Where the Jobs Are: 2012

In a warming job market, the hottest sector is power

3 min read
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Photo: Getty Images

New electrical and computer engineers stepping out into the real world this year might not get the multiple job offers and off-the-charts starting pay of the precrash days, but they can rest assured that their skills will be put to good use. Hiring is up by 10 percent over last year, and pay has increased slightly for electrical and computer engineers of the class of 2012.

EEs looking for stable jobs and high salaries should consider the power sector in particular. In the United States, millions of government and industry dollars are now flowing into a reviving utility industry. Renewables and the smart grid are about to breathe new life into a rusty power transmission and distribution system, while half of the workforce is expected to retire in the next 5 to 10 years, creating thousands of jobs. The U.S. utility industry hired 120 000 new bachelor’s graduates this year across majors, and it paid the highest starting salaries—averaging US $64 000—among all industries, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) in Bethlehem, Pa. Gregory Reed, director of the Power & Energy Initiative at the University of Pittsburgh, says that EE masters graduates with a power engineering concentration are starting at around $80 000, while recent Ph.D.s are making over $90 000.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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