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The Daily Grind

  1. Nov 16, 2009 #1


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    I will soon be getting ready to attend a University for a BA in Electrical Engineering, and I have a question.

    What exactly does an Electrical Engineer do? I love the idea of electromagnetic systems, and power generation, but I am unsure how much of this the Electrical Engineer does. Who designs the big generators in the power plant? Is that the ME, or the EE?

    Basically, in short, I don't want to sit around all day long with an electrical tester and a calculator. I will want to be out in the field; although I will expect- and even want- to perform some of the complex calculations and designs. However, I also want to design some mechanical systems.

    I apologize if this thread should be in the "Academic Guidance" section, as it's a question I would like to be answered more specifically by Electrical Engineers.

    Just tell me I will be doing some "cool" things, and not just computation and soldering.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2009 #2


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    Electrical engineering is one of the broader disciplines and so the answer to the main question is "a lot". From designing computer chips or building electrical systems to running power plants, basically anything that requires someone with above average intelligence and knowledge of something electrical requires an electrical engineer.

    You may want to search monster.com for entry level EE jobs and see what is out there.
  4. Nov 16, 2009 #3
    Somebody had to design the microwave comm link for Voyager space probes, or a power distribution system for the Hubble telescope, the control circuit for an electric toothbrush, or the motor control system in a hard drive. In fact, anything that utilizes electricity was designed by EEs.
  5. Nov 16, 2009 #4


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    Macladdy as soon as you can, join IEEE and start reading some of their journals like Spectrum. Membership in IEEE will likely be offered to you by your department as soon as you declare a major.

    Also, start considering somewhere you'd like to intern in the Summers. You'll get coffee and haul gear, but you'll also get close enough to practioneers to see what they do.
    Doesn't matter if you get the place right, it will help inform the more important decisions coming later. I interned, convinced me I wanted to go to grad school.
  6. Nov 18, 2009 #5


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    Above average... Interesting.

    Yes, but I still worry it's all calculation and soldering. I love the concepts, but I have always been someone to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty.

    Interning is not much of an option for me, as I will be attempting to work full time. Thank you for the link to the IEEE. There is very good information on that website.

    I have a question that is relevant to all of this, but I am going to start it in a new thread. Thank you all for your input.
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