Top 8 Things Every Good Electrician Will Know
As we know, an electrician’s job involves many different tasks from regular maintenance to installations to troubleshooting the electrical system and even revamping an older system altogether.
In some cases, there are also some more specialized tasks an electrician is going to be responsible for, from testing the electrical system to calibration to system design, among others.
So, with so many different tasks and responsibilities, all electricians need a wide range of skills and knowledge to remain in-demand in the competitive and saturated field. This is why in this guide, we’ll share the top 7 things every good electrician will know to help you stay competitive and up-to-date.
1. Duties and Different Types of Electrical Technicians
The titles ‘electrical technician’ and ‘electrician’ are often used interchangeably, but technically they have different job duties and requirements.
You can become an electrician with only a high school degree and apprenticeship, but to get the title of an electrical technician, you’ll need a two-year degree and specialization in at least one electrical equipment type that they can maintain, repair, and even build from scratch.
The main duties of electricians typically involve the design and maintenance of electrical systems in buildings, but for an electrical technician, the duties may be more varied, including but not limited to:
- Using tools and calibration equipment to test, build, and maintain an electrical equipment/system
- Testing existing wiring for quality control and safety
- Collaborating with engineers of different fields and architects to identify the best possible placement of electrical wiring in new buildings
- Revamping and/or updating electrical systems to meet current safety regulations and local electrical codes and to meet the environmentally-friendly standards
- Reading blueprints to identify the location of panel boards, electrical outlets, wires, and other electrical components
- Repairing broken electrical equipment
- Making suggestions on newer techniques of delivering electricity to replace previous standards
Typically we can divide electrical technicians into three subtypes:
- Residential: the main responsibility of a residential technician is to troubleshoot wiring and electrical problems in residential houses, but also to create new systems in new houses and residential projects. A residential electrical technician typically works for a construction company or a contractor.
- In-house: electrical technicians in this category work for a particular business to handle the maintenance, set up, and repair of the company’s electrical equipment and systems. Depending on the organization, the electrical technician might be required to possess a knowledge/expertise of specific equipment.
- Tellecomuniations: these electrical technicians specialize in electrical equipment related to telecommunications like phones, LAN wiring, modem, and others.
2. Important Terms To Know
If you are thinking about becoming an electrical technician, here are some important terms you’ll be required to know:
- Ampere: The unit to measure the intensity (strength) of electrical current or electrical flow
- Current: An electrical current is a flow of electrical charge in an electrical circuit or other forms of electrical fields
- Electric charge: a charge creates the electric field by influencing other electrical charges with positive or negative electric force.
- Electrical power: how much energy is consumed by an electrical circuit, measured in watts (W).
- Electrical resistance: how the electrical circuit or material reduces the flow of electric current through it. Measured in ohms, abbreviated with the Greek letter omega (Ω)
- Power efficiency: the ratio of the output power of the electrical circuit divided by input power.
- Power factor: the ratio of actual power used by the system and the reactive power supplied to the system. The power factor of 0 is when all of the power is reactive power without any real power, and the maximum power factor of 1 is when all of the power is real power.
- Volt: a measuring unit to measure electrical pressure difference. Voltage is the difference of potential between two conductors in an electrical circuit. Nominal voltage is the value assigned to an electrical circuit as its voltage class.
- Resistor: An electrical component that reduces the electrical current, the ability to reduce current is called electrical resistance, as discussed above.
3. Five Most Important Skills You’ll Need
Whether in becoming a professional technician or starting your own contractor business, there are five core skills you’ll need to master to be successful as an electrical technician:
- Technical proficiency: certification/licenses might be required by law depending on your location, and even if it’s not, certification will provide you with more access to resources you might not otherwise like insurance and guarantees.
- Communication skills: you’ll deal with humans often during your job, whether it’s suppliers, contractors/subcontractors, your superiors, and your staff if you run your own business. Communication skills are important, and we will discuss more of this again below.
- Fitness and health: a full electrical inspection and other tasks might be physically demanding, so you need to be healthy and capable of moving around the job site. Make sure to keep yourself in reasonable shape.
- Bookkeeping: you can get paid well, but you won’t make anything if your overheads are too high. Get professional accounting help if necessary if you are working on your own or in your own business.
- Marketing: while you don’t need to be an expert marketer, you’ll need to build a solid customer base and maintain your relationships.
4. How To Deal With Your Clients and Customers
As an electrical technician, you won’t only be required to deal with the technicalities of the electrical circuits and systems, but also have to deal with human clients and customers. It’s very important to always listen to clients and customers, but at the same time, don’t fully trust their words and information, even if this client is also an engineer or electrician.
It’s important to always follow your own procedures and processes not only to ensure the job’s success but also for your individual safety. Doing this can save you both time and money while also ensuring your own safety from getting zapped every now and then.
5. Communication Skills Are More Valuable Than Your Technical Skills
Still related to the above. While it’s no secret that an electrical technician would be required to have sufficient math, physics, and engineering skills, communication skills in verbal, non-verbal, and written communications will take you further whether you are going to work as a technician in a company, as an independent contractor, or building your own contracting company.
Learn how to communicate with your customers, fellow engineers, suppliers, subcontractors, and superiors, and learn how to manage people (including yourself) by learning skills like creating work schedules and other administrative tasks.
6. Take Care of Your Eyes
You may have all the best tools and equipment, but more often than not, the best tools you’ll ever have are your eyes. So, make sure to take good care of your eyes, give them enough rest, and take proper nutrition to keep them in shape at all times.
7. Get Help From Field Service Management Software
You’d want to use your time and energy for the things that matter: finish your tasks, so leave the administrative and bookkeeping tasks to electrician scheduling and management software like fieldd.
fieldd can help you create a dynamic workflow for your electrical services with a drag and drop approach, so it’s very easy to use. If you are running an independent contractor company, you can also use fieldd’s contractor payroll feature to help with the accounting process, which is often a hassle.
In short, think of any administrative tasks that might be associated with the electrical technician job, and field service management software can help you streamline and even automate these processes.
8. You Should Keep Learning and Updating Yourself
There are various changes in the electrical standards in the past few years alone, and you simply won’t be able to catch up with the rapid changes in technology and tools if you don’t commit yourself to keep learning.
Keep yourself updated, read a lot, build relationships with fellow electricians so you can gather more information, and stay on top of key trends like technological changes, electrical standards, renewable energy, home automation, and more.