Electrical Engineering» open the printable degree» search for more Areas of Study
Electrical Engineers are involved in researching, designing, developing, testing and overseeing the manufacture and operation of electrical systems. Electrical systems are many and varied. Examples include microprocessors in mobile devices, automated control systems in satellites, renewable energy systems, bionic ear implants and electric vehicles.
Due to the ever-growing nature of technology, demand for Electrical Engineers is high. The Bachelor of Electrical Engineering program prepares students for a fast-paced, evolving career, and professional recognition with Engineers Australia. Graduates find employment in the public and private sectors, including manufacturing industries, electric power utilities, telecommunication service providers, consulting firms, electronics manufacturing, mining, transportation, bioengineering and aerospace industries.
The first year of the program provides students with a foundation in physics, mathematics, and software engineering. The second and third years integrate this knowledge and allow students to customise their degree by pursuing personal interests in elective courses covering applied fields such as telecommunications, signal processing, and power electronics. In their fourth year, students are given the opportunity to exercise their skills by conducting an independent Electrical Engineering design project under academic supervision.
Note: Mathematics and Physics are essential components of this degree. It is recommended that students have completed HSC Mathematics (Band 5 or higher) and HSC Physics prior to commencing the program.
Students are required to complete 12 weeks industrial experience to graduate.
For more information about Electrical Engineering, visit the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science site.
Further Study Options
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree in Electrical Engineering include:
Honours are embedded in the four years of the degree, and are awarded for outstanding performance in the program as a whole. For more information, see Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) (Honours).
As the global job sector can be competitive, it is of great advantage to complete a postgraduate qualification, particularly independent research (such as Masters by Research, or PhD). See examples of research areas within the University’s electrical engineering group here.
After completing a degree there are a broad range of post graduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Post Graduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/program/postgraduate/
Graduates of Electrical Engineering may work across a variety of fields and industries. Depending upon the level, amount, and focus of study and/or work experience undertaken, the following list of jobs provides some examples of the types of work available to Electrical Engineering graduates.
- Aerospace Engineer
- Electrical Engineering
- Automotive Engineer
- Bank Officer
- Building Services Engineer
- Communications Engineer
- Computer Games Developer
- Computer Programmer
- Computer Systems Architect
- Consultant Engineer
- Contracts Administrator
- Control and Instrumentation Engineer
- Electrical Design Engineer
- Electronics Engineer
- Finance Manager
- Graduate Analyst/Programmer
- Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors
- International Aid/Development Worker
- Mechanical Engineering
- Multimedia Specialist
- Network Support Engineer
- Nuclear Engineer
- Power Generation and Distribution Engineer
- Project Manager
- Quality Assurance Engineer
- Research Engineer
- Robotics Engineer
- Satellite Telecommunications Expert
- Scientific Policy Officer
- Software Engineer
- Technical Sales Representative
- Technical Writer
- Technology Infrastructure Manager
- Test Engineer
- University Lecturer / Academic
- Visual Effects Technician
- Web Developer
Graduates are also able to use the transferable skills gained in their studies to work outside the electrical engineering industries. In some instances, further study and/or work experience may be required.
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Electrical engineering employment opportunities exist in a wide variety of industries within small, medium and large organisations, including electrical service providers, telecommunications companies, and electronics manufacturers. Below are some major organisations which formally target graduates with qualifications in electrical engineering.
- Abigroup (Australia)
- Aker Solutions (International)
- AMPcontrol (International)
- ANCA (International)
- Anglo Coal (International)
- Arup (International)
- Baker Hughes (International)
- BHP Billiton (Australia)
- BlueScope Steel (Australia)
- Boeing Australia (Australia)
- Centrelink (Australia)
- Chevron (International)
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Australia)
- Connell Wagner (International)
- Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Australia)
- Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Australia)
- Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (Australia)
- Deutsche Bank (International)
- EnergyAustralia (Australia)
- Ergon Energy (Australia)
- ExxonMobil (Australia)
- GHD (International)
- GRD Minproc (International)
- Hatch (Australia)
- Honeywell (International)
- IBM (Australia)
- Integral Energy (Australia)
- KBR (International)
- Laing O'Rourke (Australia)
- Maunsell AECOM (International)
- Monadelphous (Australia)
- Office of Public Works and Services (Australia)
- OneSteel (International)
- Optus (Australia)
- OPUS (International)
- Public Transport Authority (WA) (Australia)
- Roads and Traffic Authority (NSW) (Australia)
- SA Water (Australia)
- Schlumberger (Australia)
- Sedgman (Australia)
- Serck Controls (Australia)
- Snowy Hydro (Australia)
- Telstra (Australia)
- Thales (Australia)
- Thiess (Australia)
- Tomago Aluminium (International)
- TransGrid (Australia)
- VENcorp (Australia)
- Woodside (Australia)
- WorleyParsons (International)
- Xstrata (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- APEC Engineer Register (Australia)
- APESMA (Australia)
- Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (Australia)
- Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Energy (Australia)
- Australian Wind Engineering Society (Australia)
- The Electric Energy Society of Australia (Australia)
- Electronics and ICT Association (SA) (Australia)
- Electronics Industry Association (Australia)
- Engineering Council UK (Australia)
- Engineers Australia (Australia)
- Engineers Canada (Australia)
- Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (International) (Australia)
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (AU) (Australia)
- Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia (Australia)
- The Washington Accord (Australia)
- Women in Engineering (Australia)
- Young Engineers Australia (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) are the necessary skills, abilities and knowledge required to become a professional engineer. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
- A sound knowledge of engineering fundamentals and the sciences which underpin them.
- An in-depth technical competence in at least one of the engineering specialisations.
- The necessary skills to apply technologies and resources in engineering problem solving.
- An appreciation of the broad range of issues which impact on the Engineering domain as a component of our society.
- An ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution.
- An understanding of social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and the need to employ principles of sustainable development.
- An ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operation performance.
- A proficiency in Engineering Design.
- An ability to conduct an engineering project.
- An understanding of the business environment and the ability to employ business principles within engineering projects.
- An ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large.
- An ability to manage information and documentation.
- A capacity for creativity and innovation.
- Understanding of professional and ethic responsibilities and a commitment to them.
- An ability to function effectively as an individual and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams, as a team leader or manager as well as an effective team member.
- A capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.
- The ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes of a professional engineer.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note: the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.