According to the US Department of Labor, Electrical Engineers ”design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment.” For more details, visit the electrical engineering pages of Occupational Outlook Handbook, Sloan Cornerstone Career Center and the Electrical Engineering department website, which has a video on EE careers. See what Columbia students have gone on to do with their degree with CCE’s What Can You Do With A Degree in Electrical Engineering tipsheet.
Electrical engineers work in industries as diverse as telecommunications, energy and electric power, semiconductors, aerospace, bioengineering, manufacturing, education and research, transportation and automotive, according to the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers. Examples of job responsibilities include:
- Expanding satellite communications for mobile telephone users (telecommunications)
- Developing electronics and power equipment for aircraft and spacecraft (aerospace)
- Designing life support systems (bioengineering)
- Designing and evaluating manufacturing techniques (manufacturing)
- Developing new amusement park rides (service industry)
- Teaching college or university courses related to electrical and electronics engineering (academia and research)
Top employers in the field include: Alcatel Lucent, AMD, Analog Devices, Apple , GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Philips, Samsung, Texas Instruments. Sloan Cornerstone Career Center features a list of other employers to explore.
Electrical Engineering Job Search
While some large organizations may recruit in the Fall semester, many others will seek full-time hires on an “as needed” basis. The key is to start your search early so that you do not miss opportunities. Use resources like the professional associations listed below to apply to positions and seek out networking opportunities, attend CCE’s Engineering Consortium Career Fair and Engineering Industry Showcase, and pay attention to your departments’ emails. Many students go on to receive a master of science degree in a specialization of their choice. This usually takes an additional two years of study beyond a bachelor’s program. Some students pursue a master’s degree immediately upon completion of a bachelor’s degree. Other students, however, gain work experience first and then take graduate-level courses on a part-time basis while they are employed. A Ph.D. is also available. It generally requires four years of study and research beyond the bachelor’s degree and is usually completed by people interested in research or teaching. Many companies provide structured programs to train new employees and prepare them for advancement. These programs usually rely heavily on formal training opportunities such as in-house development programs and seminars. Engineers with strong technical skills who show leadership ability and good communications skills may move into positions that involve supervising teams of engineers and making sure they are working efficiently. Establishment as a professional engineer comes after passing the PE exam.
- Science Technology Engineering Internship Program (STEP) and other CCE sponsored international and national internship programs
- Career Fairs and Networking Events: Attend our career fairs and special events throughout the year including the Engineering Career Fair and Startup Career Fair.
- Engineering Industry Showcase: Held in the Spring semester, offers a panel session and networking opportunities with representatives from a variety of engineering disciplines.
- List of Leadership Development and Rotational Programs
- Vault & WetFeet guides: profiles industries, companies, and careers including: Vault Career Guide to Electrical Engineering, Industries and Careers for Engineers, Vault Guide to the Top Manufacturing Employers, Vault Guide to the Top Tech Employers
- Student Organizations: Columbia Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Association for Computing Machinery
- Electrical Engineering Department Website
- Student Research Involvement Program
- Information on the FE Exam (Students should find out from their academic advisor whether their desired career path requires EIT/PE certification)
- Fellowships for CC/SEAS, GS, and GSAS
- Mentornet, an online mentoring community in which Columbia University participates
- Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
- The International Society of Automation (ISA)
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Society of Women Engineers
- Pathways to Science: To find programs such as undergraduate summer research opportunities, graduate fellowships, postdoctoral positions, as well as resources and materials pertaining to recruitment, retention, and mentoring
- National Science Foundation REU Sites: The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation
- American Academy for Advancement of Science: A resource list of AAAS career development programs
- Engineering Jobs – Electrical: A broad online compilation of jobs for electrical engineers across the US
- Dice: A leading career site for technology and engineering professionals
- ElectricalEngineer.com: This site features job listings from employers from small business to the US Government, and far and wide between
- Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE): The well-reputed job site of the IEEE
- ACECNY: A proactive coalition of more than 270 firms representing every discipline of engineering related to the built environment — civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical — and affiliated companies. A listing of consulting engineering firms from
across New York State. Use membership directory to identify local companies and check their job boards for postings
- Research Gate: A network dedicated to science and research. Connect, collaborate and discover scientific publications, jobs and conferences
- Engineering Central: Lists engineering positions and resumes across all engineering disciplines
- Engineer.net: A broad-scale engineering job-search engine that many companies use to find new talent