# User:Whiteknight/Electrical Engineering

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This book will be a non-technical look at the field of electrical engineering, including education, careers, trends, economics, etc. --Whiteknight (talk) (projects) 22:24, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

## Introduction

It may come as a surprise to some readers that no company in this day and age will hire a person to analyze a circuit. In fact, few companies will hire people to design circuits composed of resistors, capacitors, and inductors, because all these tasks are handled automatically by Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools. Also, even though electrical engineering students do spend a large amount of time doing math, solving integrals, and manipulating equations, nobody in the entire industry gets paid to solve math problems. Again, computer tools are used to solve these math problems quickly and cheaply. In fact, for less then \$1000, a company can buy a set of software tools that can solve all the basic problems that most undergraduate Electrical Engineering students can solve, and in a fraction of the time.

This is all the more shock to people whose only experiance with the whole phenomina of electricity is the wires in the home, and the few circuit tutorials (and wikibooks!) found online. After all, what else is there to the field then the wires we see, and the funny circuit diagrams online? Electrical engineering students, and graduated engineers are asked very frequently for help in wiring houses, to which the most common response is "I don't know anything about wiring houses". How can a person go to college for 4 years or more studying electricity almost exclusively, and not know a thing about the wires that bring electricity to your house? An electrical engineer, unless he has had some special training cannot fix your car, your toaster, or your alarm clock. An electrical engineer will frequently (although not always) be unable to fix your computer.

So what then, if anything, does an electrical engineer do?

The field of Electrical Engineering focuses on 2 aspects: Analysis, and Synthesis. Certainly a computer program can solve nearly any problem, but somebody must be there to feed the problem information into the computer. Not only that, but somebody must be on the other end to interpret the results. Engineering in general is all about trade-offs. Gaining an advantage in one aspect means losing an advantage in another aspect. Gaining a faster data rate, for instance, comes at the cost of a wider bandwidth (and more expensive cables and receivers and transmitters). Transmitting data reliably requires a large amount of power, which can be costly and can produce heat. Where is the line drawn? Where does the computer say that one negative aspect is acceptable in the face of a positive aspect?

Once a physical system has been analyzed, that information must be modeled mathematically, and converted into a format that a CAD tool can use. Once the CAD tool is done grinding away at the math, the human reader then needs to verify the output (because computers can do some whacky things), and then convert that information back into a form for humans to read, understand, and ultimately implement.

If an engineer needs a wire, a transistor, a diode, or a switch, he can walk down to a circuit supply shop, and buy it. Few people, if any, are working to improve these basic parts. No sense reinventing the wheel, after all. Electrical engineers are always attempting to take the things they know, and create new and better things.

### History

• Study of electromagnetics
• Early EE
• Edison and Tesla
• World War II
• Bell Labs

### Disciplines

• Power
• Control
• Microelectronics
• Signal Processing
• Telecommunications
• Instrumentation
• Computers

### Education

• Accreditation
• Engineering Degrees
• Licensing
• Research

### Work and Careers

• Professional Organizations
• Job Types
• Job Trends
• Salary Information
• Life-Long Learning

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Electrical Engineering =History

• Study of Electromagnetics
• Edison and Tesla
• World War II
• Bell Labs

=Disciplines

• Power
• Control
• Microelectronics
• Signal Processing
• Telecommunications
• Instrumentation
• Computers

=Education

• Accreditation
• Engineering Degrees