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What is the best major for someone interested in becoming an electrical engineer?

What is the best major for someone interested in becoming an electrical engineer? And are there different kinds of focuses an electrical engineer may have? What kinds of electrical engineers are there? engineering electrical-engineering women-in-stem major-choices stem

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G. Mark’s Answer

Well, the first thing is the obvious -- electrical engineering. But from my point of view, I'd say a lot of majors will have applicability in the field of EE. I started out with a scholarship that assumed I would become a doctor. I was in pre-med when I happened to be walking down a hall in my undergrad college, Wayne State U. in Detroit, and I heard a lecture on a television monitor that sounded intriguing. It was something about a machine that behaved like a "monkey in a box", and that was about computer science. I walked in and stayed for the entire lecture and ended up in CS.

I ended up being recruited by Bell Labs and got into a program that would pay me a salary and pay my grad school expenses so I could get my MS in less than a year, and it seemed like a great deal. Something I learned in those months was that 1) I had a lot to learn about EE, and 2) A lot of what I'd learned in other fields from liberal arts to science to physiology surprisingly came in handy at surprising instances to solve problem, build machines, communicate with other people, etc., etc. And this continued throughout my career.

It turns out that it's estimated that about 70% of innovations are generated by applying knowledge from fields other than the one the original problem to be solved seems to originate in.

So while EE is the "best" major for someone interested in EE, don't count others out. Because human knowledge and achievement is as general as the human condition itself.

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Jason’s Answer

⚡️Hi Katrina! ⚡️

How exciting that you are interesting in electrical engineering. It is a fun and challenging career with a broad variety of focus areas. To directly answer your main question -- the best major to study to become an electrical engineer is "Electrical Engineering". Most engineering colleges will offer a bachelors degree (BS) in "Electrical Engineering" and some will even offer slight variations on this (like Electrical and Computer Engineering).

As you correctly suspected, there are a variety of areas/topics that electrical engineers can specialize in. Some electrical engineers (EEs) will design circuits and schematics for products, such as phones, gaming consoles, robots, computers, or toys. Other EEs may design and improve the high-voltage power transmission lines that run our power grid and keep the lights on across the globe. On top of all that, some electrical engineers may stay in academics to teach or do research on new technologies.

As a small piece of advice, I would like to encourage you to continue learning more and not get too concerned with specialties. All EEs will learn the basics, and it is this process of learning that should help you to decide on what aspect you _really_ like.

Jason recommends the following next steps:

Check out and maybe try tinkering with some circuits, like maybe a Raspberry Pi or Arduino.
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James’s Answer

There are many paths towards electrical engineering. Countless colleges offer electrical engineering degrees, but there are also degrees related to electrical engineering. For example, I went to school for Renewable Energy Engineering, which had a heavy focus on semi-conductor physics and power engineering, as well as focus on mechanical engineering.

One thing that I feel is important is to ensure the degree you get is ABET-accredited. This will help ensure your degree is relevant in the engineering field, and will also open the door for you with respect to becoming a Professional Engineer in the future.

James recommends the following next steps:

Think about what parts of electrical engineering speak to you and spend some time looking at various programs at colleges and what they have to offer.
Read up on ABET accreditation. It is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., and is an important factor when choosing a degree.
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Matthew’s Answer

I attended a school that labeled themselves as an 'engineering' school. Now keeping in mind that I started college almost 20 years ago, I can shed some light on my experiences. I went through a Computer Engineering program which had a measurable overlap (in curriculum) with the Electrical Engineering program at the same school. The hardware portion of my studies involved many upper-level EE courses. All that being said, I feel that either major would have allowed me to be successful in an EE-focused career (if my interest had been in that field).

Matthew recommends the following next steps:

Compare and contrast the EE-related courses amongst the Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (or equivalent) curriculums. This will hopefully give you a better idea of some options if you're looking for majors outside of Electrical Engineering itself.
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Jorge’s Answer

Electrical engineering is one of the standard engineering majors in all engineering schools so that's the most likely major for someone that wants to become an electrical engineer.

There are many fields electrical engineers work in, from medicine to computers to car makers.

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Ryan’s Answer

Electrical Engineering is a major that is available at many universities. Once in college, it really helps to join clubs or focus on networking with people that can help you find summer internships and eventually a job once you graduate. I also think EE programs can be very theory based, work on recognizing practical applications from your learnings.

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Gagan’s Answer

I'm an electrical engineer. The best way to approach becoming an electrical engineer is to pursue a courses that are science and math focused. These courses will help lay the foundation for understanding the basics of electrical engineering as you enter college. As you sign up for attending college, you can choose the electrical engineering as your major. You can refer to this link for what to expect in electrical engineering, types of topics involved and career choices.