Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Some thing all E.E must know

  1. Dec 23, 2012 #1
    I am going to school for electrical engineering and I have asked this question a lot and I have not gotten a straight answer. Is there something that an electrical engineer MUST know or is expected to know before entering the field of engineering? I am going to school and wanted to know if there is something I should know before I graduate school. I have a lot of class's I can take and I have a lot of resources. Is there anything I should most defiantly do before I graduate? Thank You for every one how has answered this.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2012 #2
  4. Dec 23, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yep, that's it all right (except I write it is E=IR)
  5. Dec 23, 2012 #4
    Don't treat EM as a class that you just have to creep through to get the degree, instead embrace it and spend more time trying to understand it. Be good in the required math, don't just pass the class.
    If you are more hardware and firmware inclined, take more computer classes.
  6. Dec 24, 2012 #5
    I agree that if you are holding a degree in EE and don't know Ohm's law than something went seriously wrong. Many of us learned this well before we entered college.

    However, here is how I would answer this:

    An engineer is expected to have one subject, or one topic, that he/she is passionate about and can discuss at a reasonably high level.

    If it is electromagnetics then perhaps you can write Maxwell's equations on the whiteboard and talk intelligently about them. Perhaps you can give an analogy of what divergence and curl are.

    If it is digital logic then perhaps you can sketch out the circuit of a binary counter using flip-flops. Perhaps you can write a state machine in verilog. Perhaps you can discuss some of the history of digital logic.

    If it is computer architecture than perhaps you can talk about all of the tradeoffs in how data cache is designed.

    Get the idea?

    There are many specialty areas in EE, and many topics within each area. We are not expected to be passionate and knowledgeable about everything.

    Pick one area to be passionate about and be able go deep. The Internet makes this very easy for your generation, take advantage.

    You do not want to be asked in an interview "what was your favorite class" and answer "I dunno".
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
  7. Dec 24, 2012 #6
    I think study as general as possible. I don't think people know exactly what they like until they really get into the subject. I myself started as firmware/hardware, more into software. Then I change after a few years to more mixed signal. Then I change to RF microwave. Foundation is what's important. You can have an idea what you like, but study as broad as possible.
  8. Dec 24, 2012 #7
    I once mentored a freshout who had a master's from Princeton but didn't know the color code.
  9. Dec 24, 2012 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Then he wasn't an EE, he was a theorist (or more appropriately he was only theoretically an engineer :smile:)
  10. Dec 24, 2012 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Know the difference between 'defiantly' and 'definitely'.
  11. Dec 24, 2012 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    :smile: You are asking WAY too much of an engineer. :smile:
  12. Dec 24, 2012 #11
    Spend some time in the Physics lab.
  13. Dec 24, 2012 #12

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Basic physics is the foundation for all disciplines of engineering, i would say.
    Understand Newton's laws, gas laws, and balancing chemical reaction equations from your high school classes. Get yourself really sharp in Algebra 'cause that's the hardest part of calculus.

    Such pratical things , including soldering technique and circuit troubleshooting, are sadly not taught.
    Whenever we spilt the resistor trays at my plant I assigned a summer student to put them all back. At first they are indignant but years later one of them told me "Thanks for making me learn the color code". (It should be as automatic as reading printed text)

    Learn to write a business letter.

    AND last but not least, dont let education go to your head. Canadian engineers have a nice tradition - they wear a ring on little finger of left hand , made from iron that comes from a machine that has failed.
    It's a reminder for humility - pinky is the the least dexterous finger of generally less dexterous hand, iron is the most humble metal, and the "from a failed machine" is to guard against false pride (hubris).

    old jim
  14. Dec 24, 2012 #13
    "what's the difference between electrical and electronic engineering" - that's the only question I was asked.
  15. Dec 24, 2012 #14
    No, he was just an EE. The first project we did together was to design a test fixture to measure the amount of hysteresis of Schmidt triggers.
  16. Dec 24, 2012 #15
    Thank You very much everyone it was a lot of help. And thank you very much the_emi_guy !
  17. Dec 24, 2012 #16
    There are at least 2 ways to any answer - strive to "see" the connections. When you fail - you have only recognized a true challenge and NO argument is invalid....they all have merit..they may not be correct - but that is the mission - convince they are wrong or learn and accept their point of view..... oh wait.... that it the intellectual life!
  18. Dec 24, 2012 #17


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    And should they not heed the first lesson, the boss has them place that hand in the vicinity of an alternating magnetic field? :wink:
    http://img803.imageshack.us/img803/4666/holly1756.gif [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook