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Electrical Engineering : Fields of study and work.Are you enjoying it?

  1. Jun 16, 2013 #1
    I'm done with my second year of electrical engineering and am interning at nVidia. So far all I see is people in cubicles debugging code and compiling kernels. Of course there's nothing wrong with it but I was disappointed because I chose electrical over computer science in the hope of doing something more hands on and sciencey ( read Maxwell's laws, quantum mechanics and biomed related). Although I love testing out some new algorithms I read about I don't know if sitting at a desk all day wont drive me insane.

    So, what can I study that'll satisfy my interests and let me work in fun places like nasa and cern and the like :smile: Also what kind of places can I work in after having having studied subjects like the ones I've mentioned. Are you satisfied with your major and in a very enjoyable field/job after studying electrical engineering? Please let me know if you are!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2013 #2
    I am a EE that mainly does software work now. Here is my two cents:

    1.) There are plenty of electrical engineers working at places like NASA and CERN. But most of the people working at NASA and CERN sit at a desk all day.

    2.) I have been lucky to do a decent amount of hands on work. Most of this has been of the form of debugging circuit cards I designed/helped design or working to tune control algorithms I have written. But even then, for a year long project, maybe 3 months is spent hands on, the rest of the time is designing, coding, simulating, etc at a desk.

    3.) As a EE, you are very unlikely to work with quantum mechanics. Maxwell's laws are in effect on everything you work with but for most cases you either work on simplified abstractions of those laws or don't have to worry about the physics at that level at all. If you want to get more to that side of things work on antennas, communication, and radar might be of interest. Don't know about biomed other than it probably isn't a bad field to get into.
  4. Jun 16, 2013 #3

    jim hardy

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    If you want hands-on instead of desk work, look for a company that operates equipment.

    Telephone , electric utility, railroads, airlines all have field engineers to help keep the machinery going.

    Poke around this site a bit :

  5. Jun 17, 2013 #4
    Really all companies with physical products have some form of field engineering support - you mention bioMed - so look to the big guys like Siemens and GE and medical product manufacturers. A few years servicing this equipment and you will develop VERY valuable experience esp with a 4 yr engineering degree. Otherwise most hardware product R&D is more hands on as well. Pretty much all of the computer industry including nVidia - is extremely software based, so most of the work will be in front of a monitor.
  6. Jun 17, 2013 #5


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    I am an EE who's senior design was in digital.
    I haven't really touched digital since.....I am now more into power. Your senior design in college rarely translates into what you actually do. This is the reality of life. In my opinion your engineering school teaches you more how to think and problem solve than it does the actual electrical engineering itself. That's good, because a true thinker can solve any problem.

    I now wire large factories from high voltage to medium voltage to low voltage and controls. Which is interesting since I used to burn, blow up or turn to smoke anything I tried to wire before I got educated. I do enjoy my job because I pretty much know what I"m doing now. They say it takes about 5 years real world engineering to get the hang of what you are doing....the big picture if you will. I'd would agree with that....yes, I just eclipsed the 5 year mark.
  7. Jun 18, 2013 #6
    I'm an analog IC designer. I work in a place similar to CERN so my chips are for cool applications like subatomic particle detectors and electron microscopes. But, mostly, I sit at a desk all day simulating and debugging circuits on a computer. But it's fun work and I love it.

    If you don't love what you're doing you're not going to be very good at it. So the goal for you should be to find what aspect of EE you find most exciting.
  8. Jun 18, 2013 #7


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    Along these lines, I have known engineers that worked at places like Tektronics and Agilent helping customers figure out how to use their test equipment the best way, etc. We have had such people come into our lab as well.
  9. Jun 22, 2013 #8
    What software do you use for this?
  10. Jun 26, 2013 #9
    Analog circuit schematic and layout entry:

    Analog simulation (SPICE-like)

    Digital switch-level Simulation

    Digital Synthesis and Place-and-Route

    Layout-vs-Schematic verification

    System modeling

    Good times.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  11. Jun 27, 2013 #10
    thank you :)
  12. Jul 14, 2013 #11
    I came across a few Biomed companies in the news. They and a few others (related to defence etc) were in countries other than my own (like USA and Canada). I hear its near impossible to get employed there, especially if its defence or space related because those are government related (NASA requires you to be a citizen of the country).

    Also if I'm interested in Biomed and physics what subjects should i pick as my electives? Can I as an electrical engineer even hope to think of biomed at all? Thanks!
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