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How much knowledge does an electrical engineer need to know about designing new ways to use electrical power to develop products?

Been interested in electrical engineering for a while, just wondering how much knowledge does an electrical engineer need to know about designing new ways to use electrical power to develop products?

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Dan’s Answer

Landon,

The short answer is that you need four years of University education, preferably at an accredited university - to get started. After that, you will continue to learn new things (on-the-job) up until the day that you retire. So about 40+ years worth of accumulated knowledge.

Technology changes constantly and the rate of change increases each year so your University studies are planned to provide you with a good base of the core fundamental concepts plus (and hopefully some actual design experience). You will be exposed to additional industry knowledge once you start your first job. This will include both new technical tools, methods, engineering concepts, and industry-specific knowledge. Some examples are new software tools, quality or workmanship standards, additional technical concepts, and industry knowledge such as how robotics are used in the auto or medical industry. If you change jobs, there may be a need to learn different industry knowledge or technical concepts. And, since technology is always changing, just staying with the same company doing the same job, will require you to learn new skills. As a simple example, consider that, over time, cell phones and laptops continue to evolve. The same thing happens with almost any other part of your job so you will always be adapting and growing your current skills in order to finish the latest project.

Your university classes will teach you how to learn on your own so you have the confidence that you can learn and grow on your own, without an instructor explaining everything to you.

Engineering a lot of fun!
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Robert’s Answer

There are many different work areas within the electrical engineering field. I’d say if your primary interest is new product design, start with a bachelor’s degree in EE to gain basic knowledge. The other part of the design formula is to have a creative way of thinking. With those two factors, then ask yourself, “What do people really need that I could design a product for?” But remember, being an EE is more than hands-on designing: you could also improve existing products, provide repair services, train others in product use, perform testing and quality control, be part of a marketing team to develop new product ideas and specifications, etc.
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