Areas of work, specialisms and alternatives


22 Jun 2023, 13:19

Careers for engineering graduates in the electronics sector.

Close-up of a technician's hand soldering components on a circuit board.

This is a fast-paced, forward-looking industry, offering the opportunity to work on the latest technology. The sustainability of products is now a key issue, particularly with the introduction of waste management and recycling legislation.

Electronics are everywhere in the modern world, so this industry is large, encompassing many areas, including consumer goods, medical and communications equipment. There are two types of organisation: component manufacturers, who make integrated circuits and semiconductors; and original equipment manufacturers, who produce equipment such as televisions, MP3 players and mobile phones.

Control systems and automation is another area within the electronics sector. Engineers develop equipment to aid transport and the control of automated systems in industry, including robots, navigational control systems and radars.

You are likely to be working on projects in a multidisciplinary team, developing new products using the latest technological advances. Project lengths vary depending on your role: a designer may spend a year creating a final product, but an applications engineer supports that product for its entire life, which may be ten or more years. Applications engineering tends to involve more travel, while designers are usually office based. In a product development role you are likely to work on one project at a time, while in a support role you could work on several projects a day.

While a strong technical background and qualification are a must, you also need to show project management, analysis, interpersonal, communication and team-work skills. Creativity is also vital, particularly in research & development (R&D) and design, as are high levels of motivation and commercial awareness.

What degree do I need for this career?

  • Electronic engineering
  • Computer engineering
  • Software engineering
  • Systems engineering
  • Also open to aerospace/aeronautical, automotive, control, electrical, environmental, instruments, materials, mathematics, physics, power systems, software and telecoms graduates, depending on the nature of the product or role.

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