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5 Key Skills You Need for a Career in Electronics

See also: Transferable Skills

A career in electronics requires proficiency and an immense knowledge of electrical systems and methodologies. An electronics engineer needs to have the skills necessary to work with everyday devices like mobile phones, portable music devices and computers, before even thinking about bigger and more complicated systems.

Along with having an affinity for problem solving and an enthusiasm for circuits, there are a few essential skills that are needed for a successful career in electronics. While you read through these points, identify which areas you must work on to enhance the skills you need for a successful career in electronics.

Software

An essential skill is expertise in software, along with an efficiency in programming. An aspiring electronic engineer should have command of several computer languages, for instance, C++, computer-aided drafting tools, and circuit simulators to analyze designs. This knowledge can be highly profitable in a job in electrical and computer engineering departments.

Whether maintaining a power infrastructure or developing navigation systems, you can qualify as an excellent electronic engineer only if you have a mastery of software tools. To advance in this field, you must possess a mix of electrical engineering technology knowledge and software skills to cope with both routine and emergency situations.

Electronics and software recruiters look for individuals with a solid foundation in electronic engineering who are also capable of designing web software and desktop /mobile apps. Electronics departments are becoming increasingly competitive as they are responsible for both the minor and major electrical systems, troubleshooting devices, and calibrating electrical equipment, which is all linked together by various software applications.

Hardware

Apart from just knowledge, and regardless of where they may end up, any candidate looking for a career in electronics must also have practical experience of different circuits and electrical embedding. Technical thinking requires critical thinking skills to identify common issues and to come up with working solutions. Learning to use hardware involves the safe use of power tools, for instance, tools to make connections, run diagnostics, and perform delicate adjustments. Also, candidates must know the procedure for installing various electrical devices such as cables, switches, tubing, etc.

Only if you are ‘tech-savvy’ will you be able to pull off the job of maintaining and repairing hardware systems. In addition, you must have the confidence and potential to be able to design new circuits, as well as amend older ones. You must be able to organize all the parts of an appliance into the exact same position they were in before you opened it!

You will need a strong interest in technology to be able to flourish in a career in electronics. Different employers prioritize different competencies but, for an electrical engineer, you need a command a hand of all these skills equally. Determination and perseverance are the keys that will boost your career.

Embedded Software Systems

Embedded software is a computer program coded to control electric devices that aren’t traditionally thought of as computers - these are widely known as embedded systems. Embedded systems are bespoke programs that are designed exclusively to run on specific hardware devices, for example, alarm clocks, automobiles, mobile phones, personal digital assistants, etc. It is therefore difficult for a person with little experience in this field to work safely and efficiently.

Consumers interact with the application software. However, the embedded software performs functions in the background which are not always visible and are, at times, very complicated. These systems have fixed hardware requirements and capabilities and, therefore, only the most experienced and skillful electricians can make them function properly.

One needs analytical reasoning, a high IQ, and a pragmatic approach to be able to find a solution. In addition, embedded system designs can also include analogue components that a rookie engineer might not understand. You should also be sufficiently qualified to tackle mathematical equations, for instance, linear programming to meet the desired outcome.

Practical working knowledge of RTOS (Real-Time Operating Software), which is responsible for important functions like scheduling tasks, and enabling high-level coding languages like C and Python, also plays a crucial role in developing a career in electronics and communications. It is worth considering doing a course in this field if you want to be employed as an embedded software engineer. Additionally, a person should be well-versed in powerful OS platforms such as Bare Metal, Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Digital and Analogue

It is of utmost importance for electrical and computer engineering professionals to be able to work on both digital platforms and analogue systems. Aspiring electronic engineers who seek depth in analogue electronics must also learn how networks of semiconductor devices such as transistors perform signal-processing tasks.

Both digital and analogue systems are used to transmit signals like audio and video. The only difference is that the binary system uses binary format 0 and 1 and, on the other hand, analogue devices use electronic waves and magnitude.

Although digital transmission is easy and the hardware can be easily modulated as per the requirements, a minor mistake can cause significant problems. Hence, this is where skills and experience come into question. Playing with these gadgets and wires can prove to be hazardous if you do not take proper precautions and use them carefully.

Nowadays, all modern electronics are equipped with analogue systems. In fact, in the latest microchips, even digital circuits exhibit analogue behaviour. So, you must know about dealing with problems that occur due to interferences in the signal waves or integrated circuit design.

Testing

Of all the skills you need to excel in a career in electronics, testing is one of the most challenging as it ensures the functionality, reliability and quality of a product. You have to be capable of finding faults and the source of that fault in a circuit and, for this, you need to learn many different ways of testing equipment.

You are going to be the one who verifies that a new gadget is ready to be powered up. Before giving the final nod to a finished product, it undergoes various testing and QC checks to find any faults or bugs. An ECE engineer should be able to recognize and report any such defects on their own, and maybe find fixes for these problems too.


Final Words

If you have all these skills, you are ready to pull off a career in electronics. Have faith and confidence, be determined and willing to take on new challenges in life, and you will be amazed at your strengths and capabilities.

Reading around the subject, and in related areas, can also be helpful in landing a reputable job in this field.


About the Author


The article is provided by Chris Oddy, director of the electronics and embedded systems recruitment specialist K02. Chris knows what it takes to develop a career in electronics after many years working in the industry.

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