Electricity is the lifeblood of modern life, both in commerce and in comfort. Our society is built upon the assurance that electrical power will be available, reliable, and cheap. But what are the jobs performed by actual electricians? Have you considered becoming an electrician? I will put a brief piece here about the many things which electricians do to keep our society running smoothly and talk about some of the different types of jobs which need to be done.
- Electrical Grid maintenance
The most basic of electrical jobs in terms of hierarchy, this job is anything but basic when it comes to the skills needed to perform this work successfully. The electrical grid is a huge, interconnected system which relies on an incredible amount of engineering and coordination to keep working at all times. Perhaps the largest challenge which electrical engineers face is the challenge to ensure that power supply is constant despite a constantly fluctuating demand. If you turn on your lights, the demand on the grid will be instant. There is not time to turn on a power generator somewhere to accommodate the increased demand, and there is a lot of effort spent in making sure that the grid can keep up with surges in demand, or be able to safely route excess power if demand drops unexpectedly. The second part of this job is the huge logistical challenge of delivering the power across the nation. The task of installing and maintaining the hundreds of thousands of miles of electrical wiring is a responsibility distributed across thousands of electricians across the nation.
- Commercial Wiring and Power Supply
Now that power is available, we need systems which can take, meter, and disburse this power in effective and safe ways. One of the largest consumers of electrical power is the commercial sector, where it is used to power everything from factories to laboratories. Each one of these must have a custom designed electrical system which is able to handle the power demands of the systems at work. Electricians work to connect the building to the electrical grid, and then install wiring systems which can route this power safely and efficiently to where it will be used. This can be more difficult than it sounds, as you begin to appreciate the vast numbers of variables which will need to be accounted for. Extremes of temperature, exposure to chemical agents, and proximity to large machinery will all need to be accounted for, and the electrical system will need to be properly insulated against likely sources of damage.
- Communications and Auxiliary Wiring
Not all electrical cables are used solely for the transmission of power. There is also a vast network of cables and fiber which is used for communication. Communications engineers and electricians work together with others to ensure that the infrastructure for things like telephone calls, plumbing, and more are all able to coexist safely and efficiently. Civil engineers spend a lot of time communicating, coordinating, and planning.
- Residential Wiring
This may be what you think of when you think of an electrician. Someone who comes and fixes that broken outlet you have had for years, or who wires houses during construction. While it is only one small part of the job electricians do, it is an important one. Ensuring that a home has a safe and reliable connection to the power grid can have a drastic affect on the lives of those who live inside. An unsafe connection could cause electrocution or fire, and we know that lives depend on the quality of our work. Taking pride in our ability to do work professionally and safely is a key part of our ethos. Everyone deserves an electrician who will complete work completely up to code and include all of the latest and best tested safety features which can further improve your safety. Finally ensuring that the system is reliable can have a profound affect on your quality of life. Whether you work from home and rely on electrical power to complete the tasks you are assigned, or you simply want to relax comfortably in a well-lit, climate controlled home, you deserve to know that your home has a robust electrical system which will not struggle to perform its daily functions.
If you are considering becoming an electrician, think about which of these jobs appeal to you. While they will all have similar requirements, each of them has its own unique path and will require a varied skillset. If you think a particular job sounds appealing, contact someone who does that, and ask them what their career path and training consisted of. If you have a strong work ethic and a good head on your shoulders, you could very well end up with this challenging, yet reliable and rewarding career.