Spotlights

Job Description

Since the advent of electronics, modern consumer products have become increasingly enhanced with technological features. From circuits to sensors, we’re surrounded by goods that have electronic components embedded inside. Such intricate components require highly-trained Electronics Technicians to install, maintain, and repair them, as needed. 

These specialists work with a wide range of product types — everything from computers and microwaves to sound, security, and avionics systems. Some technicians specialize in one area, while others are able to troubleshoot and repair just about anything. They may also be tasked to replace old components or systems and entirely replace them with upgrades. 

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Keeping electronic systems running smoothly and safely
  • Preventing potentially costly or harmful disruptions
  • Getting to work on a variety of electronic parts and systems
  • Potentially landing a job requiring a security clearance (which may mean more pay)
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

Working Schedule

Electronics Technicians work full-time with overtime, night shifts, or weekend work needed on occasion.  

Typical Duties

  • Inspect and troubleshoot electronic device issues
  • Determine appropriate repair tools and actions
  • Use hand tools to make or modify parts, as necessary 
  • Install electronic systems based on customer requirements
  • Review technical manuals, blueprints, and other specifications prior to starting work
  • Maintain and adjust electronic systems to ensure optimal performance
  • Understand and comply with relevant electrical codes, including proper material usage
  • Install wiring and cabling 
  • Repair Radio Frequency coils
  • Ensure components such as resistors, inductors, and capacitors are operating safely within the tolerance 
  • Address or report potentially hazardous issues such as faulty equipment
  • Maintain security clearance, if needed by the employer 

Additional Responsibilities

  • Document work and maintain files
  • Train colleagues or new hires, as needed 
  • Stay up-to-date on relevant electronics/electrical industry changes
Skills Needed on the Job

Soft Skills

  • Analytical
  • Compliance-oriented
  • Critical thinking
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Detail-oriented
  • Innovative
  • Normal color vision 
  • Observant
  • Organized
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Safety conscious 
  • Sound judgment 

Technical Skills

  • Understanding of electronics principles and design
  • Familiarity with tools and gear such as multimeters, power meters and supplies, frequency counters, oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, spectrum analyzers, calibrators, pulse generators, and power meters
  • Knowledge of applicable software for design and diagnostics
Different Types of Organizations
  • Electronics manufacturers
  • Engineering companies
  • Governmental and military agencies
  • Merchant wholesalers
Expectations and Sacrifices

Electronics Technicians are relied upon to ensure electronic components and systems operate as intended. Depending on the issue, electronic failures from overheating, stress, incorrect voltage, or other factors can be costly or even dangerous depending on the situation. Technicians are required to be thoroughly knowledgeable in their field and able to perform duties correctly and efficiently. 

That said, they aren’t expected to know everything! Technicians often need to study manufacturer technical manuals to troubleshoot and fix items they haven’t worked on before. Thus, there is a constant learning curve, even for those who have been in the business for a while. 

For techs who work in roles requiring a security clearance, they must maintain it through exemplary personal conduct. This may necessitate taking extra care about posting on social media, managing debt, and generally staying out of trouble.

Current Trends

As with every technology-related industry, the field of electronics is changing and advancing. For starters, electronics are being incorporated into more and more products every year. From electric vehicles to wearable technology that connects to the Internet and the cloud, designers and manufacturers keep finding ways to enhance their goods with the help of electronic components. Indeed, the Internet of Things concept seeks to digitally connect all manner of objects via sensors and software — which should translate to plenty of electronic work opportunities for many years to come. 

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger…

Electronics Technicians may have enjoyed tinkering with electronic devices and gadgets when they were younger, disassembling them to see what’s inside while referencing books or videos to learn how they operate. They were probably always comfortable working with small hand tools, immersed in whatever projects they were fixated on. Most likely, they were relatively patient and able to maintain focus for long periods while applying problem-solving skills and paying close attention to little details.

Education and Training Needed

Education Needed

Things to look for in an University
  • Electronics Technicians don’t need a four-year degree from a university to get started. Students can complete an associate’s at a local community college or vocational training school
  • General considerations for any program include tuition costs (in-state/out-of-state rates), discounts, scholarships, and course delivery options (on-campus, online, or hybrid program). Some electronics courses may be best suited for in-person learning so you can get hands-on training
  • Ideally, you’ll want a degree from an ABET-accredited program! 
Things to do in High School and College
  • High school students can prepare by taking classes in English, math, physics, and computer science
  • Decide if you want to apply to an associate’s degree program at a community college, vocational school, or university. A university’s tuition rates will likely be higher but decide what’s right for you
  • Think about areas you might want to specialize in, such as avionics, fiber optics, automotive, wireless communications, or other fields
  • Look for optional, entry-level certifications to complete that can boost your credentials
  • Talk to teachers or counselors about opportunities where you can pick up real-world job skills as you learn
  • Apply for part-time jobs working with electronics, so you can gain experience and cite some work history on your resume
  • Keep a list of contacts (including phone numbers or emails) who might serve as future job references 
  • Check out hobby books, read articles, and watch video tutorials about safe electronic repair 
  • Stay inspired by reading about successful tech entrepreneurs who started out by tinkering with electronics
  • Due to safety risks, don’t attempt to work on electronics without the supervision of a professional
  • Get a few basic electronics repair hand tools, a workbench, lamp, magnifier, anti-static mat and wrist strap, and other supplies you might need to tinker at home — but again, make sure you have a trained person around to help 
    • One of the keys to safety is planning ahead and thinking about potential hazards. Make sure you closely follow all safety protocols to avoid exposure to shocks, burns, or harmful heavy metals like lead or mercury
  • Hop online to engage in electronics forums where you can ask questions and learn  
  • Get started on a draft resume early, so you don’t forget anything
How to Land your 1st job
  • Ask your school’s faculty or career center for tips about connecting with employers 
  • Attend job fairs with a copy of your polished resume in hand
  • Let your professional network know that you’re job-seeking. Get on LinkedIn and list that you are open to work
  • Review job portals such as Indeed and Glassdoor. Check out Craigslist for local openings, too
    • Search for local electronics apprenticeship opportunities, as well
    • Consider enlisting in a branch of the military (such as the Air Force) where you can learn electronics during technical training 
  • Keep your social media clean and professional, in case job recruiters take a sneak peak
  • Review Electronics Technician resume templates
  • Ask potential references in advance before giving out their contact info
  • Read Electronics Technician interview questions, learn your electronics terminology, and practice your answers
  • Get a friend to help you do a few mock interviews
  • Remember to dress properly for interviews
How to Climb the Ladder
  • Talk with your supervisor about promotion opportunities and let them know you’re willing to do what it takes to move up when you’re qualified
  • Obtain any needed certifications or take classes that help qualify you for advancement
  • If needed, consider applying for a bachelor’s or master’s degree 
  • Master your duties, set high standards, and be a consummate professional 
  • Always practice good safety and keep workstations clean, organized, and dust-free
  • Stay up-to-date on relevant changes in codes, laws, standards, or other guidelines 
  • Learn to maximize useful technologies to the fullest extent
  • Study manufacturer and software guides for related equipment, systems, or software
  • Keep learning from seasoned pros with more experience than you, and pass on knowledge to new technicians
  • If it becomes necessary to switch companies to get a promotion, don’t burn any bridges!
  • Stay engaged with professional organizations related to your field. Build your reputation as a pro who knows their business 
Plan B

Other than Electronic Technician jobs, there are many related career opportunities for people who love to tinker with electronics. A few examples to consider include: 

  • Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians
  • Calibration Technologists and Technicians
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers
  • Electro-mechanical and Mechatronics Technologists and Technicians
  • Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians
  • Robotics Technicians 

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