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What does it take to become an Electrical Engineer?

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Jackson’s Answer

The short answer is get a college or university degree in electrical engineering.

However, the broader question is... what does it take to be come a XYZ Engineer? It could be mechanical engineer, civil engineer, electronics engineer, software engineer, cybersecurity engineer, etc.

First and foremost, all supervisors are looking for employees who possess problem solving skills. You are hired to solve a problem; build a new website, develop a new application, manufacture a computer chip. We often time emphasis a single answer to a giving problem. In reality, there are multiple acceptable answers depends on how you phrase the problem. We can even change the parameter of the problem if you don't like the answer.

Second, technical knowledge. You cannot perform the function of electrical engineer if you do not understand Calculus or electromagnetisms. There is no short cut of study math, physics, and chemistry if you want to be an electrical engineer (or any other engineering).

I still remember the reasons why I chose an electrical engineering degree from UCLA 25+ years ago. I was fortunate that after college I started my career as a Systems Engineer. I did not need to solve differential equation in my work area. However, the Shannon's Information Theory that I learned in UCLA helped me understand how wireless phone works and I remained in the wireless industry for the past 20+ years.

Jackson recommends the following next steps:

Talk to electrical engineers. Get their first hand experience.
Talk to college students major in electrical engineering. Ask they why they chose that major and what is their area of focus.
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Eric’s Answer

I'll add that there are a lot of careers for Electrical Engineers & also Electrical Technicians. You can get degrees from college and universities for both as well as certifications usually along with some kind of relevant apprenticeship. EE from a college is likely the most applicable to the widest number of jobs as generally a job posted for an Engineer (or you might see P.E. aka professional engineer) is only open to someone with an Electrical Engineering degree. If the job asks for a Technical degree at minimum then an Engineer or a Technician could qualify. So, definitely requires some education but you might give some thought into what you want to do with an EE degree. Do you want to work on the electrical wiring for an airplane? Check out Boeing or Gulfstream EE jobs. Do you want to be an electrician wiring up homes? Check out local Electrician companies and ask them what required degrees and certifications are - maybe shadow someone in their day job. There are many companies that make electrical distribution and power generation equipment that would require electrical engineers and there are thousands of lighting companies if you'd like to be an EE in the LED space. The key is really identify what sounds interesting for you to do as an Electrical Engineer to determine what exactly you need to achieve from an education, training, and internship standpoint to land you in an area that you love!

Eric recommends the following next steps:

Check out careers that mention "electrical engineering" at companies to refine your "goal" https://www.se.com/us/en/about-us/careers/overview.jsp
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