An electronic engineering technician conceptualizes, assembles, and tests electronic systems and equipment. He or she helps an electronic engineer to refine product designs to make sure they work as efficiently as possible. Technicians also make careful calculations and keep detailed records during the testing phase and produce finalized reports that summarize results. Most technicians are employed by research and development (R&D) companies and electronic equipment manufacturing plants.
Electronic engineering technicians usually work with teams of other professionals to build and test products. After an engineer finalizes the schematics for a particular product or system, a team of technicians is asked to develop a working prototype. The team may work together on an entire prototype or work individually on different elements of construction. An experienced electronic engineering technician may be given additional responsibilities, such as consulting personally with an engineer to create original blueprints and computer models.
Technicians use a wide variety of tools and techniques in their work. Expert knowledge of electrical circuitry is essential to perform assembly tasks accurately, efficiently, and safely. A technician needs to know how to splice and solder wires, direct electrical currents, and calculate voltages. Among other tools, an electronic engineering technician employs oscilloscopes, voltmeters, ammeters, and timing guns. A wide variety of consumer electronics, computer systems, and medical devices owe their existence to the ingenuity of skilled electronic engineering technicians.
Finished prototypes are subjected to a series of tests to ensure they work properly. If a problem occurs, an electronic engineering technician attempts to troubleshoot and fix the device if possible. Issues are noted and brought to the attention of engineers so the appropriate design adjustments can be made. When a prototype passes all tests and quality control inspections, a worker can document results in a technical report. R&D supervisors review reports and allow for mass production efforts to begin.
A person who is interested in getting started in an electronic engineering career can pursue a degree from an accredited community college or vocational school. A two-year electronic engineering program provides both classroom instruction in electronic principles and hands-on experience with the tools of the trade. After earning a degree, a prospective technician can apply with consumer electronics manufacturers, R&D firms, government agencies, and third party product testing companies. With experience, a skilled electronic engineering technician may be able to obtain a supervisory position and lead teams of other technicians on important projects.