Electronic engineering is often confused with electrical engineering and it’s easy to see why.
They are very closely linked but the main difference is electrical engineering deals with larger scale production and distribution while electronic engineering deals with the smaller electronic circuits.
Now that’s clear, if you think electronic engineering is the area of your interest then why not consider a postgraduate degree? Let’s delve a little deeper into the information you’ll need.
What is electronic engineering?
Electronic engineering is concerned with utilizing nonlinear and active electrical components to design electronic circuits, devices, integrated circuits and their systems. It is a discipline of electrical engineering and may also be known as electronics and communications engineering.
There are four different areas within electronic engineering that you can specialise in. They are control engineering, instrumentation, signal processing and telecommunications engineering.
What does an electronic engineer do?
As an electronic engineer, you will typically work around 40 hours a week, however, working extra is very common in this field. The day to day duties of an electronic engineer may differ. Duties include:
- Design new systems and circuits alongside colleagues
- Discuss proposals and requests from clients
- Improve and alter exciting technology
- Test different designs
- Liaise with clients and colleagues
- Write technical reports
- Record and keep important documentation
- Follow specific development processes
- Improve designs on electronic systematically
- Ensure a product is working and carrying out its intended functions
- Ability to reproduce products reliably
- Ensure all safety regulations and standards are met
- Carry out project planning and planning budgets
There are many courses to choose from across the UK. Some courses offer the option of studying part time or full time. There may also be Covid-19 restrictions in particular universities. Examples of courses available include:
Energy and Electronic Engineering
Those who are successful in applying for a course in energy and electronic engineering will have the opportunity to work alongside those in the industry and focus on power systems, renewable energy, control systems, robotics, intelligent systems and signal processing. Students will gain the relevant knowledge to progress in their career as an electronic engineer.
Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Students who opt for one of these courses may have the option to study part time or full time. They will gain all the relevant material and experience in order to develop their knowledge and skills in the area of electrical engineering and have the opportunity to work face-to-face with supervisors.
Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering
Students who embark on a course such as this one will study analogue, digital electronics and control systems. They will also gain a practical understanding of embedded systems and the growing trends for network enabled devices in homes as well as optical fibre systems for broadband and computer networks.
There are also courses available in order to gain a certificate in the area such as Certificate in Professional Studies – Electrical and Electronic Engineering as well as courses in Institute of Sensors, Signals and Systems among others.
Entry requirements may differ from course to course and university to university. In most cases, you will be required to have a 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Some courses may accept a 2.2 honours degree. It is important to research your particular course to make sure you meet specific requirements. All information can be found on course overviews and on university websites.
Employers in this area may include:
- Electrical industry
- Digital technology, automotive manufacturers
- Telecommunications companies
- Electronic consultancies
- Utility companies
- Education – research
The average salary of an electronic engineer may be around £39,000 but can vary depending on the company you work with and the location of your work. Starting out, your salary may range between £21,000 – £25,000 but with time and experience, your salary can increase. Those with many years experience and in senior roles may earn between £40,000 – £55,000. These figures are based on estimates and rough figures.
Skills and requirements
Skills and requirements that are helpful, and often necessary, in this field:
- Technical and IT skills
- Strong communication skills
- Problem solver
- Critical thinker
- Strong writing skills to record information and documentation
- Creative mind
- Commercial awareness
- Strategic and analytical thinker
- Organisation skills
- Project management skills
- Time managements skills
- Ability to work in multidisciplinary teams
- Understanding of health and safety regulations and standards