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What is it like being an electrical engineer

Im studying information technology in college but I'm thinking about being an electrical engineer what is it like being an EE. #career #electrical-engineering #japan #project-management #cad #electric #south #hvac #schneider

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Cody’s Answer

Hi Leion,


I studied electrical engineering, switched to Computer Engineering (a lot of overlap there), and now have a job in software. I don't know the day to day of a Professional Electrical Engineer, but I can give you an idea of what we did in class and where I think that could lead.


Of course when you study Electrical Engineering, you'll mostly be studying circuits. You will build by hand the most basic circuits, and analyze them to prove they behave a certain way. By the second or third year, you realize you can start putting all these individual circuits together to make more and more cool and complicated things, like radios, cameras, solar panels, screens, and eventually, computers. You'll study basic circuits in the beginning, and then there are a few ways to go for your upper division electives.


Here are a few of the main ones in depth, but there are so many! Almost any modern engineering project will require an electrical engineer somewhere along the way.


The most obvious is power electronics, which is the field of delivering power over a distance. If you followed this path to a career, the most obvious place to end up would be at an electrical utility, and I assume you'd help design, manage and maintain the power transportation infrastructure. Another possibility would be to go work for private industry. I can see getting a position at tesla filling all their new batteries, or maybe you'd go work for solar city, and design the systems that collect and transport power from solar panels.


Another area is logic circuits. These are the most basic form of what is running in your computer. If you wanted to focus on this, you might be better off in Computer Engineering, but it's really a subset of EE. With these skills you could go to work for Apple, FoxConn, AMD, Intel, and a million others, and you would design their computer chips for them. Designing chips these days is usually done with special CAD software and simulations, and once a design is ready, you send it to a factory to be produced.


Signal Processing is another big subject. This involves the transmission and reception of signals through a (in our case electrical) medium. Ok, what does that mean? It means anything from phone lines to modern cell phone networks, to radar (radio), sonar (sound, not strictly EE but it applies), lidar(laser), and any other dar. Without going too deep, if you have a medium, say, light, and you can change the medium, and someone else can 'see' that change, you can send some information. Jobs in this area would be designing LTE or Wifi antennas for cell phones and computers, or creating a secret device for the CIA to use so they can talk without other nations listening in.


Probably the most common outcome is to work alongside mechanical, civil, environmental, aerospace, computer, sound, or biotech engineers on just about any project. This could include cars, electric vehicles, planes, buildings, power plants, amusement park rides, environmental projects, home appliances, satellites, lighting or sound for concerts, heart implants, prosthetics, drones,... really almost anything you can think of; if it involves electricity, it involves an electrical engineer.


Ok, so, moving away from the generalities, I remember a number of companies I saw at career fairs looking for EEs. A few were for signal processing, they made little chips and antennas for computers to talk to one another. One was a contractor for a power company. Another was working on robots, and another was working on powered prosthetics. I'd recommend going to the next career fair and just looking around for who is hiring EEs.


So, after all that rambling, my big conclusion is this: If you can, sign up for the very first circuits class (it was literally EE 101 at my school). If that class doesn't dissuade you from becoming an EE, then it might just be for you. There is really no better way for you to understand what its like to work in an EE lab then for you to just dive in and do it. If you like 101, then maybe its time to talk to someone about switching majors.


Hope that helps, feel free to contact me with more questions.


Cheers,
Cody

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Keith’s Answer

Hi Leion,

Your information technology background will serve you well in almost any path. I am a Computer Engineer which was a degree that falls under the Electrical or Electronic Engineering area. A Computer Engineering degree is similar to an Electrical Engineering in the early stages but removes much of the power generation/distribution, radio wave transmission and most of the AC power train. These are replace with DC power, Integrated circuits, logic design and some computer science classes.

If you are moving from IT to Engineering expect to be taking load of math classes and some physics. These can be very difficult, especially at higher levels. Colleges frequently use them to weed out students. These can range from trigonometry to calculus and on to advanced calculus and differential equations. In certain engineering fields you may actually use this knowledge but in others you may rarely use this background if at all. Be sure you can handle lots of math and maintain your grades. In my Engineering school the students typically took the opposite path from what you mentioned. They usually started in Engineering and moved into Information Technology type classes.

I will add that a EE degree is good to have but you may end up being limited in where you can go later on. If you develop an expertise in some area there may be limited jobs in that specific area. For example, I worked in a computer company that initially had a large number of hardware designers, including logic designers that created computer chips of various types. As computer chips became more integrated and microprocessors became very powerful the number of designers was cut severely. With information technology you have a great amount of flexibility. IT work is needed in almost every type of company so you may have more opportunities with more variety.

I hope this helps.

Best of Luck,

Keith
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Srinivas’s Answer

Reading your post the situation is completely confusing. You are saying that you are interested in Electrical Engineering. However, You speak your interest area to be in Electronics. There is significant difference between Electrical engineering and Electronics Engineering. The one you are talking about building circuits and other aspects of electronic devices. You have not shared on which year of Engineering you are in. Please share more details of the year you are in and also the university. so that I can understand the situation in depth and provide you right guidance.

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Ken’s Answer

Hi Leion!


Congratulations on looking into a very interesting and diverse area.


The first step is to get to know yourself to see how your interests, aptitudes, and personality match with those in such career areas of electrical engineering.


Here are some sites that you will find to be helpful:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgmUzPvcJ1w
https://www.ieee.org/index.html
http://www.futureengineers.org/


Best of luck! Be true to yourself. The feeling and concept of success is yours - and is very personal. Let me know if this is of help.

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Taylor’s Answer

Hey Leion! I'm an Electrical Engineer by major and can probably give you some insight into what the major can do for your career.


The opportunities in Electrical Engineering are vast and very diverse. I've interned at big tech companies to manufacturing environments like consumer products/oil. The skillset you will use depends on the role. It can be very math heavy with critical thinking or very hands on in the field (gas and oil / manufacturing especially).


I think a better question to ask yourself is what industry you want to be a part of and what you want do in it? Electrical Engineering is one of the most sought after engineering disciplines (evidenced by the amount of companies looking for Electrical Engineering students). Its a really tough major though and not for someone who wants to do it half-committed. I would be fully invested before you consider switching and maybe take a couple classes or shadow some other EE's.


Good luck with your decision!

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