Overview

An electrical engineer is someone who designs and develops new electrical equipment, solves problems and tests equipment. They work with all kinds of electronic devices, from the smallest pocket devices to large supercomputers.

Electrical engineering deals with electricity, electro-magnetism and electronics. It also covers power, control systems, telecommunications and signal processing. They are usually concerned with large-scale electrical systems such as motor control and power transmission, as well as utilizing electricity to transmit energy. Electrical engineers may work on a diverse range of technologies, from the design of household appliances, lighting and wiring of buildings, telecommunication systems, electrical power stations and satellite communications. They may plan their designs using computer-aided software or they may also sketch ideas by hand.

There are many sub-disciplines of electrical engineering. Some electrical engineers specialize exclusively in one sub-discipline, while others specialize in a combination of sub-disciplines. The most popular sub-disciplines are:

Electronic Engineer - deals with electronic circuits such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors and diodes.

Microelectronics Engineer - deals with design and microfabrication of tiny electronic circuit components.

Signal Processing Engineer - deals with signals, such as analog or digital signals.

Power Engineer - deals with electricity and design of related electrical devices such as transformers, generators, motors and power electronics.

Control Engineer - deals with design of controllers that cause systems to behave in a certain way, using microcontrollers, programmable logic controllers, digital signal processors and electrical circuits.

Telecommunications Engineer - deals with transmission of information via a cable or optical fiber.

Instrumentation Engineer - deals with the design of measuring devices for pressure, flow and temperature. This involves a deep understanding of physics.

Computer Engineer - deals with the design of computers and computer hardware.

Next: What does an Electrical Engineer do?

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