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What kind of skills will I need for electrical engineering?

I am a rising senior and I am a machinist at my high school and I would like to go into a engineering major #engineering #july


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John’s Answer

Grace like many other engineering occupations, electrical engineers and mechanical engineers have very similar core duties, but they design and build different types of products. Electrical engineers deal with the manufacture of electrical equipment, communication systems, and navigation systems, in addition to designing electrical systems in vehicles. Mechanical engineering is a broad area in which engineers work on sensors, engines, tools and various types of machines.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS VS. MECHANICAL ENGINEERS
Electrical and mechanical engineers use computer design software to produce design plans for new products. They also work on altering existing design plans to improve products or to correct specific issues. This responsibility involves evaluating those products and then reviewing their design specifications to determine the best way to address the issues or improve performance. They monitor the production process of their products and must ensure that regulations are followed and that the final product operates as intended. Mechanical engineers may travel to install equipment or perform repairs on machines that are installed, such as elevators. Electrical engineers may also oversee the installation of the systems they design.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS • The average Entry electrical Engineer salary in the United States is $78,000 as of June 28, 2020
In order to pursue a career as an electrical engineer it is necessary to earn a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Employers prefer applicants who have practical experience, so graduating from a program with an internship may improve job prospects. Electrical engineers usually work in an office, although some travel may be required to oversee the installation of equipment. Electrical engineers work with navigational systems and other types of electrical equipment. The cars people drive and aircraft people fly function because of the work electrical engineers do to produce effective electrical systems in vehicles. Job responsibilities of an electrical engineer include:
• Establishing production and installation guidelines;
• Working closely with project managers to stay within budget;
• Ensuring safety regulations are followed; and
• Writing documents about how to operate or install equipment

MECHANICAL ENGINEERS • The average Entry Mechanical Engineer salary in the United States is $75,500 as of June 28, 2020
Mechanical engineers use their skills to produce new or improved machines and tools. From the engines in cars to the freezers people store food in, mechanical engineers play a role in providing products people use every day. Mechanical engineers must study mechanical engineering and earn a bachelor's degree to work in this field. A Professional Engineer (PE) license may be required for some positions. Mechanical engineers often work with architects or apply their skills in manufacturing and research careers. They may travel occasionally but spend most of their time working in an office. Job responsibilities of a mechanical engineer include:
• Refining design plans to address specific issues;
• Producing prototypes that can be evaluated;
• Running simulations on machines; and
• Developing procedures for manufacturing products.

Grace salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Hope this was Helpful Grace

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Nick’s Answer

As a machinist in high school you demonstrate an interest in how things work and the ability to learn with a high level of detail. These are the necessary traits of a good engineer. It may be too soon for you to choose which engineering study would suit you best. The first 2 years of engineering school are somewhat generalized and you will be able to make a better choice for your 3rd and 4th year. Many people, even people with talent, find the first 2 years of engineering school very difficult. Do not be defeated, work hard, stay focused, seek help from friends and faculty. Engineering is a good career which will allow you to accomplish your personal goals. Good luck!

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Bill’s Answer

OK, Grace, I am going to mention a LOT of useful skills. Don't fell overwhelmed, though, because you do not have to learn them all in high school, or even in college. BUT, you should be comfortable with each one (which means, you should be able to have a productive conversation with another type of engineer without getting lost in jargon or feeling intimidated). Become a well-rounded engineer and you may very well arrive at the point where you can call your career shots, that is, do whatever you want and like best, or find that dream job down the road.
My answer focuses on EE as you asked, but please note from John's answer that EE overlaps mechanical engineering. And it also overlaps almost every other kind of engineering including the life sciences (biological, medical, human factors, and environmental engineering, among others.)

So, let's equip you with the basics:

FIVE BASIC SKILLS FOR ALL ENGINEERS:

1. Working well with others - rare is the "lone ranger" engineer. I had only one of those jobs, as a broadcast engineer working mostly nights, but all the others required collaboration and coordination in some sort of a group. See the third NEXT STEP for a suggested path.

2. Working knowledge of basic maths and sciences - NOT expertise in all of them but enough understanding to "connect" with those disciplines and coax out of OTHERS' expertise the facts you need to do your job. See the first two NEXT STEPs for how to approach this.

3. Good written and oral communication skills - see third and fourth NEXT STEPs.

4. Appreciation for the soul of engineering and for all engineering specialties. The soul of engineering is "STEM" viewed like this: ENGINEERING is the profession that discovers how to harness the discoveries and laws of SCIENCE to make useful products and services through TECHNOLOGY to benefit many people. MATHEMATICS is the universal language that ties all of these together worldwide. This means that anything you learn in any of the 4 STEM areas helps you to become more of a "whole person" in your engineering field, work, and community. The more well equipped you can become as a well-rounded engineer, the more of a "can do" approach you will find yourself taking to tough problems, issues, and projects, and the more you can inspire others.

5. Hands-on skills. Build things, ANY things. Take them apart. Fix things. Learn how to use tools. Apprenticeships or internships are great for this type of skill. Build a basic electronics kit or two, or a doll house, or a pinewood derby car. Build and launch rockets. Disassemble a bicycle and put it back together. Get an Amateur Radio license and talk to astronauts in space. etc..... OK, you may feel awkward at first. Persevere, and you will gain confidence.

One final word. You may not need to read this as much as other girls interested in engineering and technical fields, because you are already a machinist - good for you.) Reject all signs of sex discrimination in the so-called "male dominated" engineering field. It is a paper tiger. I have worked with and learned from many fine female engineers in my 40 years of engineering. When you hear or read anything that suggest girls do not have what it takes to succeed in engineering, just recite in your head Admiral David Farragut's famous Civil War battle cry and press on!

Whew! Don;t feel you have to do everything above right away or before you can call yourself an engineer. A LOT of engineers learn a LOT of the above on the job. You can be one of them. Best wishes!

Bill recommends the following next steps:

General science courses are useful. If you have not taken at least one, sign up now. For EE, focus especially on electricity/electronics/computer science and general physics.
Do not be afraid to take algebra, geometry, and statistics courses of any flavor you can. DON'T be in a rush to take calculus until you have had plane geometry, at least algebra 1 and 2, trig, and at least one analytic geometry course (or equivalent). These are the tools that will make calculus much easier. Yes, calculus is the "universal language" that unlocks engineering.
For people skills, try this: (a) think of activities you enjoy doing with others; (2) In one of those activities, find an opportunity to volunteer for a leadership position in an organization. Then lead as follows: Listen to concerns and desires of others in the group. Make decisions with as much concensus as you can. Make mistakes. Learn from mistakes. Lead better. Make better decisions. Make better mistakes. Learn...
Accept club, volunteer, or paid positions where you can be responsible for teaching others or documenting things and processes for others (in person such as in meetings, on line, or in published print) Start small, with something you feel comfortable handling. Create your product. Make mistakes, Learn from mistakes. Keep going.

Great answer! I definitely need to focus on developing more hands-on skills! Thanks again! Aun M.

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Kristine’s Answer

Hi Grace,

As a recruiter for large companies, I have talked to many engineers over the years. As an "ice breaker" question, I will ask why they pursued engineering and why they picked their specialty (Mechanical, Electrical, Industrial, ChemE, etc). It's actually a great question because there is no "right" or "wrong" answer, which relaxes the candidate.

Responses to the "engineering" part involve having a natural curiosity. Several share stories from their childhoods about how they'd take their toys apart when they were children, just to see how they worked. Later, this curiosity would evolve into taking apart/fixing/building computers, or figuring out how to fix low voltage appliances in their homes, or working on their cars, etc. In school, they'd naturally gravitate toward math, science, and technology - leading them to apply to schools with engineering programs. Other people discover engineering by trying things. For instance, some have said they took a temporary job in a factory and found they loved the environment, machinery, getting their hands dirty, etc.

As for the specialty (mechanical, electrical, chemical, etc.), it's normal for students in engineering to start in one type and switch to another as they take courses. Each type has nuances about it that you either gravitate to or you don't - and you usually figure it out early. I've even talked to people who started as science majors, like physics, chemistry, biology, etc. who migrated to engineering because they didn't want to work in a lab doing research all day. So it's ok if you are not sure. Your engineering core courses will help you figure that out.

Keep in mind that you don't have to go to a university to be involved with engineering. I've talked to candidates who have done quite well with completing community college programs related to engineering. These are 2-year specialized programs with titles like "electrical engineering technology" or "mechanical engineering technology" or "engineering technology," etc. You won't be an engineer, but, you will work closely with them and make a decent living.

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Abhilash’s Answer

As a machinist in high school you demonstrate an interest in how things work and the ability to learn with a high level of detail. These are the necessary traits of a good engineer. It may be too soon for you to choose which engineering study would suit you best. The first 2 years of engineering school are somewhat generalized and you will be able to make a better choice for your 3rd and 4th year. Many people, even people with talent, find the first 2 years of engineering school very difficult. Do not be defeated, work hard, stay focused, seek help from friends and faculty. Engineering is a good career which will allow you to accomplish your personal goals

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