The benefits of security cleared electronics engineer jobs
Electronics engineering jobs are some of the most dynamic and in-demand positions for people with technical skills and experience. Whether you're just starting out as a graduate or apprentice, or if you're looking for a change of scenery - perhaps after leaving the armed forces, for example - these roles offer a range of benefits.
High earnings, an interesting and varied day-to-day experience and the potential for quick career progression are all amongst the advantages those with the right technical skills can enjoy from electronics engineering positions.
Starting a career in electronics engineering
There are many paths to electronic engineering jobs. You may be just starting out on your career and have completed an academic qualification in a relevant field. Or, you may have been undertaking similar roles elsewhere, for example in the military.
In fact, if you are leaving the armed forces after serving in a technical role, electronics engineering jobs could be an excellent way to use your transferable skills in civilian life.
Regardless of your background, there are both academic and vocational routes into this sector. So what do you need to know when looking for a new career in electronics engineering?
What is the job of an electronics engineer?
Electronics engineers work on any systems that rely on electronics. It's a specialised discipline, but one that's closely related to fields such as electrical engineering, aeronautical engineering and mechatronics.
They could be asked to design, develop and maintain components for any form of electronic device, from computers and telecommunications systems to manufacturing equipment. As such, it's a wide ranging role with plenty of opportunities across many different industries.
What qualifications do you need to be an electronics engineer?
An undergraduate or Master's degree in electronics engineering is often the most obvious path to a career in this field. However, a specific degree isn't always necessary, especially if you have relevant on-the-job experience or a qualification in a related subject. Other degree routes that can prove useful include physics or other engineering specialties that offer electronics modules.
However, an academic path isn't the only way into electronic engineering jobs. Taking on apprenticeships or vocational training can be a great way to build up your knowledge while also gaining real-world experience.
Other steps that may be useful for more experienced professionals looking to move up the ladder include becoming a member of professional organisations such as the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) or the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
As well as providing accreditation for your skills, these groups can present numerous opportunities for networking and further professional development to boost your chances of finding the perfect job for you.
Why should you study electronic engineering?
Studying electronic engineering can be a good choice for anyone who wants to work in an interesting, dynamic field with lots of scope for variation. Electronics are at the heart of almost everything we use in our day-to-day lives, so there will always be plenty of opportunities for specialising in an area that particularly interests you.
Some of the key skills that are required to be successful in electronic engineering include:
- Technical knowledge
- IT capabilities
- Strategic thinking
- Attention to detail
- Problem solving
- Communications and collaboration
- Project management and leadership
What jobs can you do with an electronic engineering degree?
If you do have a degree in electronic engineering or relevant experience, you'll find there are many sectors where these skills are in high demand. Whether it's working on broadcast or communications equipment, robotics or critical infrastructure, electronic engineering jobs offer a highly diverse range of opportunities.
Some of the job titles that may ask for experience in electronic engineering include - but are not limited to:
- Aerospace engineer
- Broadcast engineer
- CAD technician
- Control and instrumentation engineer
- Electrical design engineer
- Electrical engineer
- Field service engineer
- Nuclear engineer
- Power electronics engineer
- Project manager
- Software engineer
Finding electronic engineering jobs
Even if you have the right skills and experience needed for success in electronic engineering, how do you actually go about finding a role that's right for you?
Where do electronics engineers work?
Electronics engineers work across many sectors, including at some of the UK's biggest and best-known companies, such as:
- BAE Systems
As a result, you may find yourself working on some of the most cutting-edge and dynamic projects in the country, from the latest defence contracts to building the next generation of the nation's infrastructure networks.
There are also opportunities for these professionals all over the UK. While London and the south-east offer the most opportunities, the east of England, the north-west and Scotland also have many roles in this field.
There are a range of subfields within electronic engineering that you can pursue, which may be particularly useful for those with pertinent experience. For example, ex-military professionals with a background in signals may find the telecommunications sector particularly relevant to their experience.
Are electronics engineers in demand?
Yes. As is the case with many STEM-focused jobs, electronics engineers are highly in-demand professionals who should be able to find employment opportunities around the UK. According to Career Smart, there were estimated to be around 37,500 electronics engineers in employment in the UK in 2021. However, this is set to rise to over 39,000 by 2027.
What is the average salary for electronics engineers?
For a graduate electronics engineer or an individual looking to move to a new career as a junior engineer, salaries for these positions typically start at around £25,000, but with many opportunities for progression, you could quickly see this increase.
Overall, average salaries for an electronics engineer in the UK are in the region of £44,000 a year. However, senior electronics engineers could easily see pay awards of around £70,000, with the most skilled and experienced individuals even exceeding £100,000.
What are security cleared electronics engineering roles?
Many electronics engineering roles require working with highly sensitive equipment, including those critical to national infrastructure and security. As such, many jobs in this field will require applicants to possess - or be able to obtain - a security clearance.
For instance, many positions in sectors such as aerospace, defence, utilities and telecommunications will require these clearances. This is essential in demonstrating that applicants not only have the technical skill and experience necessary for the job, but can also bring qualities such as integrity and trustworthiness to the role.
This is another reason why ex-forces personnel may be highly attractive to recruiters. A military background shows that you have the discipline, leadership and other personal qualities needed to obtain a security clearance. This can be a long and arduous process, so employers will need to feel confident from the start that potential candidates have the best chance of succeeding.