5 answers

How much bood, sweat, and tears does one need to go through to achieve the goal of a becoming an electrical engineer?

Asked Bakersfield, California

5 answers

Glenn’s Answer

Updated Los Angeles, California

Julian, you have 2 very long and detailed answers above. I will give you a shorter and more direct answer. Engineering is one of the tougher programs in the US. I majored in Mechanical Engineering, but had many friends in Electrical Engineering. The amount of work was similar.

This is also a great question as most students do not realize that engineering degrees require a lot more work and effort. For me, it was definitely worth it.

At the good schools, they look at the freshman engineering as a weed out year. They course work is in depth with a lot of homework. Generally, if you can handle your freshman year and you pick a discipline that you are interested in, you should be able to handle the next 3 years. The course work in general does not get easier but continues to build on what you already learned.

If you are interested in getting a great education that will set you up for a rewarding and good paying career, engineering is worth the effort and dedication. If you are looking for a fun college experience to party with your friends, this is not the program for you.

Udbhav’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Hello Julian,

Before I go ahead and answer your question would like to tell you that no course is easy, it is the dedication towards our goal which makes our chosen field feel easy. And yes tears are not needed just do it with smile and you will go a long way. About Electrical Engineering, it is one the mother branches of engineering and would require little sweat while you work in the machine labs. At the same time you would work on computer and programming languages as well (in Air Conditioned Labs). Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, or power generation equipment. Electrical engineers also design the electrical systems of automobiles, computer hardware design and aircraft. Electrical engineers usually work in a lab, an office, a mine or in industrial plants. An electrical engineer usually can pursue a technical career in any industry. They usually supervise computer programmers, electricians, scientists and other engineers. A typical work week is composed of 40 hours although there might be some overtime to meet deadlines. The demand of power supply is increasing with every passing day and Electrical Engineering will always have bright prospects. Below links will help you to achieve the goal of becoming an Electrical Engineer.

Reference Links: http://www.electricalengineeringschools.org/20-tips-for-engineering-students/ https://www.sokanu.com/careers/electrical-engineer/

Wish you all the very best,

Thank you and Regards.

Udbhav (Electrical Engineer).

Alyssa’s Answer


Depends on where you go to school and what their program is like. I graduated with a degree in Industrial Systems Engineering and the Electrical Engineering class I had to take was one of the hardest classes of my career, however at my school it was the top EE program in the country.

Alyssa recommends the following next steps:

  • Research Electrical Engineering programs at schools you're interested in.
  • Ask the students at the schools in the Electrical Engineering program how difficult the classes are. Consider asking the students how they did in high school but recognize it's not 1:1.

Abhishek’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

A. How long does it take to become an engineer?

At the present time the typical period of academic study required for entry into the engineering profession is four (4) years. However, some programs (especially in Europe) require five (5) years.

Most currently-practicing engineers in the United States and Canada started their careers after earning a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in one of the engineering fields (e.g., electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical) from an accredited program that required four years of study. This is true in many other regions of the world as well. However in some European countries, typical engineering programs require five years of study. The general trend in Europe (based on the Bologna Declaration) is toward a program of three (3) years of studies toward a B.Sc. degree followed by two (2) years of studies toward a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree. Only M.Sc. holders are considered ready for engineering practice.

It is estimated that about 77% of practicing engineers with engineering degrees in the United States hold a B.Sc as their highest degree (requiring on average 4 years). 19% hold an M.Sc. (requiring additional 2 years on average), and the remaining 4% hold a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) (requiring on average 4 years of study after the B.Sc. degree).

The number of years of college it would take you to prepare for entry into the profession depend on the career path you choose and the specific type of work you wish to do. Most engineering jobs still require only a B.Sc. or equivalent. However, if you desire to do advanced development work, an M.Sc. is likely to be required; if you wish to engage in state of the art research, you probably would need a Ph.D. degree.

Needless to say, entry to the profession is only the beginning. Engineering is a dynamic and fascinating discipline that advances and changes all the time. Engineers are therefore always engaged in study, either formally (through graduate university courses) or informally (through continuing education courses and by participating in professional conferences and workshops). The majority of employers of engineers understand that learning is an integral part of the engineer's job, and provide opportunities and time to facilitate this goal.

B. What kind of preparations should I make so that I can study engineering in college?

  1. Understand what interests you

You can gain understanding of what interests you by reading on science and engineering. Our site TryEngineering.org is a good place to start, and many useful links are also available here. Other good sites include: NASA for kids, Greatest Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century, US Army Corps of Engineers Education Center, Discover Engineering, Optics for Kids, NOAA education, Engineergirl, and JETS.

Watch TV programs on science and engineering. For example, Wired Science, Science Investigators and the 22nd Century on PBS. Other programs of note are Nature, NOVA, and Scientific American Frontiers. There are many interesting programs on science and technology on the Discovery Channel.

Of course there is a lot you could read. Examples include: the Oddessy magazine,YES Mag, Science News for Kids, and Ranger Rick.

We recommend that whenever possible, you visit science museums. They offer a wealth of activities and many useful demonstrations. Three of our favorites are the The Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Exploratorium, and Deutsches Museum.

  1. Take action

You can take a more active role by participating in relevant activities at your school and in your community. Such activities include science clubs, model air plane and rocket clubs, and scouting organizations. Get involved to determine your real level of interest. Participation in leadership positions in these organizations will be of value when you apply for entrance to college.

Take part in a science fair. Find a competition where you can test your interests and skills, and meet young people who share your interests. See if there is a summer camp you can participate in. Check with local universities - quite often they have camps and open houses for young people.

  1. Ask around

Identify friends and associates of your parents, relatives or neighbors who work as engineers or scientists. Talk to them. This is a particularly good source, as the information comes directly from people who have chosen engineering careers; they are experiencing daily the rewards, frustrations, and challenges of engineering. If you can, talk to university professors who teach engineering. Get their opinion on the different fields and on what they consider "hot" or "up and coming."

  1. Visit web sites of colleges and universities

Use our Find a University feature to surf the sites of engineering departments and schools in your locale. You may be able to learn a lot about the subjects they teach, and gain an understanding of their requirements and the different tracks they offer to students.

  1. Make the right course selections

Discuss your course choices with your school counselors, and visit the Become an Engineer section of this site that offers preparation tips. Among the advice given there are courses you want to consider and programs and projects that can help. For additional advice see the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center.

  1. Commit yourself to learning

During the next few years of your pre-university education try to develop good study habits that will be of benefit throughout your life. Define your educational goals and make plans to reach them. Understand your weekly "time budget" and make adjustments to ensure that enough time (and the right time) is allocated to study, problem solving, and enrichment. Allocate your study time wisely between the different subjects and assignments, and make sure you give yourself the opportunity to develop and learn new subjects.

Thai’s Answer

Updated Fairfax, Virginia
Hi Julian - I did my degree in electrical engineering with the focus on communications. Electrical Engineering is lots of math, and physics. I enjoyed it very much because of the challenges. You have to spend hours to solve complicate math, physics and engineering (mostly math and physics combined) problems, but it can be very fun. I say it's not much harder than a math or physics major. If you enjoy solving complicate problems then it's for you. Once you have an electrical engineer degree, learning things related to other kind of engineer is much easier. Good luck!