Electrical Engineers specialize in power supply and generation. They design, plan, research, evaluate, and test electrical equipment and systems (e.g. electric motors, radars, navigation and communications systems, and power generation equipment). These professionals can work for electrical and communications companies, electrical equipment manufacturers, consulting firms, and government entities, but can also be found in several different industries.
Engineers specializing in this field can choose to work in different areas, including electrical design for residential, commercial, or industrial installations; electrical power generation and transmission; and instrumentation and control systems.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Electrical Engineers are required to complete.
- Preparing engineering specifications and drawings for different electrical projects (e.g. commercial, residential, institutional, and industrial buildings), as well as municipal infrastructure projects (e.g. pumping stations or roadway lighting):
- Preparing lighting designs and calculations, as well as power distribution, structured cabling, fire alarm system, and security system designs.
- Designing, developing, and producing technical solutions, including electrical equipment and other electrical infrastructures:
- Making improvements to existing electrical products, solutions, and services, as well as developing new ones;
- assessing and investigating the feasibility, design, processes, and performance of electrical generators, electrical distribution networks, electrical machinery, and other electrical components;
- designing electrical circuits, components, systems, and equipment;
- doing the necessary calculations for electrical systems and equipment sizing;
- conducting electrical system calculations, such as short circuit analysis, voltage drop calculations, and photometric calculations;
- preparing material costs and timing estimates, reports, and design specifications for electrical systems and equipment;
- coordinating with equipment vendors and suppliers for the selection and specification of electrical equipment;
- installing, commissioning, servicing, maintaining, troubleshooting, and implementing the electrical system and equipment;
- delivering electrical technical support and solving problems, if any, as well as providing on-site and in-house troubleshooting and problem-solving; and
- working alongside the entire design team to ensure the design meets the clients’ expectations and requirements.
- Overseeing, surveying, and checking the installation, modification, testing, and correct operation of electrical systems and equipment:
- Developing maintenance and operating standards for electrical systems and equipment;
- investigating electrical failures, if any, and providing immediate solutions;
- preparing contracts and evaluating tenders for construction or maintenance;
- liaising with contractors and performing on-site inspections; and
- supervising Technicians, Technologists, Programmers, Analysts, and other Engineers.
- Conducting micro or nano device simulations, characterization, process modelling, and integration in the development of new electronic devices and products.
- Making sure all the technical solutions designed, developed, and produced comply with national and international safety and quality standards, as well as with all the applicable codes and regulations.
- Developing new electrical products or improving existing ones.
- Conducting advanced electrical system calculations.
- Overseeing the manufacturing process of electrical products, making sure they meet the required standards and comply with applicable codes.
- Estimating costs and time schedules.
- Liaising with Project Managers to make sure projects are completed on time, within the established budget, and according to the required specifications.
The average Electrical Engineer salary is $78,033 per year or $40 per hour. This is around 2.4 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $55,000 while most experienced workers make up to $109,000. These results are based on 205 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding levels of concentration to be able to design and develop complex electrical systems.
- Excellent interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills:
- Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with clients, explain their designs, and relay instructions to coworkers; and
- being able to work cohesively as part of a multidisciplinary team, ensuring their plans are implemented correctly.
- Mathematical skills:
- Using the principles of calculus and other advanced math topics in order to analyze, design, and troubleshoot equipment and systems; and
- applying basic Engineering concepts and processes to all projects.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills:
- Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner using critical thinking and good judgment; and
- being precise and accurate in their calculations and analyses.
- Organizational and time management skills and great attention to detail:
- Avoiding disorganization in the workplace that can lead to legal problems, damage to equipment, and potential accidents;
- being able to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment;
- being versatile, flexible, and willing to work within constantly changing priorities; and
- being able to prioritize tasks and responsibilities accordingly.
Most Electrical Engineer positions require an undergraduate degree (BEng) in Electrical Engineering or other related Engineering disciplines, such as Electronics Engineering or Electrical Engineering Technology. Candidates with relevant postgraduate degrees, such as masters or Ph.D.’s, tend to have the advantage over other candidates when applying for a job in the area. Employers usually ask for 5 to 10 years of related Engineering experience.
All candidates applying for a job as an Electrical Engineer must be proficient in MS Project, MS Office, and computer-aided (CAD) software, especially AutoCAD, as well as being a registered professional in their corresponding province. Only licensed Engineers can practice this career in Canada. The provincial and territorial regulatory bodies for all Engineering careers in this country are the ones associated to Engineers Canada and they are in charge of regulating the profession and licensing professional Engineers in Canada.
In order to climb the Engineering career ladder, these professionals rely on their expertise and experience in the field. Professional progression for Electrical Engineers might leave behind technical work and start managing projects. Eventually, after about 10 years in the field, a Senior Electrical Engineer could choose to retire in order to become a full-time consultant, or even open their own firm. Another feasible option for these professionals is to become a freelance Engineer when they have enough experience and are recognized in the industry.
The typical working schedule for al Electrical Engineer is determined by the type of project at hand and its, usually tight, deadlines. Therefore, they must be willing to put in extra hours during the evenings or weekends. Electrical Engineers need a valid driver’s licence and a good driving record, as well as a reliable mean of transportation, in order to get themselves and their tools to job sites within their designated area.