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Electronic Engineering: Graduate Area of Work
From consumer goods, medical technology, military equipment and automotive and communications products, the electronics industry offers graduates numerous opportunities for specialisation.
Electronics define the modern world.
Whether it’s manufacturers of high-volume consumer products like Samsung and Apple, or specialised medical equipment providers like Accuray (who may only produce a few hundred product units per year) – electronics companies encompass many areas of expertise.
This industry contributes to quite a large chunk of Singapore’s GDP – constituting nearly 25 percent of the local manufacturing sector’s worth.
Key players like Seagate, Broadcom, and STMicroelectrics, for instance, have selected Singapore as their regional centre of operations in Southeast Asia thanks to the city-state’s advanced infrastructure and facilities.
Trends and developments in the electronics industry
Globally, miniaturisation is a constant pursuit in this industry, as manufacturers are doing their best to pack the best technology into the most compact size possible.
An up-and-coming trend is the focus on “wearable” technologies, such as Apple’s “smart” watch and Google Glass, which allows information to be fed to users in a non-intrusive way.
Some of Singapore’s key strengths in electronics manufacturing lie in semiconductors and integrated devices, but the government is also looking to expand into other areas, such as microelectronics.
This translates to increased R&D investments in coming years along the production line, from component-level design and processes; to product designs, firmware development, and industrial design.
What it’s like working in electronics
Roles in this industry are very broad – depending on which area you go into, your job description may differ.
For instance, if you’re working in electronics for the medical industry, you can expect to be involved in extensive research and projects with long lead time.
Comparatively, working in consumer electronics can be very fast-paced and highly competitive. You may be pushed to come up with a completely new product – from conception to production – in as little as six months!
Work is usually done in teams, but then again, the working environment is also very sector-dependent. Specialised electronics manufacturers usually favour small multidisciplinary teams or – in some cases – independent research.
Consumer electronics, on the other hand, places emphasis on large teams as they need to achieve maximum output in minimal time.
This emphasis on teamwork calls for good communication and people skills, especially when you need to relay your message effectively.
The ability to prioritise and plan effectively, along with good decision-making skills, are also essential. Problem-solving ability, too, is underscored and sought after by most recruiters in this industry.
Getting a graduate job in electronic engineering
Most graduates get into this industry via graduate schemes. While the focus may largely be on electronic engineering graduates, engineers from other disciplines are also highly encouraged to apply.
With regards to career progression, engineers in this line of work may be promoted into a management or technical consultancy position within the company after a certain period of time.
There are also commercial roles, such as technical marketing or sales positions, where you’ll need to combine customer service skills with engineering knowledge.
With enough experience and expertise, electronics engineers may also opt to become specialised consultants later on in their career.
There’s a huge market for independent contractors and consultants in this industry.
The highlights of a career in electronics
Many electronics engineers enjoy the diversity within the industry, where they get to explore a variety of industries and creative ways of solving difficult technical problems.
Another highlight is the opportunity to work with advanced technology, using it to manufacture other technologies.
While there may also be opportunities for travel (due to this being a global industry), other engineers simply appreciate the satisfaction of seeing their finished products hit the market.
Knowing that you’re responsible for merchandise that can influence people’s daily lives is a pretty big highlight.
The electronics industry seeks graduates in...
- Power systems