If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably grown to become dependent on your cell phone. And you probably can’t conceive of leaving your house without an MP3 player on hand. What’s more, you’re likely reading this on a computer which, at this point, might possibly feel like an extra appendage. Indeed, we’re all reliant upon (and grateful for) technology. In turn, that makes us reliant upon (and grateful for) the work of electrical engineers.
Electrical engineering involves the design, building, testing and operation of electrical systems and circuits. Indeed, you’ll learn all about electricity from how it’s generated to how it’s utilized. Depending on the program, you might be required to select a concentration in such sub-categories as electronics and optics, systems and controls, electromagnetic fields and communications or computer hardware and software. And you’ll likely benefit from taking classes in both theory and application.
Undergrads who flourish as electrical engineers typically have an insatiable curiosity for learning about how technological devices work. Naturally, they also possess solid quantitative and reasoning skills. Moreover, they are strong team players as electrical engineering is rarely a solitary pursuit. Finally, in the event of a power outage, they should be prepared to be the “go-to” person!
Nuts and Bolts
As an electrical engineering major, you’ll find yourself illuminated by classes such as: Digital Systems Architecture, Logic Design Laboratory, Electric Circuits I, Linear Systems, Microwave Fundamentals, Signals and Systems, Introduction to Robotics, Digital Signal Processing, Semiconductor Devices, Introduction to Nanotechnology, Solid State Devices, Antenna Systems, Electric Power Systems and Engineering Electromagnetics.
Electrical engineering majors might also want to apply their technical prowess to such disciplines as mathematics, aerospace engineering, nuclear engineering, applied physics, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, systems engineering, robotics, computer engineering and information technology.
Electrical engineering students should be delighted to discover that their degree can take them down any number of professional avenues. Indeed, graduates can pursue opportunities in scientific research and development, manufacturing and even architecture. More specifically, they can work in such industries as fiber optics, radar systems, nanotechnology, wireless communications, information theory, remote sensing and digital electronics (just to name a few options). Within these fields, graduates can work as a research engineer inventing new and improved technology and devices, a design engineer figuring out how to convert ideas and technology into actual products and project engineers overseeing the production of a prototype. Additionally, EE majors might work as a test engineer, ensuring technology and/or devices are working properly. And, of course, opportunities abound for those who wish to become systems engineers overseeing power grids, wireless networks and phone lines. Finally, it should be noted that although you can certainly find employment with an engineering degree, you will not be a full-fledged, licensed engineer. Indeed, you will have to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (known as the FE) administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Upon successful completion of the FE exam, you will acquire an apprenticeship to qualify for the Professional Engineer exam (known as the PE). Once you pass the PE exam, you will become a fully-certified engineer!