Electrical engineering job description

Electrical engineer job duties:

Electrical engineers typically do some or all of the following:

- Use computer program to design electrical systems, products and components
- Research thoroughly into design, operation and performance of electrical generation networks, electrical machinery and components
- Find new, original ways for using electrical power and making better versions of electrical products
- Test systems and equipment to make sure they perform as required
- Calculate in order to develop installation, manufacturing and construction standards; prepare timing and material cost estimates, also design specifications and codes for different electrical systems
- Oversee making, installing and testing electrical products and equipment to make sure all the specifications are strictly followed
- Analyze unexpected failures and other problems with electrical products and find appropriate solutions
- Prepare all the documents for contracts and analyze tenders for maintenance and construction
- Work with project managers on projects and ensure timely and safe delivery for each of them
- Supervise technicians, technologists and other engineers on their work places

Occupational Titles - examples

• avionics engineer
• control systems engineer
• design engineer, electrical
• distribution planning engineer, electrical
• electrical engineer
• electrical network engineer
• electronics engineer
• instrumentation and control engineer
• planning engineer, electrical systems
• process control engineer, electrical
• roadway lighting design engineer
• television systems engineer
• test engineer, electronics

Electrical engineer career overview:

This electrical engineering description lets you know about tasks like make schemes of, develop, research, test and oversee the process of creating electrical equipment and systems (for example radar and navigation systems, power generation equipment, electric motors or communication systems). They also make schemes of electrical systems of aircraft and automobiles. Their work is similar to the work of electronics engineers – both groups use electrical engineering jobs and design software and equipment for engineering tasks. Also, both of them work with other kinds of engineers on different kinds of projects.


Electrical engineers often do some or all of the following:
- Use CAD to make schemes of electrical products, systems and components
- Conduct research into performance, design and operation of electrical machinery, components and generation network
- Discover new, original ways to take advantage of electrical power and improve electrical products
- Do all the tests in order to check if electrical products work as they should
- Do all the calculations necessary for fast developing manufacturing, construction and installation specifications and standards
- Keep an eye on making, installing and testing new electrical equipment in order to check if they meet required standards
- Analyze the suggestions and complaints from users and try to improve products
- Bring together all the documents needed for contracts and check tenders for construction and maintenance
- Work together with project managers to meet high quality level on time and within the budget
- Oversee the work of technologists, technicians and other engineers

Electrical engineer's work environment:

According to the official statistics, there are about 30 000 electrical and electronics engineer working in Canada currently.
Electrical engineers are often employed by communications companies, consulting firms, electrical utilities, manufacturers of electrical equipment, transportation industries, government…They often work in multidisciplinary environment and because of that they can even practice in areas of sale, management, science and marketing.
According to National Household Survey data, those are industries that employed the most electrical engineers in 2011:
Manufacturing 27%
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 9%
Machinery manufacturing 5%
Offices of engineers 24%
Hydro-Québec 16%
Electrical engineers often work in their offices. Sometimes, they go to work site if there is a problem that requires their personal attention.

Work schedules:

In 2011, 97% of Canadian electrical engineers worked full time and 3% of them worked part time. Generally, they work standard, full time schedule and sometimes even more in order to deliver work before deadline.

Electrical engineer's education and training:

It is required to have a university degree in electrical engineering. For some specialties and management positions, a graduate degree is an asset. Participation in internships within a co-op program is an asset too, because employers often value practical work experience. It will be very helpful if engineer have Professional Engineer license.


According to the official statistics for 2011, about 92% of Canadian electrical engineers hold Bachelor’s degree and nearly 8% of them are post-secondary. Less than 1% of them have high school education. There is no electrical engineer in Canada with less than high school education.
For employment, it is required a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or in an appropriate related engineering discipline. A master’s or doctoral degree in a related engineering discipline may be required in some cases.
Canadian universities grant over 2000 graduates annually. Expected average number in coming years of new entrants in this occupation is about 1100.

Important qualities:

Interpersonal skills and team work. Electrical engineers must work with many professionals from other similar areas. They should collaborate successfully and without conflicts in order to meet deadline and deliver high quality electrical products and equipment.

  • Oral communication and public speaking skills. Electrical engineers must have excellent communication skills. While they collaborate with professionals from other areas, they must explain ideas and project’s requirements clearly. Also, they have to communicate with clients and users easily, even about complex electrical topics. Sometimes, electrical engineers must present their works publicly. In these situation they have to be calm and concentrated.
  • Planning and organizing. Electrical engineers must be able to keep a track of all their ideas and work on multiple projects at same time. It requires good organization in order for every project be done according to the plan.
  • Concentration. It is very important for electrical engineers to keep track of different designs and characteristics during their work with numerous clients. They have to concentrate on work even when there is big number of distractions.
  • Math skills. Principles of calculus and other topics from mathematics are very useful in electrical engineer’s work. These professionals must use them on daily basis while designing and troubleshooting electrical equipment.
  • Initiative. Lifelong learning is very important in this occupation. Electrical engineers must be determined to apply all of their knowledge for the best results. Also, they have to be oriented on gaining new knowledge and fresh skills. They have to seek constantly for improving themselves.

Licenses, certifications and registrations:

Licensing by a provincial or territorial association of professionals engineers is a must for those who want to approve their engineering reports and drawings. It is necessary also for those who want to practice as a Professional Engineers. Internationally trained engineers must contact engineering licensing body in the province or territory they live. They can get all the information about steps they need to take to become licensed, from retraining to work experience to examinations.

After graduation from an accredited educational program, engineers can register. Before they do so, they must have three or four years of experience. This experience must be supervised by someone who already has this license as Professional Engineer. They also must pass professional practice examination after gathering this experience. Some employers require Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for certain positions. This document is offered by the Canada Green Building Council.


Electrical engineer could become supervisor for other engineers and technicians. Also, management positions are open for those who are ambitious enough and want to improve themselves. If they want, electrical engineers can specialize in electrical design for commercial, residential or industrial installations, electrical power generation and transmission and instrumentation and control systems. Electrical and electronic engineers who pursue a doctoral degree can contribute to the field through research and teaching at the post-secondary level. They may also find employment in a larger firm in their specialty.

Electrical engineer's salary in Canada :

In 2015, the highest median annual wage for electrical engineers in Canada was in Newfoundland and Labrador. According to the official statistics, the payment in this province was about 120 000$ per year. The lowest wage was in Nova Scotia. Electrical engineers there were paid about 84 000$ per year.
National median weekly salary for natural and applied science in Canada, which includes electrical engineers, is about 1500$.
Earnings depend on a number of factors – there are experience, level of education, employer and specialization. In addition to their salaries most salaried engineers also receive different kinds of benefits. Health and dental insurance and paid sick leave and vacation time are among these benefits. Some may receive further benefits, including performance-based bonuses, use of a company car, and pension plan contributions.

In 2011, 97% of Canadian electrical engineers worked full time and 3% of them worked part time. Generally, they work standard, full time and sometimes even more in order to deliver work timely.

Job outlook:

The number of electrical engineers in Canada is expected to increase slightly in coming years. This number is affected by trends in computer and electronic products manufacturing industry and it is sensitive to the economy too. According to the forecast, labor market situation for this profession will remain good in following years.

The forecast is for Canada to produce around 1800 job openings for electrical engineers in next five years. About 65% of them will be driven by replacement demand. The leader in the area of opened jobs will be Ontario. British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec will have significant number of job openings, too. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec will have very low number of jobs openings driven by expansion. From 2020 to 2025 the number of job openings will decrease to about 1350 per year.

In next few years, the most electrical engineers will work in area of Architectural, Engineering and Related Services Industry. Significant number of them will work in Computer and Electronics products manufacturing, Computer System Design and Utilities Industry.

According to the forecasts, the highest median annual salary for 2025 for Canadian electrical engineers will be in Newfoundland and Labrador. The average annual wage in this province will be about 163 000$. According to the statistics, the lowest median annual salary will be in Manitoba – electrical engineers there can expect about 105 000$ per year because of the low demand generated by industry.

The highest number of estimated job openings will be in Ontario. In next five years, it is expected for 792 jobs to be opened in this province – 547 due to replacement and 247 of them due to expansion. Not so many jobs for electrical engineers will be opened in Newfoundland and Labrador – only 18 in next five years. Ten jobs will be opened due to replacement and nine of them due to expansion demand.

According to National Household Survey data, percentage of positions for women in this occupation was relatively low in 2011 – about 9%. This percentage will probably stay stable in next few years. Today, there is between 10% and 15% of women among new graduates in this field.

In 2011, about 29% of all positions in electrical engineering area were held by immigrants. This percentage is above the average for all occupations and it will probably increase in next few years. The Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec is working on changing the system for applying. These changes should allow foreigners to apply to Ordre before arriving to Canada. This will allow more foreigners to enter this occupation quickly.

The average age of electrical engineers in Canada ranges from 41in Saskatchewan to 47 in New Brunswick. According to the forecast, it will remain constant in all Canadian provinces and teritories in years to come.

According to the forecasts, in the future electrical engineers will probably have job opportunities related to gas, telephone, electric and other utility companies. There will be also busines participating in activities in aerospace, alternative and renewable energy resources sector , oil and high voltage power system industries.
Job prospects: Practical experience gained while in college is important for employers in this occupation. They are looking for someone who learned how to apply skill and knowledge in actual work environment. Graduates with co-op or internship experience and experienced skilled immigrants with current technology knowledge in this field may have an advantage when job searching. Also, following latest trends in electrical engineering and constant improvement would be very helpful in getting a job with competitive salary.

For more information:

Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec
Réseau des ingénieurs Du Québec
Engineers Canada
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
Quebec section
Montreal section
• Centre d'optique, photonique et laser (COPL)
• Faculté des sciences et de génie
Université Laval

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