What Does an Electronic Engineering Technologist Do?

TROY's Electronics Engineering Technology degree positions you to innovate within the field and grow continuously in your career.

TROY's Electronics Engineering Technology degree positions you to innovate within the field and grow continuously in your career.

Have you ever wondered how your favorite devices work or wanted to get a deeper understanding of the technology that helps shape our lives? Electronics engineering technologists and technicians have an up-close view of everything from smartphones to security systems. They combine a passion for technology with technical expertise to improve and innovate new devices, systems and components. 

Electronic engineering technicians and technologists are instrumental in bringing technologies we rely on to life. But what does an electronics engineering technician do, and where can they work? If you’re interested in this career path, we’ll share the roles, responsibilities, job opportunities and salaries you can expect. 

What is an Electronics Engineering Technologist?

An electronics engineering technologist handles a wide range of electronic components used in various devices and systems. These components include resistors, microcontrollers, printed circuit boards, sensors, connectors, switches and optical fibers. Additionally, electronics engineering technologists may work with integrated circuits, transistors, capacitors and diodes. These are essential for devices we use every day, including smartphones, laptops, tablets and gaming consoles. 

The automotive, industrial, communication, healthcare and aerospace industries also rely on the work of electronic engineering technicians and technologists. CNC machines, robotic arms, diagnostic equipment, imaging devices, modems, routers and flight control systems all incorporate the components on which electronics engineering technology professionals work. 

Dr. Raj Kumar Vinnakota is an Assistant Professor in Troy University’s B.S. in electronics engineering technology program. He shares that electronics engineering technologists are in particularly high demand. This demand is driven by the surge in automation and sustainable technologies like smart devices, automation robots, electric vehicles and other innovations.

“Given the global shift toward renewable energies, the significance of energy-efficient and semiconductor devices is paramount,” he asserts. “At TROY, we emphasize the importance of efficient design principles, especially in semiconductor device design. Through hands-on exposure to COMSOL Multiphysics software, a tool widely used across industries like aerospace, automotive and research, our students actively participate in simulation exercises. They focus on various semiconducting devices such as photodiodes, LEDs and solar cells, exploring the working principles and intricacies of energy-efficient principles and carefully analyzing performance factors.” 

He adds, “This expertise not only enhances their employability but also positions them as indispensable assets in semiconductor industries, where they serve as experts in device simulation. Additionally, our students’ proficiency benefits other industrial sectors such as alternative energy and automotive. In these sectors, where innovation and efficiency are critical, our students bring unique insights and capabilities, driving forward advancements in renewable energy technologies, electric vehicles and sustainable transportation systems.”

Electronics engineering technology careers can be found in the semiconductor industries, telecommunications, consumer technologies, home security, aerospace, defense, medical technology, manufacturing and information technology industries — and many others. They help ensure smartphones work flawlessly, contribute to the reliability of medical devices such as MRI machines and keep us connected through communication networks that rely on fiber optics.

“Electronic engineering technologists have a versatile skill set that allows them to fill needs in any industry that creates or relies on electronic devices, which is most industries,” says Dr. Vinnakota. 

Electronics engineering technologists and technicians can also expect to make a good living. While an electronic engineering technician’s salary varies depending on the industry and location, Zippia reports the average annual salary in 2023 was ​​$67,801 and the highest salary was $93,000.

What’s the Difference Between Electrical vs. Electronic Engineering?

One of the questions that professors at TROY encounter is the difference between electrical vs. electronic engineering. While there is some overlap in technologies and projects, electrical engineers generally engage with larger-scale systems, whereas electronics engineers specialize in smaller systems and devices. Electrical engineers concentrate on developing new components, circuits and systems, whereas electronic engineering technicians play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth operation of electronic devices in these systems.

“In simple terms, electrical engineers design new things, which requires a stronger background in math and theory,” Dr. Vinnakota explains. “Electronics engineering technologists work on electronic circuits that already exist, which requires more hands-on experimentation.”

For example, he adds, “If an issue arises with an electronic system, electronics engineering technologists can troubleshoot, fix and maintain that system. A technologist is crucial in ensuring a device works smoothly and continues to work. If a device malfunctions, a technologist can go back to the manufacturer-supported documentation and understand a missing or defective component. Electrical engineers build those devices from the ground up. The industries work closely together. There’s a lot of collaboration between the roles.”

What Skills Do You Need for Electronics Engineering Technology Careers?

Becoming an electronic engineering technician or technologist requires knowledge of mathematics, computer science and physics. Additionally, it takes a specialized skill set that brings together analytical thinking, problem-solving and technical aptitude. 

But the best preparation for electronic engineering technician jobs, according to Dr. Vinnakota, comes in hands-on experience. At TROY, students get that experience in many ways, including in-class exercises, projects, internships and a capstone project. 

“We strive for a balance between theory, which includes math, and practical skills,” says Dr. Vinnakota. “We start with the basics, like how a resistor works and how to charge a battery using a circuit. Then, students learn how to build complex circuits. From there, they learn to work with a variety of components and electronics, such as diodes, transistors, microcontrollers, optical fibers, LEDs, robotic arms and programmable logic controllers, working with Raspberry Pi and Python coding. This experience makes our students highly marketable because it’s relevant to the demands of many industries.”

To gain hands-on experience in simulation and understand the operations of various components, students at TROY undergo training in circuit design and device modeling using software tools such as Multisim and the previously mentioned COMSOL Multiphysics program. Dr. Vinnakota highlights that this facet of the program facilitates students’ engagement in numerical experimentation and observation, fostering visualization-based learning. Additionally, mastering CAD tools for circuit design is deemed a crucial skill for electronic engineering technologists.

“It’s crucial for students to understand the practical applications of their lecture material,” he explains. “Having access to 3D printers allows them to bring their projects to life and evaluate their effectiveness. For example, a student working on a home security project could utilize a scaled-down model of a house to explore, experiment, and demonstrate how the system operates. This hands-on experience fosters a sense of achievement. Although it may not replicate the entire system, it offers invaluable insights that theoretical study alone cannot provide.

Electronic engineering technologists’ roles demand additional skills such as adaptability, effective data analysis, strong communication abilities and teamwork.

In the realm of electronics engineering technology, solitary work is rare. Soft skills are indispensable across the industry, emphasizing the necessity of adeptness in collaborative environments,” states Dr. Vinnakota. “This is precisely why our electronics engineering program at TROY emphasizes teamwork. Students gain insights into the various roles they can fulfill with in-class team projects, preparing them comprehensively for their future endeavors.”

Readying the Next Generation of Electronic Engineering Technologists

This wealth of hands-on experience is one of the greatest benefits of the TROY Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, says Dr. Vinnakota. In addition to focused in-class exercises, students have the opportunity to explore areas of their own interest in capstone projects. They’ll also learn how to present their findings.

“I’ve had students work on and build projects like robotic arms, benchtop versions of optical communication systems, and even electronic guitars using microcontrollers and Raspberry Pi,” Dr. Vinnakota shares. “For example, one student with a passion for music developed a circuit capable of modifying and recording guitar sounds.”

TROY students can also work with professors to support research projects, write journal articles and participate in academic conferences. This opportunity can help students prepare for collaboration in the workplace and in graduate research.

Another benefit of TROY’s program is its relationships with prestigious companies and organizations, which can lead to internships at companies such as Lockheed Martin, Johnson Outdoors and Enterprise Electronics Corporation.

“These internships provide students with the advantage of first-hand knowledge of the equipment used in the industry, ensuring they’re industry-ready when they graduate,” says Dr. Vinnakota.

To complement what they learn in their courses and internships, students can participate in various student organizations, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society (IEEE).

“The main goal of this organization is to create a platform for electronics students to get trained in other circuit designing skills,” adds Dr. Vinnakota. “For example, they can gain additional knowledge in 3D printing and designing or build their skills in soldering electronic boards. They’ll also make connections with senior students in the program.”

Earn Your Electronics Engineering Technology Degree at TROY

Ready to take the next step toward your electronics engineering technology career? Explore the electronics engineering technology program to learn more about the field and your career options.