Electronic Engineering Technical Officer

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to 2019: < 5,000
Median weekly earnings: $1051 to $1300
Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Just about every piece of equipment made today involves electronics. Together with the related field of telecommunications, electronics is one of the fastest growing sectors both in Australia and throughout the world.

There are currently around 800 electronic engineering technicians employed in South Australia. Employment is largely full-time and most work in the communication services, manufacturing and government administration and defence industries. Most persons in this occupation are male and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has an older age profile with a median age of 41 years old.
  • Thanks to electronic engineering technicians, we have the opportunity to use many of the computer and communications systems, as well as electronically or computer-driven appliances that have become such a huge part of our everyday existence. Electronic engineers design and manufacture electronic components. The tasks handled by them range from the design and testing of integrated circuits (microelectronics) and the design of radio components and systems such as radio transmitters and receivers. Another of their key tasks involves the design of interface systems to computers or embedded controllers. Some of the more typical electronic equipment worked on by electronic engineering associates includes DVDs, Eftpos machines, microwaves and CD players. An electronic engineering associate also develops 'controllers' for industrial applications. For example, processing plants are operated and controlled by computers which require electronic sensors that are developed by electronic engineers.

    It's fairly obvious that many of the changes that we've had to adapt to in life, have come about as a result of the electronic and communications revolution that continues to evolve. Financial transactions at banks, supermarkets and our communications with friends via e-mail, are clear evidence of this. 'Electronic engineering allows you to be at the forefront of designing and implementing exciting changes that will alter the way people work and live,' says Vaughan Wittorff, Senior Lecturer, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 'The fields of electronic engineering, telecommunications and computer engineering are rapidly converging, as computers and other electronic circuits are being linked in larger and more extensive networks. The resulting changes will be far more reaching than most can imagine,' he says.

    Figures and ComputationalScientific

  • To become an electronic engineering associate, you will need to complete the Advanced Diploma of Electronics Engineering. To become an electronics engineer requires university study. Most universities offer relevant courses. Entry to these courses generally requires the completion of Year 12 with a satisfactory Tertiary Entrance Rank and good grades in calculus, applied mathematics, chemistry and physics. Students who have undertaken Certificate or Diploma courses in electronics available through TAFE may be able to gain credits for some modules, should they wish to go on to university.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Electronics and Communications Engineering or Associate Degree in Electronic Engineering. Pathways include the Certificate II and III in Data and Voice Communications, Certificate II in Electronics and Certificate III in Electronics and Communications.

    Studying at TAFE SA is one of the easiest and most successful pathways towards a University Degree. Dual offer courses are available to TAFE SA and Flinders University in Diploma of Electronics and Communications Engineering/Bachelor of Engineering, Advanced Diploma of Electronics and Communications Engineering/Bachelor of Engineering Science. Dual offer course is also available with Adelaide University in the Associate Degree in Electronic Engineering/Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronics)

    SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at http://www.skills.sa.gov.au/apprenticeships-traineeships or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

  • There are a number of specialised areas where electronic engineering technicians work. For example, in the telecommunications industry, an electronic engineer is known as a communications engineer. Software engineering is another specialist area of electronic engineering as is computer systems engineering.

    There are excellent employment opportunities in this fast growing area, but the demand for electronic engineering technicians differs according to their area of speciality. There is an expanding market for the design and testing of integrated circuits for devices such as mobile phones, modems and instrumentation. Due to an increasing demand for these devices, as well as increasing cost and reliability issues, new 'specialist' design companies are being created to service niche markets. The demand for electronic engineering technicians who focus on this area of electronic engineering has increased accordingly. In addition, electronic engineers are at the leading edge of the development of wireless and data network components and communications systems such as that used in the defence force. This has in turn resulted in better employment opportunities for electronic engineers employed in that industry. Recent developments in mining technology is creating new opportunities for electronic engineering technicians, however, this is dependent on the level of activity in the mining industry. Opportunities, however, in microelectronics and integrated circuit manufacturing tend to be better interstate and overseas.

  • Electrical engineering technicians are involved in the planning, design, selection, installation, starting up, and maintenance of electrical equipment, facilities, power-plant installations, parts and distribution systems. Electrical engineering associates usually work on a range of duties that lie between the trade levels and technologist levels.

    Federal, state and territory government departments, private manufacturing organisations and suppliers of electrical and power electronic equipment employ electrical engineering associates, as do the mining and processing, and paper and chemical industries, and vehicle manufacturers. They can work on-site or in offices, in technical laboratories or workshops, power stations and control centres.

  • Because most of an electronic engineering technician's work involves applying the principles of mathematics and physics, a good understanding and practical ability in these areas are important. It will also pay to have a curious mind and an interest in how electronic appliances work. Good communication skills are also important as electronics engineers often work in teams. Constant changes in technology mean that an electronic engineering associate's skill base needs to change at the same rate, so continuing professional development is a big part of an electronic engineering career. Keeping up to date with new developments in IT, telecommunications and engineering provides a rewarding stimulus to a career in electronic engineering.

  • 'You need to be conscious of the marketability of your knowledge and skills and keep yourself up to date,' according to a telecommunications engineer working on the construction of a major telecommunications network. Major areas of employment include electronic engineering consulting firms, communications and power companies, IT and businesses involved in manufacturing and sales. You will also find electronic engineering associates working in areas such as medicine, aviation, robotics and the aviation industry. There are opportunities for self employment, but be prepared to first put in the time working for other companies, in order to gain the necessary skills. Electronic engineering associates typically work in an office and laboratory environment.

    For further information, contact:

    Engineers Australia (SA Division)
    Phone: 1300 653 113
    Email: sa@engineersaustralia.org.au
    Website: www.engineersaustralia.org.au

    E-Oz Energy Skills Australia
    Phone: (02) 6262 7055
    Email: office@e-oz.com.au
    Website: www.ee-oz.com.au