What does an Electronics Design Engineer do?

L.K. Blackburn

An electronics design engineer is responsible for the design and creation of electronic hardware and devices for companies in industries such as manufacturing, aerospace, and telecommunications. Electronics design engineers develop hardware and software solutions, create design schematics and prototypes, and supervise the new-product creation process for electronic components and machines. Engineers may work for a company that directly creates new products and designs, or work on a contract basis for a company that needs electrical design services.

Electronic design engineers create design schematics and prototypes.
Electronic design engineers create design schematics and prototypes.

Design engineers are also considered instrumentation engineers, as they are responsible for the development of system components for machines and other electronic equipment. An electronics design engineer is therefore generally considered distinct from an electrical engineer, who works with the movement and application of electrical power itself. In comparison, an electronics design engineer creates the systems and machines that use electricity to function. Examples of this include telecommunication components, signal processing equipment, and machine control systems.

Electronics design engineers utilize computer drafting programs to draw schematics.
Electronics design engineers utilize computer drafting programs to draw schematics.

From the first schematic design to prototype assembly, electronics design engineers guide the creation process of new instruments and equipment. This process includes the layout of diagrams and schematics for construction as well as any necessary research for the equipment's building and implementation. Once the design has been determined, engineers are also involved in the process of component parts selection for the actual building of the new product or machine.

Hardware and software creation for the operation of machines and equipment is also guided by an electronics design engineer as well as the layout of circuits and component parts. When a final design is assembled and a prototype can be created, design engineers test and trouble-shoot the device or equipment for design issues and construction flaws. Once this process is complete, engineers typically oversee product manufacturing. An electronics design engineer may also be part of the overall process, such as being in charge of allocating a budget for a project and acquiring necessary resources for product creation.

Electronics design engineers typically work in offices, industrial manufacturing centers, and laboratory environments. While most work a typical 40-hour work week, there may be circumstances that require extra and odd hours when necessary, such as around a project deadline or when employed as an engineer for a factory or manufacturing company. It may also be necessary for an electronics design engineer to work onsite with equipment, resulting in travel and unusual work environments. Specialization within the field of electronic design also is possible, such as working in communications, aerospace, or control systems.

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