A principal electrical engineer oversees electrical-related building or design projects within their organization, as well as oversees a staff of junior engineers who work in their planning and execution. The principal electrical engineer serves in a project manager capacity, regularly inspecting and reviewing the work being done, noting any needed corrections or adjustments. For many building and design firms, the principal engineer also performs cost forecasting, projections, and estimations; these are essential to provide clients with an accurate assessment of costs. It then falls to the principal electrical engineer to ensure the project comes in at (or near) the forecasted cost.
The principal design engineer is also be involved in making hiring decisions for his or her team. They assess design and project needs and put teams together to address these requirements as efficiently as possible. They regularly review performance and assess their teams based on accepted quality assurance standards for electrical engineering and design.
A principal electrical engineer normally works in an office or manufacturing environment during regular business hours, although overtime may be required depending on project needs.
To work as a principal electrical engineer, an individual generally needs at least a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, although postgraduate study may be required. In many states, these engineers are also required to possess some form of licensing or certification as well. Because of the management nature of this position, a company is likely to look for individuals with at least five to seven years experience in electrical engineering or electrical design.
Principal Electrical Engineer Tasks
- Develop, design, and test electrical devices.
- Develop policies and procedures for use of the created products.
- Manage all aspects Electrical Engineering projects from beginning phases until completion.