Electrical engineer

Engineering
Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Six year jobs forecast

The information is supplied by LMI For All

What's it like?

You would design, build and maintain the electrical systems and equipment that are vital to industry, the railways and manufacturing.

There are many industries you could work in, such as:

  • Transport – including rail electrification and signalling
  • Energy – generating, transmitting and distributing power
  • Renewable energy – solar panelling, hydroelectric power and wind turbines
  • Manufacturing and construction
  • Building services – dealing with lighting, heating, ventilation and lift systems

You would use computer-assisted engineering and design software to draw up new project plans and circuit diagrams for high and low voltage electrical equipment.

You’d lead the installation of a system and make sure it meets the safety regulations.

Depending on the industry, you would:

  • Assess whether new technical developments are feasible
  • Create project plans
  • Draw and interpret technical diagrams
  • Estimate costs and timescales for projects
  • Coordinate the work of technicians and craftspeople
  • Test electrical installations and systems
  • Analyse the data from tests
  • Oversee inspection and maintenance programmes

You’d also have to write reports, attend meetings and give presentations about projects. You’d need a good understanding of electrical health and safety regulations.

You would work on projects with other professionals, such as civil engineers, architects, engineering technicians and IT staff.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work around 40 hours a week. You may have to work occasional overtime in order to meet deadlines.

Environment

Depending on your job, you could be based in an office, factory, production plant, workshop, power station or research facility.

Travel

You may need your own transport to get from site to site.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Explaining things
  • Working as part of a team
  • Using computers
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Solving mathematical problems
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising
  • Making decisions

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You would need qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6: a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8), a degree (SCQF level 9/10) or a postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) in:

  • Electrical or Electronics Engineering
  • Building Services Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Physics
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • or Mechatronics

Alternatively you can do a Modern Apprenticeship and gain relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Electrical Installation (SVQ level 3).

Entry to a Electrical Engineering degree (SCQF level 9/0) requires Highers at BBBC or above; Advanced Highers are helpful.

An integrated masters qualifications such as an MEng can also be studied at university. These courses incorporate more independent research and will give you a greater knowledge and understanding of electrical engineering science. They could also prepare you for further postgraduate study such as a PhD or EngD (SCQF level 11). 

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects, in particular physics (required by many courses and employers)
  • English
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

You will also need

Normal colour vision and to pass a colour vision assessment, to work with electrical wiring.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate understanding and experience of the industry such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCQF Level 5).

Employers value work experience so finding courses with work placements or an internship, or working for a year in industry can be especially useful.

It could benefit your career if you worked towards incorporated or chartered status, to do this you would register with a relevant industry body and apply to the Engineering Council.