The work of an Electrical Engineer consists on the development, construction, and testing of electrical devices and appliances. They are employed in a wide variety of settings, although the most common place to find them is in the manufacturing industry creating electrical appliances. They can also work in communication and power companies.
Electrical Engineering is a field of work with plenty of specializations available for professionals. Candidates may choose to work designing electrical systems for residential, industrial, or commercial buildings, as each of these types of facilities have different requirements. Another popular option is working in the power generation and distribution industries.
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 systems, and security system designs.
- Establishing budgets and estimating the time required for the development and creation of new technologies.
- Designing, improving, and testing new electrical appliances:
- Evaluating existing electrical appliances and machines to see if they can be improved or updated;
- evaluating the overall feasibility and design of electrical appliances and machines;
- designing and manufacturing the internal circuitry of electrical appliances and machines;
- doing the necessary calculations for electrical systems and equipment sizing (e.g. short circuit analysis, voltage drop calculations, and photometric calculations);
- coordinating with equipment vendors and suppliers for the selection and specification of electrical equipment;
- installing specialized electrical systems and providing periodic maintenance when necessary;
- inspecting malfunctioning electrical systems or appliances and performing repairs when possible; and
- working alongside the entire design team to ensure the design meets the clients’ expectations and requirements.
- Communicating with suppliers and contractors:
- Drafting contracts and reviewing construction proposals; and
- liaising with contractors and performing on-site inspections.
- Monitoring the proper handling and installation of new electrical technologies:
- Designing and documenting handling and maintenance procedures for electrical appliances and machines;
- analyzing malfunctioning equipment, if any, and providing immediate solutions; and
- supervising colleagues and other employees under their authority.
- Adhering to national and provincial safety regulations and procedures involved in the design, production, and distribution of new technologies and appliances.
- Developing new electrical products or improving existing ones.
- Performing complex calculations in order to ensure the proper functioning of electrical systems and appliances.
- 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 clients 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.
- Detail-oriented with a methodical approach to work.
- 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 while ensuring that all tasks are performed according to plan.
- Mathematical skills:
- Using calculus and advanced mathematics in order to perform complex calculations; 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, which is in charge of overseeing all matters related to this field, including licensing. 
In order to climb the Engineering career ladder, these professionals rely on their expertise and experience in the field. Career advancement opportunities for Electrical Engineers may include leaving behind hand-on work and moving on to more administrative tasks. 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 an 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.