What can I do with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering?

Electrical and Electronic Engineering students and staff on a field trip around power stations in the South Island
© Restricted/University of Canterbury

Electrical and electronic engineering involves the generation, storage and use of electricity, and also the transmission and transformation of information using computers and communication networks. Electrical and electronic engineers create and design new electrical, electronic and computer products, and also analyse, manage and redesign existing systems.

Electrical and electronic engineers have played a major role in the development of technological advances such as personal computing, electric heating and lighting, nationwide electrical power, mobile phones, digital television, fly-by-wire aircraft, medical imaging systems, hybrid cars, and robotic space exploration.

Through their Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree graduates develop valuable skills such as:

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Practical application of engineering technology and science
  • Technical knowledge of electronic and electrical systems
  • Programming software for embedded (smart) systems
  • Coping with rapid technological changes
  • Analytical and problem solving skills
  • Logical and quantitative thinking.

Applied learning is an important part of your degree, through work placements, consulting projects and fieldtrips. These experiences can deepen your skillset, awareness of others, working knowledge and employability.

Graduates are found in many industries such as:

  • Telecommunications
  • Electric power
  • Nanotechnology
  • Renewable/power engineering
  • Communications
  • Biomedical engineering.

Recent UC graduates have found roles in :

Information, media and telecommunications

eg, Tait Communications, Google, IBM, Apple, Vodafone New Zealand, Telogis, Assurity, Bloomberg, Spark, Alcatel-Lucent


eg, Dynamic Controls, Carter Holt Harvey, SALCOM, ABB, Agilent Technologies, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

Electricity and energy services

eg, Meridian, Transpower NZ, Orion, Northpower, Electra, Marlborough Lines, Delta Utilities, Beca, AECOM, Electrix, Connetics, Transfield Services, Unison Networks, EDFEnergy, Ergo Consulting, Mainpower, Vector Limited, Trustpower, Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team, Contact Energy

Professional, scientific and technical services

eg, Trimble Navigation, Opus International, Allied Telesis, Dynamic Controls, Dental and Medical Equipment, Telogis, UL International NZ, 2CLight, Rodin Cars, Aurecon, Martin Aircraft, IBM, Rocket Lab, Tekron International, Scott Technology,Airways NZ

Tertiary institutions

eg, universities or their subsidiaries in New Zealand, Philippines, Malaysia, UK, Australia, Scotland, Tonga, USA, United Arab Emirates.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering graduates are well prepared to join the technological revolution — see some examples of career options below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section

Electrical engineer, graduate electrical engineer

  • Designs systems to generate, distribute and manage electricity
  • Tests electricity systems and resolves problems

Electronics engineer

  • Researches, develops and designs electronic equipment and systems eg, circuits and software for medical devices, mobile phones, automated control systems, navigation systems

Power engineer, power systems engineer, power electrical engineer

  • Plans and develops systems that supply power
  • Tests and maintains these power systems
  • Researches alternative sources of power

Software engineer, graduate software engineer

  • Analyses customer needs, evaluates computer software and researches new technologies
  • Identifies solutions and develops software programs for new products
  • Manages software development projects

Communications engineer

  • Designs and develops software for improved, more reliable communications
  • Designs new communications data algorithms

Hardware engineer

  • Designs the physical parts of computer systems
  • Researches and tests hardware components
  • Considers the costs of hardware to end users

Research engineer

  • Evaluates and develops new systems and equipment in the electronics industry
  • Makes recommendations to resolve problems
  • Supports general organisational operations

Biomedical engineer

  • Develops electrical and electronics systems for improved healthcare
  • Designs new algorithms for medical imaging

Electrical / electronic technician

  • Interprets instructions from an engineer
  • Ensures these are implemented correctly
  • Installs and maintains power-using equipment

Test analyst, validation tester

  • Designs tests to check software/systems
  • Identifies defects and bugs, and suggests fixes
  • Records issues and tracks solution results

Network engineer, network assets engineer

  • Develops computer networks that allow phone calls, internet access, TV and radio broadcast
  • Designs infrastructure and systems to support it
  • Ensures designs are implemented correctly

Project engineer, project manager

  • Manages project plan, times, costs, compliance
  • Manages procurement, purchasing, contracts
  • Liaises with project staff and clients

Design engineer, junior design engineer

  • Uses software/technology to develop new ideas
  • Designs and tests prototype components
  • Liaises with suppliers and manufacturers

Radio frequency engineer

  • Forecasts future traffic resources needed
  • Plans radio network changes and improvements
  • Integrates front-end RF systems into other systems like aviation or aerospace

Tertiary lecturer / tutor

  • Prepares and gives lectures and tutorials
  • Sets and marks assignments and exams
  • Conducts research, writes and publishes articles

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Develops an idea to form their own business
  • Offers their services as a consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies or organisations relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep upto-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Electrical and Electronic Engineering subject page