When you’re looking to make a career choice, it’s worth having a think about your abilities and personality. Matching your skills and your character traits to the requirements of a particular job will ensure you make the right decision. Being an electrician is a great career these days.
There’s a skills gap in the building sector and electricians will always be in demand. Electricians can expect to make a good living. A fully qualified and experienced domestic electrician can expect to earn between £25,000 and £35,000 a year. This figure rises to around £40,000 a year for highly experienced or specialist technicians. Have you got the right attributes for the job?
Put aside the technical stuff for a minute and let’s look at your physical skills and your character.
Working with your hands
Working as an electrician is a very tactile job. It requires a high level of manual dexterity and you’ll need to have good hand-eye co-ordination too.
How’s your balance?
As well as manual dexterity, a good sense of balance is important as you’ll be working up on ladders and in other high, awkward places, so you’ll need to feel steady on your feet.
Are you colour blind?
If you are, this probably isn’t the job for you. Colour blindness is the inability to distinguish particular colours, usually red and green, and it’s something that affects up to 8% of men. It will probably have been picked up during eye tests at school, but if you’re not sure, a visit to the optician will let you know for sure. Wires are often colour coded so there’s potential for serious wiring mistakes if you can’t tell your red from green.
It’s quite physical
As well as problem solving – exercising your brain – being an electrician can involve a fair bit of physical work. You’ll be up and down ladders and stairs and may need to climb scaffolding too. Some of the spaces in which you will be working may be awkward, so it’s important to have a reasonable level of fitness. Sometimes you’ll be using tools, such as shovels to dig trenches, benders to install conduit so you’ll need a bit of stamina. There’s no reason why someone in their 40’s, 50’s or even 60’s shouldn’t manage, but you’ll be on your feet all day, so physical endurance is worth bearing in mind.
Are you interested in electricity?
This might seem obvious, but if you become an electrician you’ll be spending a lot of time thinking about it and it will be useful to have an interest in its properties when you’re planning out systems and problem solving.
And what about maths?
The problem solving aspect of the job will involve some maths skills. If you enjoyed the challenges of algebra at school, you’ll love puzzling out solutions at work.
Working with others
It’s a social job. Whether you’re working for yourself on your own in the end, or part of a bigger team, you’ll be dealing with tradespeople of all sorts and then, of course, there will be your customers. Whilst you’re training you’ll find you’re surrounded by others – as an apprentice, you’ll be working with others and if you’re at college, you’ll have your fellow students. There will, of course, be times when you are required to work on your own, but generally speaking the more sociable you are, the easier you’ll find this part of the job.
No two days are the same
Electricians experience a lot of variety in their work, whether it’s working in new locations, with new people or at new tasks there will always be new challenges. If you’re someone who thrives on routine, this may not be the job for you, but if you’re open to new experiences and have a sense of curiosity you’ll find it’s a very satisfying profession. For more details on how to train and develop your career as an electrician, please sign up for our Ultimate Guide to Electrician Careers.