Analog circuit design, the design of electronic circuits that directly measure and transform physical information, such as light, sound, motion and heat, is a specialty that some electrical-engineering students choose to study. Because the analog engineering field is small compared to the entire field of electrical engineering, the need for and the number of analog electronic companies is relatively small compared to the mainstream electronics market.
Electronic Engineering Salaries
Most data suggests that the starting salary of analog engineers is similar to those of other electronic engineers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. electronic engineering salaries range from $52,000 to $107,000 with a median of about $82,000 per year. About 50 percent of all electronic engineers make between $65,000 and $103,000 per year.
For analog engineers, Payscale.com lists positions that range from $51,200 to $100,000 per year with an average of $79,000. The data also suggests that the median would be in the same range as the median from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data from Michigan Technology University for its electronic engineering graduates suggests an annual pay range from $35,300 to $74,900 with an average of $59,400.
Analog Engineer Starting Salaries Outlook
Although the starting salary levels suggest a demand for analog engineers, the declining number of employed engineers in the United States may make the market difficult. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the IEEE, one of the largest organizations of electrical and electronic engineers, suggests that the number of electrical and electronic engineers has dropped from a peak of 440,000 in 2000 to around 300,000 in 2009. Although this might not suggest that analog engineers are no longer in demand, it may suggest that the number of analog engineers needed in the United States is not growing.
Foreign Competition and Starting Salary
Semiconductor companies, companies that produce miniaturized electronic circuits, are one of the major employers of analog design engineers. Because large U.S. semiconductor companies have significant overseas operations and tend to hire highly skilled foreign engineering graduates, pressures to keep American analog engineers salaries from escalating have been reduced.
Geographic Location and Starting Salary
Higher pay for analog engineers is often associated with the cost of living where the analog engineer works. In general, if the cost of living is higher, so will be the pay. Analog engineering positions can be found throughout the country, but most are located in metropolitan areas. Analog Devices, an analog semiconductor company based in Boston, has analog design centers throughout the world. National Semiconductor, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is another one of the major analog design companies. It, too, like Analog Devices, has design centers around the world.
Analog Design Houses
There are many small analog design houses in the United States. These companies often only employ less than 10 people. They tend to hire expert analog design engineers who can help them win contracts. If you are a recent graduate with a PHD in electrical engineering, have analog intellectual property and are experienced with advanced knowledge of analog and mixed signal engineering simulators, you may be able to command a very high starting salary.
Product Design and Starting Salary
Analog engineers' starting salary is often dependent on the analog design specialty. The most advanced analog designs, which require the most advanced design skills, such as the design of high-speed wireless communication circuits, often will command a higher salary. Analog design engineers who can design analog semiconductors that have high manufacturing yield also attract the interest of electronics companies.