Engineering Grads Required as Consumer Electronics Demand Grows

Consumer electronics are simply electronic and computerized products that consumers buy. Your watch, television, computer and microwave are all consumer electronics.

Technology has made consumer electronics easier to produce and extremely powerful. This is reflected in the rapidly growing consumer electronics market.

Today, consumers have more products to choose from than ever before. DVD players, personal digital assistants (PDAs), portable MP3 players, e-mail- and Web-capable cellular phones, digital cameras, video games and laptop computers are just some of the newer products.

Many of the world's largest companies are making and selling a wide range of consumer electronics products.

The Growing Consumer Electronics Industry

Consumer Electronics Association studies show that the consumer electronics industry continues to grow each year.

Almon Clegg is a consultant to the industry. "The market will continue to expand because the home and the automobile [are] increasing [their] electronics content yearly," he says. Even home appliances are becoming software-driven products, he adds.

Meeting this demand for consumer electronics is the engine that drives companies to produce. "The manufacturing capacity of the factories keeps on growing. New designs are coming out every year. Sometimes twice per year," says Clegg.

Companies that sell consumer electronics need engineers to help design, manufacture, test and repair them.

Will the demand for consumer electronics help create more work for engineers? "Definitely," says Patrick Natale. He is the executive director for the National Society of Professional Engineers. "The growing need is expanding, so there will be a need for more engineers. A lot will be in the consumer electronics area."

Engineering Types

Engineers fall into many categories. There are electrical, mechanical, chemical, civil, aerospace and software engineers, to name a few. Producing consumer electronics mostly requires electrical and electronics engineers. But other types will be needed as well.

Jim Farmer is the chief technical officer for a high-tech company that provides fiber-optic access systems. He says that consumer electronics companies will "employ software engineers and mechanical engineers for packaging. Also in demand are manufacturing, reliability and quality assurance engineers."

Stefan Mozar is the general manager of an engineering firm in Australia. "I think [employment] will grow strongly in the area of software development, especially in Internet-related work," he says.

Strong Outlook

The Occupational Employment Handbook (OOH) reports that the job outlook for electrical engineers through 2016 is stable. "Engineers will continue to develop new products and processes that increase productivity," says the OOH. The OOH adds that it will be important for engineers to keep up with the latest advances in technology.

Natale says that electronics manufacturers are hiring more engineers than they have in the past to meet the demand for new products. "It's a year-to-year trend," he says.

Other Factors

Also creating a demand for engineers is the growing shortage of qualified workers. "Because of the decline in [the number of] engineering graduates, companies are filling the gap by importing engineers though HB-1 visas," says Natale. HB-1 visas are permits issued to workers from other countries when American companies cannot find workers at home.

With an increasing shortage of engineers and continuing demand from the consumer electronics industry, there has never been a better time to pursue a career in engineering.

Career Planning

Engineering is a demanding course of study. But with that comes solid rewards.

To become an engineer, you first need a bachelor's degree in engineering. After graduating, you will have to pass special exams in order to receive a license. To prepare yourself properly, you will have to develop strong skills in math, science and computers. Analytical and problem-solving skills will also come in handy.

"Engineering is not just about math and science," says Natale. "There are a lot of fun and exciting things we do in engineering."

For engineers, the sky really is the limit.