The Future of Electrical Engineering: Emerging Technologies

The work of electrical engineers is crucial in creating technological innovations that improve our daily lives. From electric cars to smartwatches and smart home systems, their expertise in electrical engineering makes it possible for us to enjoy these advancements. As the electrical engineer gazes up at the towering transmission tower, they jot down notes on their trusty tablet.

For students pursuing an engineering Course, it is imperative to delve into the prospective advancements in electrical engineering and recognize the areas of potential growth. So, familiarizing oneself with innovative technologies and their corresponding career paths can aid in decision-making, enabling students to tailor their studies and aspirations in alignment with their desired electrical engineering careers.

What Is the Job Outlook for Electrical Engineering?

The outlook for electrical engineering employment appears promising, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicting a 2% growth in employment opportunities from 2021 to 2031. While this growth rate may be lower than the average profession, other trends suggest that electrical engineers will be in high demand across various industries, making the future of electrical engineering seem bright.

  • According to the BLS, there is expected to be a 6% growth in electronics engineering jobs from 2021 to 2031, driven by increased demand for various products such as smartphones and autonomous vehicles.
  • The retirement of older workers will lead to an average of 20,100 job openings annually for electrical and electronics engineers.
  • A survey conducted by Electronic Design in 2022 revealed that 76% of employers faced difficulties in finding engineers for available positions due to a decline in the number of electrical engineering students.

Furthermore, the implementation of two recent federal laws may further increase the demand for electrical engineers in the coming years.      

  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs (IIJ) Act of 2021 will allocate $1.2 trillion towards improving America’s infrastructure, including power generation and transmission, transportation systems, and internet infrastructure.
  • The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science (CHIPS) Act of 2022 will invest $280 billion in promoting domestic production of microchips.

Top Industries for Electrical Engineering Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a variety of industries and sectors employed the highest percentages of electrical engineers in 2021, offering diverse career opportunities for those in the field.

  • Design, construction, and consulting services in the engineering field: 21%
  • Procurement, transmission, and distribution of electrical power: 9%
  • Devices used for medical purposes, navigation, measuring, and control: 7%
  • Research and development in the scientific field: 5%
  • Production of semiconductors: 4%

Top Employment Sectors for Electronics Engineering Jobs

The top employers in the electronics engineering field in 2021 were diverse across different industries.

  • Telecommunications: 18%
  • Federal government: 15%
  • Semiconductor manufacturing: 10%
  • Engineering services like designers, contractors, and experts: 8%
  • Devices for measurement, control, navigation, and medicine: 6%

What Are Common Electrical Engineering Careers?

Electrical engineers develop and design medical devices, such as pacemakers, imaging equipment, and navigation systems, as well as control systems for industrial and commercial applications. These examples demonstrate the wide range of career paths available to electrical engineers, from telecommunications to government work, and from semiconductor manufacturing to medical devices. So, with the increasing demand for technological advancements, electrical engineers have a bright future in shaping the world of tomorrow.

Broadcast Engineer

Broadcast engineers play a crucial role in ensuring that television and radio broadcasts are delivered seamlessly to audiences. They are responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting the equipment used for broadcasting, both in studios and control rooms, as well as transmission towers. Their work is critical to ensuring that broadcasts are transmitted smoothly and without interruptions, allowing viewers and listeners to enjoy their favorite programs without any issues.

According to information from the salary platform Payscale, broadcast engineers had a median yearly income of approximately $65,600 in February 2023.

Electricity Distribution Specialists

Electricity distribution specialists play a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation of the power grid. Their expertise lies in designing and maintaining electric substations that supply power to households and commercial establishments. They must possess a deep understanding of equipment such as circuit breakers and transformers, and be able to interpret schematic diagrams. Additionally, they must prioritize safety at all times.

As of January 2023, Payscale reported that substation technicians had a median yearly income of approximately $77,700.

Controls Engineer

Controls engineers are responsible for creating and improving the systems that ensure the smooth and safe operation of various machines and processes. Their work encompasses a wide range of applications, including electrical power grids, vehicles, and aerospace components. Additionally, controls engineers perform maintenance, testing, and updates on existing control systems to ensure they continue to function at their best.

In February 2023, Payscale reported that the median yearly wage for controls engineers was roughly $81,300.

Systems Engineer

A Systems Engineer is responsible for creating and configuring power systems. These systems can vary in scale, from those found in a single building or complex, to an entire power grid. Additionally, Systems Engineers may also be involved in designing computer systems, computer chips, or robotics. To excel in this role, an engineer should possess knowledge in various scientific and technological fields, including computer science, programming, and electrical engineering.

As of February 2023, systems engineers could expect to earn a median yearly salary of approximately $84,200, according to data from Payscale.

Electrical Project Manager

Electrical project managers are responsible for the coordination and supervision of various aspects of electrical systems, including their design, construction, and installation. These systems can be found in a variety of settings, such as residential homes, commercial buildings, industrial facilities, or power generation and distribution infrastructure, like substations. The role requires a combination of technical knowledge in electrical engineering and strong managerial skills, including staff management, budgeting, and scheduling.

According to Payscale, in February 2023, the typical yearly salary for electrical project managers was around $87,500.

Hardware Engineer

In the realm of cutting-edge computing, hardware engineers play a crucial role in driving innovation forward. They are responsible for crafting and refining the intricate designs that power computer systems and their various components. So, By scrutinizing user requirements, setting precise specifications, and collaborating with software developers, these engineers bring forth upgrades that push the boundaries of computational performance.

As of February 2023, the middle-ground yearly pay for specialists in hardware engineering stood at $91,300, as reported by Payscale.

Computer Network Architect

In large businesses, effective communication relies on intricate and dependable computer networks, like local area networks (LANs) and intranets. However, Computer network architects are responsible for creating, managing, and safeguarding these networks. Their responsibilities involve a blend of expertise in electrical engineering and computer science with a keen focus on ensuring equipment compatibility and meticulous attention to detail.

According to Payscale, in February 2023, computer network architects had a median annual salary of $124,300.

What Are Some Electrical Engineering Innovations of the Future?

Given the strong connection between electrical engineering and innovation, the prospects for careers in electrical engineering are particularly promising in industries that prioritize innovation. Innovative technology is the lifeblood of these sectors, which aim to improve people’s energy efficiency, economic standing around the world, ecological sustainability, and quality of life in general.

The future success of various cutting-edge industries and products with promising growth potential will rely on advancements and breakthroughs in electrical engineering.

Electric Vehicles

The demand for electric vehicles (EVs) has been skyrocketing in the United States as the automotive sector strives to reduce harmful emissions from vehicles. Argonne National Laboratory reported a 47% increase in plug-in vehicle sales in January 2023 compared to the previous year. EVs made up nearly 8% of all light duty vehicles sold.

The numbers have the potential to significantly rise in the next ten years, as car manufacturers increase their production. According to S&P Global Mobility, it is projected that electric vehicles (EVs) will account for 40% of all new vehicle sales by 2030.

Electrical engineers play a crucial role in the creation and improvement of electric vehicles (EVs), contributing their expertise to various components, such as the vehicles’ motors, battery systems, and overall electrical infrastructure.

In order to make long-distance travel feasible for electric vehicles (EVs), electrical engineers are responsible for developing networks of charging stations. Through the IIJ act, the federal government plans to allocate $7.5 billion in funds to build 500,000 charging stations, a significant increase from the current 147,000 stations by the end of 2022.

The current estimate of public charging stations required to support the growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) in the US may only be the beginning. According to projections by S&P Global Mobility, the country will need a significantly higher number of charging stations – approximately 2.3 million – to accommodate a projected fleet of 28 million EVs by 2030.

Wearable Technology

The field of wearable technology has made significant progress since the year 2000, when the initial Bluetooth headset was introduced to the market. Allied Market Research reports that the worldwide sales of wearable technology are increasing at a rate of 12.8% annually and are estimated to reach $184 billion by the year 2031.

Health and fitness devices can track your physical exercise, like steps, and check your health indicators, like heart rate.

Smartwatches aren’t just for telling time. So, they can talk on the phone, send texts and emails, keep track of vital signs, and pay for things online.

With smart glasses, you can use your words to connect to the internet and use services like search, messaging, video streaming, and augmented reality.

Smart clothing has sensors built in that can collect biological data and send it to apps. For example, smart clothes can keep track of your heart rate and breathing so that you can change your workout plans.

Smart Grids

Approximately 75% of U.S. electricity is consumed by homes and buildings. By establishing communication with the electric grid, users are able to consume more energy during periods of low demand and less energy during periods of high demand. This helps to reduce both costs and the necessity for new power plants. According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a community in Hoover, Alabama that utilizes smart electric meters consumes 44% less energy compared to all-electric communities that use conventional meters.

From 2007 onwards, the Smart Grid Investment Grant program at the federal level has resulted in a total of $8 billion in smart grid investments, with a significant portion allocated towards the installation of smart meters by utilities.

The IIJ Act is planning to allocate an additional $3 billion towards the advancement of smart grids and smart buildings, as well as the exploration of a broader array of technologies. This will encompass the utilization of solar photovoltaic cells, electric battery storage, and sophisticated control mechanisms for the efficient management of grid loads. The expertise of electrical engineers will be crucial in designing the necessary equipment and computer systems to ensure the successful implementation of these technologies.

Robotics, Automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The automotive industry has traditionally relied on robots for car assembly. However, in recent times, automation has extended its reach to various other sectors including pharmaceuticals, food production, plastics and rubber, and semiconductors. According to Grand View Research, the global market for industrial automation and control systems reached $172 billion in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 10.5%.

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) is significantly enhancing the capabilities of automation, enabling robots to learn from their experiences and execute increasingly intricate and precise tasks. Electrical engineers play a crucial role in this process, as they are responsible for developing the algorithms that make AI feasible, as well as the electrical systems and sensors that enable automation.

The utilization of both automation and artificial intelligence has the potential to improve safety as well. So, Smart manufacturing systems have the ability to detect and halt production lines by analyzing information gathered from machinery sensors.

Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

IoT devices are equipped with computer chips and sensors, enabling communication and remote control through the internet. These devices can also be programmed to autonomously perform actions, such as adjusting temperatures, without human intervention.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices encompass a wide variety of equipment, from domestic appliances such as fridges and thermostats, to machinery used in industrial settings. The design of these devices involves the expertise of electrical engineers, who are responsible for various aspects, including the internal circuitry and the interconnected networks.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the worldwide IoT market is projected to experience a significant growth, expanding from $478 billion in 2022 to a whopping $2.5 trillion by 2029. In terms of industries, the leading sectors utilizing IoT technology will include healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications, and financial services.

Explore the Diverse World of Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is at the forefront of innovation and progress, with electrical engineers playing vital roles in the development and enhancement of cutting-edge technologies that propel our society. By pursuing an advanced degree, such as the online Master of Science in Engineering offered by the Burraq Engineering Solutions, Riverside, students can position themselves for success in this dynamic field. With its specialized focus on electrical engineering Course, this program equips individuals for diverse career paths within various industries.

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