Career as an Electronics engineer

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Harry Lister works as a test engineer and is responsible for quality control on electronic circuits. These are used in the telecommunications industry, in transmitters and meters, and also in battery chargers for electric vehicles.

What does your job as an electronics engineer involve?

My job involves testing circuits and fault finding.We do contract work for industry so I never see a finished product, but I do know where they go and what they are used for.

Do you have a typical day?

A typical day might sound routine but I have to be constantly aware of what I am doing. I work at a test bench where my equipment is located. I collect a circuit from a rack and proceed to put it through the required test procedure. I then pass it over to the tested rack. If a circuit is faulty I try to locate the fault. One job can sometimes last for a few weeks.

What equipment do you use?

I have a power supply, an oscilloscope for measuring signals, a PC to run the test program and a variety of meters for recording other measurements, such as voltage and current.

What was your route to your career as an Electronics engineer?

I began as a technician working with radio transceivers at the Home Office where I was dealing with the development of hand-held radios for the police. I then moved to microwave electronics at Filtronic, before taking up my present job.

Why did you choose to work as an electronics engineer?

I have always found electronics an interesting subject. I enjoyed learning about it at school and it seemed logical to continue studying the subject at college.

What training have you received?

I received most of my training at the Home Office and continued this as a production engineer at Filtronic, which is a major producer of electronic equipment for the defence industry. I am now putting this to good use in my present job.

What hours do you work?

I work 40 hours a week. I work from 8am to 5.30pm with 30 minutes for lunch. On Fridays I finish at 12pm.

What do you like best about your job?

I like it when, just occasionally, the unexpected happens. This might be a component failure which might cause an explosion (especially at 250 volts), or just a failure where we need to get the circuit diagrams out and use our brains to solve the problem.

Are there any disadvantages to your job as an electronics engineer?

Not really. The repetitive nature of the job means that sometimes it gets monotonous, but no more so than many other jobs.

What skills and qualities do you need?

Electronic skills and understanding of circuits are essential. Team working skills are also important.

Harry's route to his career as an Electronics engineer

  • GCSEs.
  • A levels.
  • Degree in Electronics.
  • Technician at the Home Office.
  • Production engineer.

Harry's electronics engineer tips

  • Manufacturing is on the decline, so the design route is preferable these days.
  • Take advice from as many people as possible.
  • Electronics is a huge industry so ensure you are entering the right area.

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Salary of an electronics engineer

  • Graduate engineers usually start on around £20,000 a year.
  • Experienced electronics engineers may earn around £35,000.
  • The average income for chartered electronics engineers may be around £45,000.

Career as an Electronics engineer

  • Entry as an electronics engineer is usually with a degree in a relevant subject. Entry for a degree course is usually with at least two A levels/three H grades, normally including maths and physics, and five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications. Students without the necessary qualifications in science and maths may be able to qualify for an engineering degree course by taking a one-year foundation course.
  • The Institution of Electrical Engineers offers a number of engineering degree scholarships each year to women in the first year of their A levels/H grades.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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