networking, and telecommunications.
Apart from a bachelor’s degree, you must have strong technical skills and learn new technologies continuously. A communication engineer’s average pay is $93,645, with the pay range approximately falling between $73,000 and $121,000.
8. Digital Signal Processing Engineer
Digital signal processing, or DSP, engineers install, support, and convert digital signals for videos, audio, and pressure. They also design hardware, such as microprocessors and controllers. DSP engineers work in telecommunications, the space domain, and medical imaging, to name a few.
They need to be knowledgeable in MatLab and proficient in programming languages such as Python and GNU Octave. The median wage for a digital signal processing engineer is roughly $86,710.
9. Production Engineer
Production engineers oversee and improve the production of manufacturing plants and factories by drafting safety protocols and developing strategies to increase machine efficiency and profits. They enforce strict observation of all health and safety codes, ensure that trained workers use the machines correctly, and identify any issues in a production line.
Production engineers need a working knowledge of CAD software, a degree in engineering, and a professional license. The salaries for electrical engineer professionals working as production engineers can be as high as $127,000.
10. Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer hardware engineers create computer systems and components. This includes doing research, working on designs, and then developing and testing their creations, which can include processors, circuit boards, routers, and memory devices.
Some of the products that benefit from a hardware engineer’s output are new automobiles, home appliances, and medical diagnostic devices. These have Internet-ready computer systems built into them. Computer hardware engineers make an average base pay of $74,249.
Entry-Level Electrical Engineering Jobs
You can find entry-level electrical engineering jobs in fields such as communications, transportation, manufacturing, and electronics. You can land any of the following jobs with an electrical engineering degree.
- Electrical and electronics engineering technician
- Electrical and electronics drafter
- Electro-mechanical technician
- Junior electrical engineer
Remote Electrical Engineer Jobs
Most remote electrical engineer jobs require a few years of in-person experience and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. As a remote electrical engineer, you will likely still need to appear in person on occasion. Here are some electrical engineer jobs that can be completed primarily on a computer.
- Electrical designer
- Telecommunication engineer
- Machine learning engineer
- Computer hardware engineer
- Software engineer
Companies That Hire Electrical Engineers
There is a wide variety of industries for electrical engineers. Below are five of the best electrical engineering companies. These companies offer above-median wages, attractive bonuses, and competitive benefits packages.
- International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). This world-renowned technology corporation globally hires computer hardware engineers and software engineers. Apart from job growth and excellent skill development, IBM offers great salaries and compensation packages. The average salary for an IBM engineer is around $100,831.
- Rockwell Automation (ROK). This company is a pioneer in industrial and commercial automation products and information systems. It employs software engineers, product engineers, and other engineering majors for its information outlets, software applications, and automation components. Its estimated electrical engineer’s median salary is $123,056.
- Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS). This is the 2nd largest defense company globally, with a significant presence in fixed-wing strikes, weapons, and integrated missile system markets. It hires aeronautical engineers and electrical aerospace engineers, among others. The average salary for its engineers is roughly $137,000.
- CGI Group. This is one of the largest IT and business consulting services companies worldwide. New electrical engineering graduates are welcome to apply. Apart from its engineers’ average annual wage of $114,521, it offers incentive programs such as Share Purchase Plan and Profit Participation Plan.
- Nikola Corporation. This is a pioneer manufacturer of zero-emission trucks and heavy-duty commercial battery-electric vehicles, and fuel-cell electric vehicles. Aside from mechanical engineering jobs, it also hires electrical control engineers for its electronic equipment and control system. Its entry-level engineers’ average pay is $102,296.
Tips for Finding Success as an Electrical Engineer
Finding success as an electrical engineer can be challenging, as there are many qualified applicants with impressive credentials. Below are five tips to help you thrive in your chosen career.
- Get a degree from an educational institute that offers ABET-accredited engineering programs. The level of education needed to become a professional engineer is a bachelor’s or an associate degree in one of the electrical engineering majors.
- Obtain a postgraduate degree. If you want to advance in senior engineers’ positions, you’ll need a master’s or doctoral degree in a relevant field. Ensure it has accreditation from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). This accreditation will help you become an incorporated engineer (IEng) or chartered engineer (CEng) later in your career.
- Pursue additional training in advanced math and other related fields. Suppose you want career growth as a licensed engineer. In that case, you have to update your digital technology knowledge and keep up with new electrical engineering concepts.
- Gain practical experience. One of the easiest ways of gaining relevant work experience is on-the-job training. Under the guidance of an experienced engineer, you’ll get to use the necessary tools and equipment for the job. As you gain more work experience, your chances of getting a promotion also increase.
- Enhance your communication skills. Another tip for succeeding in your chosen field is working on your communication skills. This will help you present your ideas clearly and answer any questions regarding your project proposals, and build better relationships with the people you work with.
Jobs Outlook for Electrical Engineers
There is a moderate outlook for electrical engineering jobs in the coming years. The forecast shows that there’ll be a production of around 20,100 job opportunities annually for electrical engineers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical engineering is projected to grow by three percent between 2020 and 2030.
This growth is due to the rapid pace of technological innovation and advancement. Electrical engineers will be needed to plan new developments for consumer electronic devices, communications technologies, and electrical systems.
Should I Pursue a Job in Electrical Engineering?
You should pursue a job in electrical engineering if you have an aptitude for visualizing complex processes and objects in 3D. Most jobs in this field show a steady job outlook, and even entry-level positions can come with a strong paycheck. For example, BLS reports that electrical and electronic technicians earn an average wage of $68,310 per year.
Once you have a few years of experience and a two or four-year degree, you can land one of the highest-paying electrical engineering jobs, such as hardware design engineer or machine learning engineer.
Best Jobs for Electrical Engineer FAQ
An electrical engineer needs several critical skills aside from a firm understanding of electrical engineering concepts and a background in math to do detailed calculations. Important skills for an electrical engineer include computer proficiency, problem-solving, firmware know-how, statistical analysis, and effective communication skills.
Do electrical engineers need to learn to code?
No, not all electrical engineers need to learn to code. However, some electrical engineers do code on a regular basis. Coding can be necessary for electrical simulations, hardware configuration, and industrial automation, so learning tools like Python, C++, and MatLab will be beneficial.
Is electrical engineering difficult?
Yes, many people regard electrical engineering and all types of engineering majors as a complex discipline. Electrical engineering is difficult because of the number of math and physics subjects plus the amount of abstract thinking involved. If you like solving complicated problems, then engineering might be for you.
How much do electrical engineers make?
Electrical engineers make an average salary of $107,890 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 90 percent of earners make around $162,930, while the bottom 10 percent of earners make $62,360.