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The job of an RF Engineer

  1. Aug 25, 2014 #1
    I am currently in college for a 2 year EET degree. Now, before you all jump onto me saying that it is not an engineering degree I already know this. I am using this time to make sure I am prepared for EE in a 4 year university. I am going to take cal 1-3, diff eq, linear algebra, calculus based physics, etc. Since I am 29 it is a much needed refresher for mathematics I never used working in the past 10 years as an electromechanical technician.

    Now, with that out of the way, I have been using this time to also consider what area I would want to focus on with EE. From what I have read, RF engineering really looks like the way to go if you have the determination to study enough to break into it. So I ask, what is RF engineering really like? Are the job prospects really as good as they appear to be?

    My experience in the work force has nothing to do with RF, but it has quite a lot to do with PLCs, engines, electrical work, some electronics work, VFDs, etc.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2014 #2
    I can't offer much, just that I've heard RF engineering takes a lot of advanced math at times. Like, really advanced. However, think about it.

    4G. Wifi. Radio. Bluetooth. More, even. Aren't they all RF-related? RF engineers would design the chips designed to transmit and receive data wirelessly, no? Correct me if I'm wrong, PF guys! With all the tech firms coming, and the 4G-wifi-bluetooth era at a peak and even new concepts being thought of as we speak, RF engineering should have a solid place SOMEWHERE.
  4. Aug 26, 2014 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

  5. Aug 26, 2014 #4
  6. Aug 26, 2014 #5


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    My apologies for interfering...
  7. Aug 26, 2014 #6
    How advanced are we talking? I really do like math quite a lot and I don't mind having to study every night for the next 7 years to break into the field if the job security is worth it.
  8. Aug 27, 2014 #7


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    Actually the chips themselves are designed by RFIC or analog design engineers. The techniques used to make RF integrated circuits are not all that closely related to the techniques used to create discrete or high-power RF circuits. This is primarily due to two reasons. First, the parasitic levels internal to a chip are so low very high speeds can be generated that allow more classical analog techniques to be exploited. Second, there is no restriction on the impedance levels used internal to the chip so 50 Ohm design is not required.

    That said, traditional RF engineering is still quite important in, for example, base station and infrastructure as well as handset design.
  9. Aug 27, 2014 #8
    Now I have read all over that it is hard to get into RF engineering so I have to ask, exactly how hard is it to get into RF engineering and what should I focus what I study in my spare time on?
  10. Aug 27, 2014 #9
    Become a an amateur ham or radio astronomer! Get licenced & do all the things hams do, from building antennas to talking to satellites & tropospheric ducting. Be totally puzzled why your RF setup doesn't work eventhough you did everything by the book! Replicate Marconi & discover skywave propagation! Play with the Kennelly–Heaviside layer before breakfast! Amaze your friends by knowing where we are in the sunspot cycle!

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  11. Aug 27, 2014 #10
    That's actually something I am going to look into. Thanks man.
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