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The earning prospects as a trained and experienced electrical engineering engineer are excellent, but that should by no means be the sole motivator. The most important thing you need for a career as an electrical engineering engineer is a passion for this field of work. If you find precise control of electrons fascinating and you are certain that you want to work with it, then you have laid the foundation for your career.
The earlier you enter the industry, the better. As an electrical engineering engineer, your focus is less on wiring or household outlets. Electronics concentrate on applications that involve controlling systems, devices, or machinery. The currents you deal with are relatively weak. However, planning a circuit board or a complete machine control system is much more complicated than a household installation.
Therefore, an ideal start is a vocational training as an electronics technician. In this training, you will learn the proper use of soldering irons and measuring devices. You will become familiar with all electronic components during this time. The special advantage is that you will feel and get to know this field, and its characteristics will become second nature to you. This is much better than pursuing a theoretical degree after a practice-distant high school diploma.
With the degree as an electronics technician in hand, you can enroll in a technical school. Over the next two (full-time) or four (part-time) years, you will dive deep into the subject matter. You will also take your first steps in independently planning sophisticated circuits.
With your technician certificate, you will also have the equivalent of a technical high school diploma (Fachabitur). This makes you eligible to study electrical engineering. With the prior knowledge as a state-certified technician, you can complete the bachelor’s degree at least two semesters ahead of your classmates who have just graduated from school. Thus, you can achieve your bachelor’s degree in three years. For most careers as an electrical engineering engineer, this qualification is sufficient, especially if you can already demonstrate your excellent education and experience. However, if you want to pursue the path further, two more years of master’s studies await you. With this degree, you will truly have everything you need to launch your career in the industry.
TIP: It wouldn’t hurt to take a few courses in business administration (BWL) alongside your electrical engineering studies.
The Alternative: Dual Studies
With the dual study program, you have another very interesting educational path open to becoming an electrical engineering engineer. In this program, you study at a university or a technical college while simultaneously working in a company. This offers the following advantages:
A Google search for the earning opportunities for electrical engineering engineers can be disappointing. Many sources mention an entry-level salary of 3400 to 3900 euros. However, this should be seen in relative terms. An entry-level salary today only covers the first six months until the end of the probationary period. After that, your salary should have at least a 4 at the beginning; otherwise, the next headhunter will try to recruit you.
Within a few years, your salary will increase to at least 5000 euros gross per month. If you are young and unattached, gaining some years of international experience could be an interesting booster for your career. Especially in booming regions like Dubai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, or Silicon Valley, the demand for electrical engineering engineers is very high. Here, you can not only gather international experience and build important networks but also earn a very attractive income. After your return to Germany, this experience will provide you with a strong negotiating position.
As you work as an electrical engineering engineer over time, not only will the projects become more demanding, but you will also be expected to possess the following soft skills:
Of course, every electrical engineering engineer has a little “Daniel Düsentrieb” (inventor) inside, who would love to create fantastic things in their workshop. However, reality is different. As an electrical engineering engineer, you may eventually be placed in roles like team leader, department head, or even plant manager. Therefore, leadership and quality control will become part of your responsibilities quite early on. This is ultimately also inherent in the nature of the profession: as a highly qualified electrical engineering engineer, technicians and electronics technicians will be subordinate to you. Being able to lead them skillfully will make it easier for you to achieve your goals.
Today, no one can ignore AI anymore. It will infiltrate engineering just as it has already done in many other industries. Therefore, you should always be prepared for this. When used wisely, AI is a highly efficient tool, similar to how CAD programs were for electrical design in the past. The capabilities of artificial intelligence are undeniably remarkable, but it remains a tool. It cannot replace the creative mind of a passionate and skilled electrical engineering engineer. However, it can pose a threat to less competent employees who feel comfortable with routine tasks. This is where your responsibility comes into play, especially when taking on leadership roles. Lifelong learning is expected from everyone today. Your task will also involve motivating your subordinates for continuous qualification. The growing capabilities of AI can, in the worst case, serve as a driving force for this.
A trained electrical engineering engineer has numerous areas where they can work. Most jobs are offered in the industry, where countless special machine manufacturers, engineering firms, or electronic component manufacturers constantly require skilled professionals. Additionally, the federal government or the military (Bundeswehr) also have a high demand for electrical engineering engineers, where a well-paid civil servant status may even be enticing. However, for many electrical engineering engineers, the path eventually leads to entrepreneurship. Start-ups and spin-offs with an electrical engineering background are established daily. At this point, having enriched your Master’s in Electrical Engineering with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BWL) can prove beneficial.
Electronics rarely stand alone. In stationary applications, such as Smart Homes or Smart Offices, architects work alongside electrical engineering engineers. In mechanical engineering, it is engineers and technicians from this field. These disciplines must work hand in hand to achieve the best possible product quality. Cross-departmental communication is therefore indispensable for the profession of an electrical engineering engineer.