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Electrical Engineering degree?

  1. Nov 9, 2013 #1
    Hi. I'm a high school senior and I plan to go to UC Berkeley or Cal Poly Pomona and get my Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Will I get job after I graduate from college? And I want to get started by learning electrical engineering. How can I find the names of the textbooks for electrical engineering that these colleges use for freshmen electrical engineering majors?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2013 #2
    Electrical engineers usually have good job prospects. As for where can you find the books they use, most colleges have a bookstore you can look at. You could cross compare the course numbers with those the bookstore has for purchase.
  4. Nov 10, 2013 #3
  5. Nov 10, 2013 #4


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    Most colleges provide the course material in their syllabus, which you can access through the college's website.

    Your main concern as a highschool student is prerequisites, as you have to go through certain freshmen courses in order to start with EE courses. They are mostly Calculus, differential equations, calculus based physics (classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism) and some programming courses.

    I suggest reading a syllabus right now, as you might be unable to study the said EE courses with your current level of education (unless you took some AP classes but they might be insufficient); they are mostly second year courses, something like circuits and electronics 201.
  6. Nov 10, 2013 #5
  7. Nov 10, 2013 #6
    Yes, EEs can still find work. But big layoffs happen, then you find other work. Over all you can do well.

    About books. I'd not start with the normal freshman intro to EE book. Those things are just full of math proofs. Your best plan is to gain practical experience and read the theory as you need it.
    If you need to study university level books, first make sure you know calculus and differential equations VERY well, backwards and forwards. The EE classes will always use more advanced math than you are learning in math classes and most EEs drop out and change majors because they find they lack the math skills. Yes, maybe 1/2 of all of them change majors and all these guys are smart too. So study math if anything, and build stuff too.

    SO buy a math book and think of a hard project. Maybe like a robot arm controller and design the power supply, more controllers and software, feedback loops and so on. That is a hard problem that will force you to read up.

    One more hint. Math has not changed in years, neither has freshmen level engineering. So go to Amazon and buy the PAST editions of the books. If the university is using the 8th ed. it might sell for $120 but the 6th ed. will sell on Amazon for $5.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  8. Nov 11, 2013 #7


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    get an ardunio and start designing some basic systems. having that basic programming/circuitry/debugging knowledge will be a huge leg up.
  9. Nov 11, 2013 #8
    Anything anyone says about the job prospects five years or more in to the future is probably wrong. That said, electrical engineers have historically had very good job prospects. Part of the reason is because the things they have to learn are applicable across a wide variety of fields that go far beyond just designing computers, telecommunications, and that sort of thing.

    To survive the electrical engineering curriculum, one must be prepared to work really hard. Your math skills should have had exposure to calculus before you get started. You can be certain that there will be plenty of basic physics, mechanics, thermodynamics, chemistry, fluids, engineering economics, quantum physics, calculus and differential equations, and that's just the foundation. On top of that you'll probably see courses on signals, circuits, advanced electricity and magnetism, Linear Algebra and so forth.

    And then you'll be turned loose in to the working world where you'll have absolutely no idea how to apply any of this. Your employer, should you choose one, will then want to send you to apprentice with others and to learn how to deal with company routines. It will probably take another three years before you'll have projects of your own to work on without direct supervision.

    And even then, the learning doesn't stop. I have studied information theory, advanced modulation techniques, oscillator design, filter design, embedded systems programming, operating systems design, instrumentation, safety system architectures, and many more things --long after I earned my degree. You could do this more formally by earning a master's degree, but frankly I don't have the patience for the academic approach to a practical subject such as this.

    I point this out because what you learn in school is only enough to get your foot in the door. If you expect to be able to design a better computer, radio, TV, or solar power storage system for an employer the moment you graduate, think again. The people who do that sort of thing were doing it long before they ever went to study engineering.

    Don't be scared by what I'm writing, but be realistic. When I started college, the university handbook noted that the students in Business college could expect 2 to 3 hours of assignments on an average night. Engineering students were told they could expect 4 to 5 hours of assignments on an average night. You are going to work hard. But you'll also be able to achieve amazing things, have fun, and earn a comfortable living while doing it.

    Good luck!
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