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California State University, Long Beach

Electrical Engineering (EE)

Should I Choose Electrical Engineering?

What is Electrical Engineering?

Electrical Engineering is a branch of Engineering that deals with the invention, design, development and commercial applications of electrical and electronics systems, components and devices. There is a wide variety of domains to which it applies. They go from the very small, as in the development of the one-elecron transistor in nanotechnology to the very large power engineering generators and transmission lines and beyond, as in the satellite communication systems that allow for the GPS in your automovil, which, by the way, belong to the domain of astronomical dimensions!

There are several branches in Electrical Engineering. And, as the discipline is in continuous progress and evolution, new branches or sub-branches appear every year or so. Among the most well-known fields of Electrical Engineering we find, for example, Electrical Power Generation and Transmission, Control Systems, Communications, Robotics, Electronics and Nanotechnology, just to name a few.

Who Should Take It?

If you are a high school graduate who is very interested in electrical systems and electronics devices, if you are inspired and motivated by technology and by the physical sciences or if you have a curious and analitical mind that enjoys the study and application of science, technology and mathematics, and, last but not least, if you are willing to embark in the serious study and practice of those subjects, do not doubt it, you are an ideal candidate for the enrollment in an Electrical Engineering undergraduate program.

What Type of Career Does It Prepare Students for?

Electrical engineers design, develop, test and supervise the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment or the fitting and implementation of such equipment into more complex systems. Some of this equipment includes electric motors, machinery controls, lighting and wiring in buildings, automobiles, aircraft, radar and navigation systems, and power generation, control, and transmission devices used by electric utilities. The equipment also usually involves chips and microprocessors. Although the terms electrical engineering and electronics engineering often are used interchangeably in academia and in industry, electrical engineers have traditionally focused on the generation and supply of power, whereas electronics engineers have worked on applications of electricity to control systems or to signal processing. Such division nowadays is however less emphasized: For example, the modern subfield of power electronics lies exactly in the interface between these two large areas. Anyway, electrical or electronics engineers specialize nowadays in many areas with names such as power systems engineering, electrical and electronics communication, robotics and control systems, radar systems and antenas, solid-state electronics, electronics nanotechnology, electrical equipment manufacturing, satellite communications, photonics and electro-optics and several others.

In real life Electrical Engineers end up doing a very interesting and wide range of activities. They go, from the direction and management of large electric utilities and electrical engineering companies or the direction of very large projects, to applied scientific research and the invention and development of highly innovative electrical or electronics devices and systems.

Courtesy of: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Engineers, on the Internet (visited December 10, 2008).

Additional Employment Information

Most Recent Bureau of Labor Statics Employment Outlook and Wage Information

Exploring an Electrical Engineering Career

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