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