Electrical Engineer Advancement Opportunities

Jul 31, 2018

Electrical engineers design various forms of electronic equipment. Some may grow their careers by specializing in areas of electrical engineering. Others may seek management positions. Find out more about some of the career advancement options.

Career Growth Opportunities for Electrical Engineers

Electrical engineers design, test, and develop electronic equipment and machines. They typically enter the field of engineering with a bachelor's degree. After working in the field, some electrical engineers may wish to advance their careers. Some may specialize in various types of interdisciplinary engineering where electrical engineering knowledge is essential, such as photonics engineering, ASIC design engineering, or machine learning engineering. Others may wish to take on a managerial role as a senior electronics engineer. Salary and job responsibilities within these careers is provided here.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)** Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education or Experience
Photonics Engineer $68,591 7% (electrical and electronics engineers) Bachelor's degree
ASIC Design Engineer $100,850 5% (computer hardware engineers) Bachelor's degree
Machine Learning Engineer $111,275 19% (computer and information science research scientists) Master's degree
Senior Electrical Engineer $99,235 6% (architectural and engineering managers) Experience as electrical engineer or bachelor's degree

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com

Career Information

Photonics Engineer

One way that electrical engineers can advance their career is to specialize in various areas of electrical engineering. One option is a photonics engineer. Photonics engineers work in areas of electrical engineering focused upon lasers, fiber optics, and other highly specialized areas of the use of light. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is necessary, however considering the highly specialized nature of photonics, a master's or doctoral degree may make candidates much more attractive for jobs.

ASIC Design Engineer

Another highly compensated specialty of electrical engineering is a ASIC design engineer. ASIC is an 'application specific integrated circuit.' This means that these engineers design circuits that are used for one specific use, rather than commercially available circuits. ASICs are found in most electronic devices. ASIC design engineers must have knowledge of both electrical and computer engineering, and of various computer programming languages. A master's degree is the preferred credential for positions as an ASIC design engineer, but a bachelor's degree is the minimum.

Machine Learning Engineer

Another growing area where electrical engineers are pursuing cutting-edge innovation is that of a machine learning engineer. Machine learning engineers develop programs (specifically, algorithms) so that computers or other devices can learn to accomplish tasks by finding patterns within data sets, despite not being specifically programmed to conduct the task. Machine learning is used in shopping, entertainment, public safety, and agriculture, among other industries. To be successful as a machine learning engineer, the candidate must have knowledge of electrical engineering, computer programming languages, and statistics. Typically, a master's degree is expected by employers.

Senior Electrical Engineer

Some electrical engineers may wish to seek a managerial role as a senior electrical engineer. Senior electrical engineers take leadership roles in developing the electrical systems within electronic devices such as cars and appliances. They must be familiar with design programs used within their industry, be able to collaborate with company leadership and provide direction and supervision to junior electrical engineers. A role as a senior engineer requires several years of experience as an electrical engineer. A master's degree in engineering management or an MBA may make a candidate more marketable for senior engineering roles.

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