Electronics Engineer

Mataaro Tāhiko

Alternative titles for this job

Electronics engineers design and oversee production of electronic equipment such as radios, televisions, computers, washing machines and telecommunication systems. They may also work in sales and technical support.

Pay

Newly qualified electronics engineers usually earn

$50K-$65K per year

Experienced electronics engineers usually earn

$65K-$110K per year

Source: Engineering NZ, 2017.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as an electronics engineer are good due to a shortage of workers.

Pay

Pay for electronics engineers varies depending on experience and the type of work they do.

  • Newly qualified electronics engineers can expect to earn $50,000 to $65,000 a year.
  • Experienced electronics engineers can earn between $65,000 and $110,000, or more.

Source: Engineering New Zealand, 2017. 

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Electronics engineers:

  • research, design and supervise production of electronic circuits, components, equipment and computer programs
  • investigate and test new electronics components and equipment
  • present reports and proposals to clients or colleagues
  • modify and service electronic, computer and communications equipment
  • provide technical sales and support. 

Skills and knowledge

Electronics engineers need to have knowledge of:

  • physics, mechanics, electronics, maths and computers
  • new methods and technology in the electronics industry
  • software and computer-aided design and development
  • design skills. 

Working conditions

Electronics engineers:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may be required to work long hours, evenings and weekends to meet deadlines
  • work in offices, workshops, and factories
  • may travel to worksites to do installation and servicing work.

What's the job really like?

Terry Southern

Terry Southern

Electronics Engineer/Company Director

Why study electronics engineering?

"Electronics are everywhere. You're always thinking about how you can improve something – how you can design to make it smaller, better, faster, stronger. You can also use your skills to help around the household – you've always got toasters, computers and other devices that need fixing!

"I really like using embedded electronics to solve problems – I'm a real problem solver, and have been for as long as I can remember."

What are some of your highlights so far?

"Developing high-tech scientific instrumentation for nuclear magnetic resonance machines. As electronics progresses, things get smaller and cheaper. The machine that we've helped develop is able to outperform existing machines that cost more than 20 times as much.

"We've also developed a Flight Sound USB adapter. It allows pilots to connect their aviation headsets to their computer. So if pilots want to use their headsets with flight simulator applications, Skype, iTunes, or any other audio application, it can go through our interface electronics."

Entry requirements

To become an electronics engineer, you usually need to have a Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Technology. However, some employers may accept a New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Electronic).

Secondary education

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include mathematics, physics, construction and mechanical technologies, and processing technologies. 

Personal requirements

Electronics engineers need to be:

  • motivated
  • creative and inquiring
  • patient and persistent
  • good written and oral communicators
  • able to work independently, and as part of a team
  • able to work to deadlines.

You need to be focused and have a problem-solving mind. You also need to be really good at mathematics and physics, with an appreciation for the world of numbers, because there are a lot of numbers attached to the job.

Photo: Terry Southern

Terry Southern

Electronics Engineer/Company Director

Useful experience

Useful experience for electronics engineers includes:

  • electronics as a hobby
  • design work
  • work as an electronics technician
  • experience testing electronic equipment
  • work with computers or communications systems
  • work experience in an electronics production environment.

Physical requirements

Electronics engineers need to have good hand-eye co-ordination and good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) as they deal with very small electronic components.

Registration

Electronics engineers can apply to the Institute of Professional Engineers to become registered as a chartered professional engineer (CPEng) once they have completed practical work experience (usually four to five years) and a practical competency assessment. 

Chartered engineers must be assessed at least once every six years to ensure they are competent, and have been undertaking professional development.

Find out more about training

Engineering New Zealand 
(04) 473 9444 - hello@engineeringnz.org - www.engineeringnz.org
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Demand for electronics engineers is high, particularly in Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington. There are opportunities in telecommunications, niche product design, and increasingly in sales and technical support for electronic equipment. However, opportunities for electronics engineers in senior technical design roles can be limited in New Zealand.

Electronics engineer and electronic engineering technician appear on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled electronics engineers and electronic engineering technicians from overseas to work in New Zealand.

Graduates should target companies with training programmes  

Finding work can be challenging for graduates as many electronics companies are small and prefer engineers with three or more years' experience. However, some larger companies have graduate training programmes, such as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare in Auckland. 

More demand for electronics engineers in telecommunications 

There are good opportunities for electronics engineers who specialise in telecommunications to develop and upgrade mobile phone and broadband internet networks for government and telecommunications companies. 

Good demand for electronics engineers to design new products

New Zealand's electronic industry is small with most companies designing and manufacturing niche electronic products for export, and employing only a few staff. However, electronics engineers are in demand to research and design new electronic products in areas such as renewable energy and agricultural management systems, and to improve the efficiency of smart phones and other devices.

Most electronics engineers work for electronics design and manufacturing companies 

Electronics engineers generally work for electronics design and manufacturing companies. They can also work for:

  • large companies that rely on engineers or service technicians for specialist electronic equipment
  • companies providing sales and technical support for electronic equipment obtained from off-shore manufacturers 
  • telecommunications companies.

Sources

  • Demidenko, S, associate head, School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University, Careers Directorate - Tertiary Education Commission interview, December 2017. 
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Long Term Skill Shortage List', 19 February 2018, (www.immigration.govt.nz). 
  • Mitton, T, general manager, Proto Electronics Ltd, Careers Directorate - Tertiary Education Commission interview, December 2017.  

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Electronics engineers may progress to set up their own electronics business, or move into team leader or management roles.

Electronics engineers may specialise in:

  • power electronics design 
  • wireless RF (radio frequency) 
  • computer hardware engineering
  • semiconductor design 
  • software development 
  • mechatronics, including robotics design
  • technical sales and support.  
Electronics engineer looking at a circuit board on a computer

Electronic engineers work on circuit board designs for high voltage test equipment (Photo: Protronix Ltd)

Last updated 5 December 2019