Electronics is a career chosen by many graduates and school leavers as with the growth of high technology industries and the need for constantly updated technology employment opportunities can be more common than in other engineering disciplines and provide challenging and rewarding careers.
Electronics engineering can cover a broad range of activities and job roles but is primarily involved in the design, development, construction and maintenance of electronic circuits and systems. Electronics engineers can be employed in a wide range of manufacturing companies and also in consultancies and service companies, academic and research organisations.
There are different levels involved in working in electronics and different entry requirements. At the lower end a more 'hands on' role is required such as assembly of circuit boards, testing and repair. Sometimes school leavers will be recruited as apprentices or college leavers with HND, NVQ or City and Guilds. Starting a career at this level can lead to opportunities for employer sponsored further study and opportunities for career progression and training. Many engineers will be graduates, a lot of these will hold Masters degrees or a PhD if they are specialising in a particular field. Graduates will often complete work experience as part of their study and commence their career in a graduate trainee position, often for the first year, while they learn about the company, their products and transferring their skills from an academic to an industrial environment. Many people commencing courses will have a keen interest in electronics gained from personal interests, will enjoy problem solving, will be innovative, inquisitive, able to work to tight and demanding schedules, sometimes working long and unsociable hours and enjoy working as a team member.
Although duties can vary depending on the employer, the products and systems worked on, typically electronics engineers will be working on the development of new or improving existing products. Often working as part of a team, sometimes involving other disciplines of engineers such as electrical, mechanical, software and hardware engineers. Sometimes they will be dealing directly with customers, both internal and external, identifying their requirements and proposing and developing appropriate solutions. Electronics engineers can often be found working on defined projects to strict time scales, this will include the initial brief for a concept, writing specifications, selecting appropriate materials, preparing and testing theories, design and build of prototypes, constantly reviewing and updated designs and processes to meet requirements for costs and functionality, design and development and taking these designs to manufacture and implementation.
Career opportunities for talented and innovative electronics engineers can be far better than in many other areas of engineering. With the ever-increasing pace of technical developments, companies are keen to recruit and retain the best engineers to take their companies forward by developing the best products. Engineers who can prove their ability to lead projects can often move into management roles with opportunities to obtain Chartered Engineer status. Many experienced engineers will work freelance, working on short-term projects and contracts with higher earnings but without job security or setting up their own company to provide either consultancy services or to develop and manufacture their own products.