Careers in electrical and power engineering can be both personally satisfying and lucrative. In an increasingly technologically reliant society, engineering skills are likely to remain in demand. Therefore, considering pursuing this field in a professional capacity can see you embark on a fascinating journey.
Yet, it’s important to recognize that getting the most out of this process requires some focus, commitment, and a little ambition. Not to mention that everyone has different challenges they face in pursuing any career. This means that it is worth your time to establish elements that can support you along the way.
We’ve put together a guide to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related resources that budding engineers can use to bolster their route toward a great career.
There are a range of educational and training paths toward starting a career as an engineer. Many of these will depend on the stage of life at which you’re making the decision. Often, younger learners can seem to have a more straightforward educational route than those switching careers or starting later. However, no matter what path you take, there are STEM resources that can supplement or drive your ambitions.
For younger learners, the American Society of Civil Engineers maintains a pre-college outreach program aimed at K-12 students. This can help provide students with guidance on some of the principles surrounding both small and large-scale engineering projects. This bolsters their knowledge and enthusiasm before assisting their transition to electrical engineering at college.
For adult learners, alongside gaining relevant degrees and certifications, mentorship is one of the most important forms of education for electrical engineers. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) runs an online mentoring program for those in the early stages of their careers. However, prior to qualification, it can be wise to reach out to local electrical engineering organizations for potential sources of guidance.
One of the most important elements to understand about being an electrical engineer is that the industry is always evolving. Yes, certain principles and techniques will always be a part of the job. However, the technology being utilized, the scale of work, and the in-demand project types are frequently changing. Therefore, a key STEM resource for budding engineers is identifying reliable points of information from the earliest possible stage.
Firstly, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) maintains a free library of current data sources, dissertations, and textbooks in the field of electrical engineering. There are a range of websites featuring news posts and blogs related to the electrical engineering industry. Sites run by and endorsed by key industry figures will usually be the first places to find the most up-to-date developments.
However, it’s not just general industry informational resources you need to employ. At some point, you may decide to transition from being an employed electrical engineer to working for yourself. It’s important to get a good understanding of the challenges people face moving from full-time employment to running a business. Some aspects, such as deciding on an area of focus and establishing a side hustle first you can do relatively independently. However, creating a business plan is an important part of the process, and establishing informational resources about the current electrical engineering market will be essential. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can be a useful informational resource when researching the demand for services in the field.
Job Search Resources
Your educational and informational resources are intended to guide you toward a career in engineering. Therefore, at some point, you’ll need to seek out relevant positions. It’s important to identify the best sources of leads on both entry-level jobs and positions in specialized fields or management later down the line.
You can certainly exploit the range of online job sites, which frequently carry postings for electrical engineering roles. It’s also worth maintaining a list of companies and corporations you might want to collaborate with so you can check their websites occasionally. Government career websites also list electrical engineer positions. The aforementioned IEEE maintains a job search site focused on vacancies in the U.S. and Canada, too.
That said, one of the most valuable job search resources you’ll have is the personal connections you build on your route to a career in electrical engineering. Younger students and adult learners should find opportunities to establish meaningful relationships with colleagues and tutors during their education. Even if you’re studying or working from home you can expand your network through online message boards and social media. Taking opportunities to help out on others’ projects can ensure you make new connections, and bolster your reputation, too. Remember that no matter where you build your network, making genuine efforts to keep in touch helps strengthen it.
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You’ll usually find your journey toward a successful career in electrical engineering is more practical if you have some reliable STEM resources in a range of areas. This should include educational elements, such as outreach programs for younger learners and mentorships for those in the early stages of a career. You should also stay on top of industry information through news sites and business sources. Once you’re ready to start work, job sites and a strong network are invaluable tools.