According to the US Department of Labor, Electrical Engineers ”design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment.” 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)

Industry Insights

Check out the latest Firsthand guides on this industry here

Sample Employers From LionSHARE

  • Applied Materials Inc
  • Intel Corp
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Sonos
  • HP Inc
  • MakerBot Industries
  • Mini Circuits


Focus Areas in Hardware and Electronics

Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Electrical engineers apply their knowledge of the sciences to working with equipment that produces and distributes electricity, such as generators, transmission lines, and transformers. They also design, develop, and manufacture electric motors, electrical machinery, and ignition systems for automobiles, aircraft, and other engines. Electronics engineers are more concerned with devices made up of electronic components such as integrated circuits and microprocessors. They design, develop, and manufacture products such as computer systems, broadcast and communications systems, MP3 players, and GPS devices. Electronics engineering is a subfield of electrical engineering, and both types of engineers are often referred to as electrical engineers. 

Hardware Engineers

Hardware engineers design, build, and test computer hardware (such as computer chips and circuit boards) and computer systems. They also work with peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, modems, and monitors, among others. Hardware engineers are employed by a variety of companies, some of which specialize in business, accounting, science, or engineering. Most hardware engineers have a degree in computer science or engineering or an equivalent computer background.

Microelectronics Technicians

Microelectronics technicians work in research laboratories assisting the engineering staff to develop and construct prototype and custom-designed microchips. Microchips, often called simply chips, are tiny but extremely complex electronic devices that control the operations of many kinds of communications equipment, consumer products, industrial controls, aerospace guidance systems, and medical electronics. The process of manufacturing chips is often called fabrication.

Semiconductor Technicians

Semiconductor technicians are highly skilled workers who test new kinds of semiconductor devices (which are commonly known as integrated circuits or microchips) being designed for use in many kinds of modern electronic equipment. They may also test samples of devices already in production to assess production techniques. They help develop and evaluate the test equipment used to gather information about the semiconductor devices. Working under the direction provided by engineers in research laboratory settings, they assist in the design and planning for later production or help to improve production yields. Semiconductor technicians are also known as semiconductor processors.

User Experience Designers

User experience designers create user interfaces for systems software, applications software, Web sites, and other types of technology. They use their knowledge of design, programming, marketing, and human behavior to ensure that the user has a positive experience with the technology. User experience designers are also known as UX designers and user experience architects. 

Read a wider selection of industry areas, employers and positions here. 

Columbia University Resources

Job and Internship Search Resources

Job Boards 

  • Engineering Central
  • Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE)


Associations and Resources

  • Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE)