Electrical engineers typically do the following:
- Design new ways to use electrical power to develop or improve products
- Do detailed calculations to compute manufacturing, construction, and installation standards and specifications
- Direct manufacturing, installing, and testing to ensure that the product as built meets specifications and codes
- Investigate complaints from customers or the public, evaluate problems, and recommend solutions
- Work with project managers on production efforts to ensure projects are completed satisfactorily, on time, and within budget
Electronics engineers typically do the following:
- Design electronic components, software, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications
- Analyze electrical system requirements, capacity, cost, and customer needs and then develop a system plan
- Develop maintenance and testing procedures for electronic components and equipment
- Evaluate systems and recommend repair or design modifications
- Inspect electronic equipment, instruments, and systems to make sure they meet safety standards and applicable regulations
- Plan and develop applications and modifications for electronic properties used in parts and systems to improve technical performance
Electronics engineers who work for the federal government research, develop, and evaluate electronic devices used in diverse technologies, such as aviation, computing, transportation, and manufacturing. They work on federal electronic devices and systems, including satellites, flight systems, radar and sonar systems, and communications systems.
The work of electrical engineers and electronics engineers is often similar. Both use engineering and design software and equipment to do engineering tasks. Both types of engineers must also work with other engineers to discuss existing products and possibilities for engineering projects.
Engineers whose work is related exclusively to computer hardware are considered computer hardware engineers. For more information about this occupation, see the profile on computer hardware engineers.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition