Watch the video version below or read on for a day in the life of an electrical engineer –
Job Title: Electrical Engineer / Project Engineer
Industry: Engineering Consulting
Location: Brighton, MI
Salary/Benefits: $72k plus overtime
Employer Type: Private company
Employer Size: 80 employees
How Long in Current Position: 3 years
Highest Level of Education: B.S. Electrical Engineering (Certificate in Power Engineering)
Path to This Job: I’ve always been interested in the construction industry. I was working for an electrical contractor during college while I was pursuing my engineering degree. After college, I had moved to Wisconsin to work for a different electrical contractor for several years. I decided to move back to my home area in Metro-Detroit, MI. I started working for another electrical contractor and was offered a position at a consulting firm in which the company designs manufacturing plants.
A typical day at work:
4:00am: Alarm goes off, I get up and get ready for the day.
5:00am: Start my commute to work (sometimes I work at the office, other times I work remotely at the job site, depends on the job).
6:00am – 11:00am: Arrive at work. Startup my computer, check emails I may have gotten throughout the night as I have a few projects that are being worked on during 3rd shift. I work throughout the morning performing my tasks as required for the project I’m working on. This includes writing scope of works, design specifications, CAD work. It varies.
Due to my background being electrical infrastructure, most of my design work is electrical (power distribution centers, end use distribution layout, etc.). Due to the size of my company though, often times I wear many hats. I’ve worked on designing mechanical systems and HVAC solutions. I will design a solution to one of those problems and then review with a senior engineer whose specialty is mechanical. This is done as those individuals may have a significant work load and may not have the time to sit down and fully design a system. I will discuss with them the solution I implemented and discuss any assumptions I made for the project with the pros/cons of the solution to determine if there’s another approach I should take.
Scattered into these times, I will have meetings with either customers (project status meetings, engineering meetings, construction meetings, etc.) or internal meetings with team members on other projects that need input on electrical systems.
If my day takes me to the field as a project engineer, I will oversee construction focusing on the electrical side as we will have mechanical engineers to oversee the mechanical side of things. These projects are often in the scale of several hundred million dollars, so we will have a staff of engineers to oversee the construction to ensure that what is being built in the field is what was designed/spec’d and more importantly, to modify the design if required because the solution we may have come up with in the office may not be able to be implemented in the field for various reasons.
11:00am: Break for lunch if time allows. If I’m in the office, I eat at my desk, so I continue working as described above.
11:00am – ???: After lunch I continue working as described above. If I’m working 8 hour days, I will head home around 2:30 PM, but often times my days carry me till 6 or 7 at night. It all depends on the project.
READERS, SUBMIT YOUR DAY: The Career Files Submission Form
If you enjoyed this day in the life of an electrical engineer, check out our other day in the life posts here