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What is Electronic Engineering? Definition, Branches and Future

Electronic Engineering – Branches, Skills, Career and Future Scope

What is Electronic Engineering?

Electronic Engineering (AKA Electronics Engineering) is a branch of electrical engineering that deals with the study and application of electrical and electronics circuits, components and devices for the processing and transmission of information. In other words, electronic engineering involves the utilization of electronics for the design, development, and improvement of products.

Electronic engineering, a discipline of electrical engineering involves the utilization of electronics, focuses on designing, developing, and maintaining electronic systems and devices, such as computers, telecommunications equipment, and integrated circuits.

What is Electronic Engineering

Disciplines of Electronic Engineering

Electronic engineering encompasses various fields that focus on different aspects of electronic systems and technologies. Some key branches of electronic engineering include:

  1. Analog Electronics: Involves the study and design of circuits that process continuously varying signals, such as those found in audio and radio-frequency applications.
  2. Digital Electronics: Focuses on the design and analysis of circuits that manipulate discrete binary signals, forming the basis for digital computing and communication systems.
  3. Power Electronics: Deals with the design and control of electronic systems for the conversion and management of electrical power, such as in power supplies and motor drives.
  4. Control Systems: Involves the design and analysis of systems that regulate and control the behavior of other systems, often applied in automation and robotics.
  5. Signal Processing: Encompasses the analysis, manipulation, and interpretation of signals, such as audio, image, and data signals, to extract useful information.
  6. Communication Systems: Focuses on the design and optimization of systems that transmit and receive information, including wireless communication, networking, and satellite communication.
  7. Embedded Systems: Involves the design of electronic systems integrated into larger systems or products, often with dedicated functions, such as microcontroller-based systems.
  8. VLSI Design (Very Large Scale Integration): Focuses on the design and fabrication of integrated circuits (ICs) containing millions or billions of transistors, commonly used in modern electronic devices.
  9. Microwave and RF Engineering: Deals with the design of circuits and systems operating at high frequencies, commonly found in radar, satellite communication, and wireless technologies.
  10. Nanoelectronics: Explores electronic components and systems at the nanoscale, often involving nanomaterials and nanotechnology for advanced
  11. Microelectronics: focused on the design and fabrication of miniature electronic components and circuits, often at the microscale. It involves the development of integrated circuits and semiconductor devices that power a wide array of modern electronics, from microprocessors in computers to sensors in smartphones.
  12. Integrated Circuit (IC) is a specialized field within electronic engineering dedicated to the design, development, and fabrication of compact, integrated circuits. These microscopic wonders combine multiple electronic components on a single chip, enabling the creation of powerful and efficient electronic systems, ranging from microprocessors in computers to intricate microcontrollers in everyday devices..

These disciplines collectively contribute to the diverse and rapidly evolving field of electronic engineering. some fields of electronic engineering overlaps with each other such as system engineer, defense engineer, design and computer etc. Engineers specializing in these areas collaborate to develop innovative solutions for a wide range of applications, from consumer electronics to industrial systems.

Who are Electronic Engineers and What Do They Do?

Electronic engineers are professionals who specialize in the field of electronic engineering, applying scientific principles and engineering techniques to design, develop, and maintain electronic systems and devices. Their work spans a wide range of applications, from consumer electronics and telecommunications to industrial control systems and medical devices. Here’s an overview of what electronic engineers typically do:

  1. Design and Development: Electronic engineers design and develop electronic circuits, components, and systems to meet specific requirements. This involves creating schematics, selecting components, and using simulation tools to ensure the functionality and performance of the designed systems.
  2. Embedded Systems: They work on embedded systems, which are dedicated computing devices integrated into larger systems or products. This includes designing microcontroller-based systems for applications like automotive control, industrial automation, and consumer electronics.
  3. Analog and Digital Systems: Electronic engineers specialize in either analog or digital systems, dealing with continuously varying signals or discrete binary signals, respectively. They may work on areas like signal processing, control systems, or digital communication.
  4. Microelectronics: In the realm of microelectronics, electronic engineers focus on the design and fabrication of tiny electronic components and integrated circuits. This field is crucial for advancing technologies in areas like computers, smartphones, and sensors.
  5. Communication Systems: Some electronic engineers concentrate on communication systems, designing and optimizing devices and networks for transmitting and receiving information. This includes areas like wireless communication, satellite systems, and networking.
  6. Power Electronics: Electronic engineers in power electronics focus on the conversion and control of electrical power. They design systems such as power supplies, inverters, and motor drives, playing a crucial role in energy management and efficiency.
  7. Testing and Troubleshooting: They are responsible for testing and troubleshooting electronic systems to ensure they meet performance and reliability standards. This may involve using testing equipment, conducting experiments, and analyzing data.
  8. Research and Innovation: Many electronic engineers engage in research and development, pushing the boundaries of technology. They explore emerging technologies, such as nanoelectronics and quantum computing, and contribute to innovations that shape the future of electronics.
  9. Project Management: Electronic engineers often work as part of interdisciplinary teams. They may take on project management roles, overseeing the planning, execution, and completion of projects, ensuring they meet technical and budgetary requirements.

Overall, electronic engineers play a crucial role in advancing technology, contributing to the design and implementation of the electronic systems that underpin modern society.

Mona Jarrahi - Working in Terahertz Electronics Applications
Mona Jarrahi – Working in Terahertz Electronics Applications

What Skills Does an Electronic Engineer Need?

Electronic engineers require a diverse set of skills to excel in their field and contribute to the design, development, and maintenance of electronic systems. Here are key skills that electronic engineers typically need:

  1. Electrical Circuit Design: Proficiency in designing analog and digital circuits, understanding electronic components, and creating schematics.
  2. Programming and Software Skills: Knowledge of programming languages (e.g., C, C++, Python) for embedded systems, microcontrollers, and digital signal processing.
  3. Problem-Solving: The ability to analyze and solve complex technical problems, whether in circuit design, system integration, or troubleshooting.
  4. Mathematics and Physics: Strong mathematical and physics foundations are crucial for understanding the principles that govern electronic systems.
  5. Computer-Aided Design (CAD): Familiarity with CAD tools for electronic design, simulation, and layout, such as SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) and EDA (Electronic Design Automation) tools.
  6. Digital Signal Processing (DSP): Understanding of DSP principles for processing and analyzing digital signals in applications like communication and audio processing.
  7. Microelectronics: Knowledge of microelectronics, including semiconductor physics, integrated circuit design, and fabrication processes.
  8. Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential for collaborating with interdisciplinary teams, presenting ideas, and explaining technical concepts to non-experts.
  9. Project Management: Skills to plan, organize, and manage projects, including time and resource management, to ensure successful completion.
  10. Testing and Measurement: Proficiency in using various testing equipment and measurement tools to validate and verify the performance of electronic systems.
  11. Power Electronics: Understanding of power electronics principles for designing systems that involve the conversion and control of electrical power.
  12. Adaptability and Learning Agility: The ability to adapt to evolving technologies and a commitment to continuous learning as the field of electronics evolves.
  13. Critical Thinking: The capacity to think critically and make informed decisions, especially when faced with complex engineering challenges.
  14. Teamwork: Collaboration is often crucial in electronic engineering projects, and the ability to work effectively within a team is essential.
  15. Ethical and Professional Conduct: Adherence to ethical standards and professional conduct, considering the impact of engineering decisions on safety, society, and the environment.

These skills collectively enable electronic engineers to navigate the dynamic and interdisciplinary nature of their field and contribute to the development of innovative electronic systems.

Girls in Electronics Engineering

What Careers are Available in Electronic Engineering?

Electronic engineering offers a broad range of career opportunities across various industries. Here are some common career paths available in electronic engineering:

  1. Electronics Design Engineer: Design and develop electronic circuits and systems for applications such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, and medical devices.
  2. Embedded Systems Engineer: Specialize in designing and programming embedded systems for specific applications, such as automotive control systems, industrial automation, and IoT devices.
  3. Microelectronics Engineer: Work in the design and fabrication of integrated circuits (ICs) and microelectronic components, contributing to advancements in computer technology and electronic devices.
  4. Digital Signal Processing Engineer: Focus on processing and analyzing digital signals, often employed in applications like telecommunications, audio processing, and image processing.
  5. Communication Systems Engineer: Design and optimize communication systems, including wireless networks, satellite communication, and data transmission technologies.
  6. Power Electronics Engineer: Develop and maintain electronic systems that involve the conversion and control of electrical power, such as power supplies, inverters, and motor drives.
  7. Control Systems Engineer: Specialize in designing and implementing control systems for applications ranging from industrial automation and robotics to aerospace and automotive systems.
  8. Test and Validation Engineer: Ensure the functionality and reliability of electronic systems by designing and conducting tests, analyzing data, and troubleshooting issues.
  9. RF (Radio Frequency) Engineer: Work with radio frequency systems, designing and optimizing circuits for applications like radar, satellite communication, and wireless technologies.
  10. Automation Engineer: Design and implement automated systems, integrating electronic components and control systems to enhance efficiency in manufacturing and industrial processes.
  11. Instrumentation Engineer: Develop electronic instruments and devices used for measurement and control in scientific, medical, and industrial settings.
  12. Research and Development Engineer: Engage in cutting-edge research to explore emerging technologies and contribute to innovations in electronic engineering.
  13. Telecommunications Engineer: Focus on the design, implementation, and maintenance of telecommunications infrastructure, including networks, satellite systems, and fiber optics.
  14. Quality Assurance Engineer: Ensure that electronic systems meet quality standards and regulatory requirements through rigorous testing and quality control processes.
  15. Project Manager: Oversee electronic engineering projects, from planning to execution, ensuring they are completed on time and within budget.

These careers can be found in diverse industries, including electronics manufacturing, telecommunications, aerospace, healthcare, automotive, and more. The field continues to evolve, offering opportunities for electronic engineers to contribute to technological advancements and address challenges in various sectors.

Luyao Xu - Ph.D. Graduate - Researcher in Wave Electronics
Luyao Xu – Ph.D. Graduate – Researcher in Wave Electronics

How to Become an Electronic Engineer?

Becoming an electronic engineer typically involves a combination of education, hands-on experience, and ongoing learning. Here’s a general guide on how to pursue a career as an electronic engineer:

1. Educational Requirements:

  • High School Education: Focus on mathematics and science courses, including physics. A strong foundation in these subjects is essential for success in electronic engineering.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Obtain a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering, electrical engineering, or a related field. Ensure that the program is accredited by relevant engineering accreditation bodies. The coursework typically covers electronics, circuits, digital systems, and related topics.

2. Gain Practical Experience:

  • Internships and Co-ops: Seek internships or cooperative education opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the field. This can provide valuable exposure to real-world engineering projects.
  • Participate in Projects: Join student organizations, participate in engineering projects, or engage in extracurricular activities that involve electronics. This practical experience can enhance your skills and make you more competitive in the job market.

3. Develop Technical Skills:

  • Learn Programming: Acquire programming skills, particularly in languages commonly used in electronic engineering such as C, C++, or Python.
  • Use CAD Tools: Familiarize yourself with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools used in electronic design, simulation, and layout.

4. Networking and Professional Development:

  • Attend Industry Events: Attend conferences, seminars, and networking events in the field of electronic engineering. This can help you stay informed about industry trends and connect with professionals.
  • Join Professional Organizations: Become a member of professional organizations like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Membership can provide access to resources, networking opportunities, and industry insights.

5. Advanced Education (Optional):

  • Master’s or Ph.D. (if desired): Consider pursuing advanced degrees for specialized roles or research positions. Some engineering disciplines may require or prefer candidates with higher-level degrees.

6. Build a Portfolio:

  • Create a Portfolio: Develop a portfolio showcasing your academic projects, internships, and any personal electronics projects you’ve worked on. This can be valuable when applying for jobs.

7. Job Search and Apply:

  • Prepare a Resume: Craft a well-structured resume that highlights your education, skills, and relevant experience.
  • Apply for Entry-Level Positions: Start applying for entry-level positions in electronic engineering. Look for opportunities that align with your interests and skills.

8. Stay Current and Grow:

  • Continuing Education: Electronic engineering is a dynamic field, and staying current with industry trends and emerging technologies is crucial. Consider pursuing additional certifications or training courses as needed.
  • Professional Development: Seek opportunities for professional development, such as workshops or online courses, to enhance your skills and knowledge throughout your career.

By following these steps, you can build a solid foundation and increase your chances of success in the field of electronic engineering. Remember that continuous learning and adaptability are key in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Learning Practical Electronic Engineering

How Much Does an Electronic Engineer Earn?

The salary of electronic engineers are subject to variations influenced by factors such as experience, education, location, industry, and the specific role within electronic engineering. Additionally, salary packages may be affected by the demand for electronic engineers in a particular region or country. Presented below are general figures (based on the available date from different industries) to offer an overview; however, it’s important to note that these figures are approximate and may change over time.

  1. Entry-Level Positions:
    • In the United States, an entry-level electronic engineer might earn anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000 per year.
    • In the United Kingdom, entry-level salaries can range from £25,000 to £35,000 annually.
  2. Mid-Level Positions:
    • With a few years of experience, mid-level electronic engineers may earn between $70,000 and $100,000 in the United States.
    • In the United Kingdom, mid-level salaries could range from £35,000 to £50,000 per year.
  3. Experienced/Senior Positions:
    • Experienced electronic engineers, especially those in leadership or managerial roles, may earn well over $100,000 per year in the United States.
    • In the United Kingdom, senior electronic engineers can earn salaries upwards of £60,000 or more.
  4. Industry and Location Impact:
    • Salaries can vary significantly based on the industry. For example, electronic engineers working in the aerospace or semiconductor industry may have higher earning potential compared to those in other sectors.
    • The cost of living in a specific location can also influence salaries. Cities with a higher cost of living generally offer higher salaries to compensate.
  5. Global Variances:
    • Salaries can differ across countries due to economic conditions, industry demand, and regional cost of living. For instance, salaries in certain developed countries may be higher than in developing nations.
  6. Additional Compensation:
    • Benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, bonuses, and stock options can contribute to the overall compensation package.

It’s essential to research specific job markets, industries, and regions to obtain more accurate and up-to-date salary information. Additionally, factors like specialization in a particular area of electronic engineering or obtaining advanced degrees can positively influence salary levels. Consulting salary surveys, industry reports, and job market trends can provide valuable insights for those considering or already working in the field.


1. What is Electronic Engineering?

Electronic Engineering is a branch of engineering that involves the study, design, and application of electronic circuits and systems. It encompasses a wide range of technologies, including analog and digital electronics, microelectronics, telecommunications, and power systems.

2. What do Electronic Engineers do?

Electronic engineers design, develop, and maintain electronic systems and devices. They work on tasks such as circuit design, microelectronics, embedded systems, communication systems, and power electronics. Their responsibilities also include testing, troubleshooting, and ensuring the functionality of electronic systems.

3. How is Electronic Engineering different from Electrical Engineering?

While both fields involve working with electricity and electronics, Electrical Engineering is different than Electronic Engineering. Electrical Engineering is a broader discipline that includes power systems, electromagnetism, and control systems. Electronic Engineering, on the other hand, specifically focuses on electronic circuits and systems.

4. What are the key skills needed for a career in Electronic Engineering?

Key skills for electronic engineers include electrical circuit design, programming, problem-solving, mathematics, knowledge of CAD tools, communication skills, and the ability to work with testing and measurement equipment.

5. What are some common career paths in Electronic Engineering?

Common career paths include electronics design engineer, embedded systems engineer, microelectronics engineer, digital signal processing engineer, communication systems engineer, power electronics engineer, and control systems engineer.

6. What education is required to become an Electronic Engineer?

Typically, a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or a related field is required. Some roles may require or prefer advanced degrees, such as a master’s or Ph.D.

7. How much do Electronic Engineers earn?

Salaries for electronic engineers vary based on factors like experience, education, location, and industry. Entry-level salaries may start around $60,000 to $80,000, while experienced engineers can earn well over $100,000 annually.

8. What is the future outlook for careers in Electronic Engineering?

The future outlook is positive, with ongoing advancements in technology driving demand for electronic engineers. Emerging fields such as IoT (Internet of Things), artificial intelligence, and 5G technology are likely to create new opportunities.

9. Can I specialize in a particular area within Electronic Engineering?

Yes, electronic engineers often specialize in areas such as microelectronics, communication systems, power electronics, or control systems. Specialization can enhance expertise in a specific domain and open up niche career opportunities.

10. Are there professional organizations for Electronic Engineers?

Yes, organizations like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) provide resources, networking opportunities, and support for professionals in the field of electronic engineering.

11. Is Electronic Engineering suitable for girls?

Absolutely! Electronic Engineering is a gender-neutral field that welcomes and values diverse perspectives. Girls can excel in various roles within electronic engineering, contributing their creativity and skills to innovate and shape the future of technology.

12. Are there successful female electronic engineers?

Yes! Many accomplished female in electronic engineering have made substantial contributions to the industry. Whether designing cutting-edge electronics or leading research and development teams, these women showcase their excellence, emphasizing the inclusive and equal opportunities available within the field.

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