Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. This field first became an identifiable occupation in the latter half of the 19th century after commercialization of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and electric power distribution and use. It now covers a wide range of subfields including electronics, digital computers, power engineering, telecommunications, control systems, RF engineering, and signal processing.
Electrical engineering may include electronic engineering. Where a distinction is made, usually outside of the United States, electrical engineering is considered to deal with the problems associated with systems such as electric power transmission and electrical machines, whereas electronic engineering deals with the study of electronic systems including computers, communication systems, integrated circuits, and radar.
From a different point-of-view, electrical engineers are usually concerned with using electricity to transmit electric power, while electronic engineers are concerned with using electricity to process information. The sub disciplines can overlap, for example, in the growth of power electronics, and the study of behavior of large electrical grids under the control of digital computers and electronics.
Electronic engineering involves the design and testing of electronic circuits that use the properties of components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes and transistors to achieve a particular functionality. The tuned circuit, which allows the user of a radio to filter out all but a single station, is just one example of such a circuit. Another example (of a pneumatic signal conditioner) is shown in the adjacent photograph.
Prior to the Second World War, the subject was commonly known as radio engineering and basically was restricted to aspects of communications and radar, commercial radio and early television. Later, in post war years, as consumer devices began to be developed, the field grew to include modern television, audio systems, computers and microprocessors. In the mid-to-late 1950s, the term radio engineering gradually gave way to the name electronic engineering.
Before the invention of the integrated circuit in 1959, electronic circuits were constructed from discrete components that could be manipulated by humans. These discrete circuits consumed much space and power and were limited in speed, although they are still common in some applications. By contrast, integrated circuits packed a large number—often millions—of tiny electrical components, mainly transistors, into a small chip around the size of a coin. This allowed for the powerful computers and other electronic devices we see today.
Abilities Needed for: "Electrical Engineer"
1) Deductive Reasoning -- The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
2) Near Vision -- The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
3) Problem Sensitivity -- The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
4) Information Ordering -- The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
5) Mathematical Reasoning -- The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
6) Visualization -- The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
7) Oral Expression -- The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
8) Written Expression -- The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
9) Oral Comprehension -- The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
10) Written Comprehension -- The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
11) Speech Clarity -- The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
12) Inductive Reasoning -- The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
13) Speech Recognition -- The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
14) Fluency of Ideas -- The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
15) Originality -- The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Job Duties and Tasks for: "Electrical Engineer"
1) Confer with engineers, customers, and others to discuss existing or potential engineering projects and products.
2) Design, implement, maintain, and improve electrical instruments, equipment, facilities, components, products, and systems for commercial, industrial, and domestic purposes.
3) Operate computer-assisted engineering and design software and equipment to perform engineering tasks.
4) Direct and coordinate manufacturing, construction, installation, maintenance, support, documentation, and testing activities to ensure compliance with specifications, codes, and customer requirements.
5) Perform detailed calculations to compute and establish manufacturing, construction, and installation standards and specifications.
6) Inspect completed installations and observe operations, to ensure conformance to design and equipment specifications and compliance with operational and safety standards.
Knowledge, Experience, Education Required for: "Electrical Engineer"
1) Engineering and Technology -- Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
2) Computers and Electronics -- Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
3) Mathematics -- Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
4) English Language -- Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
5) Design -- Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
6) Physics -- Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
7) Telecommunications -- Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
8) Production and Processing -- Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Job Activities for: "Electrical Engineer"
1) Interacting With Computers -- Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
2) Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work -- Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
3) Getting Information -- Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
4) Making Decisions and Solving Problems -- Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
5) Analyzing Data or Information -- Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
6) Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge -- Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.