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Thinking of starting a course in Electrical Engineering?

  1. Feb 2, 2015 #1
    Dear readers,

    Firstly I would like to say that I'm a new member to the Physics Forum and I hope to meet many people who share my passion for science and, at present, engineering (because lets face it, science/engineering is awesome!).

    As a recent chemistry graduate at the University of Edinburgh, I have picked up a variety of technical and transferable skills from my recent involvement with internships and university, and now seek a change in career practice. One discipline which has caught my eye is electrical engineering; specifically telecommunications and satellite communications.

    It would be invaluable for me if anyone could tell me a little about what the engineering course entails (I appreciate many posts have been made on such questions and answering this question may seem daunting), what you personally enjoyed the course when studying it, the challenges and rewards associated with this profession, the people you work with, culture fit and basically anything else of importance which you believe to be essential for new starts going into the electrical engineering profession.

    Professionals who have done alternative engineering degrees/courses such as mechanical, civil, chemical or otherwise, your information would be a godsend for me as well.

    Thanks for reading.


    PS. I posted this thread on the Physics Forum, but something tells me it was the wrong section. Whoops!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2015 #2
    In my experience (USA) you will be taking a number of courses some of which will involve producing working electric devices. Some examples are making a calculator on an FPGA, creating a wireless transmitter, robots, ..., the field is very broad. There will also be some more theoretical/math focused work.

    The transition into the private workforce can be intimidating. The culture will depend on the employer. I found some success by answering technical questions on job interviews. But you may also find people who want candidates to have experience with specific technologies and aren't looking for someone clever or ambitious. This can feel limiting.
    If you want the option of graduate school you should prepare yourself differently. Graduate school may not translate into broader career options, but will enable you experience a different environment and do more advanced work.

    Engineering process flows are reassuring or otherwise a nice component to the atmosphere in product development, a typical E.E. job. Engineers, technicians, legal people, etc are working to accomplish something. And even everyday electric technology is miraculous in a way. In my limited experience at small and medium sized companies there wasn't too much trouble getting equipment that will help you do your job better. This is in contrast to what I have seen and heard regarding medicine in the U.S. as well as physical science. There, the basic operation of many institutions is frustrating or doesn't make sense.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  4. Feb 3, 2015 #3
    I appreciate your response. You highlighted in particular that the transition into the workforce as an E.E. can be intimidating and I agree that the work culture can vary from place to place. These questions are more fundamental for me than, say, what E.E's focus on (because the internet can teach you that). Whereas the information available is more limited when identifying culture fit / working environment. To keep it short, I am interested in the course, but I have to confess that I am nervous I may dislike the working environment.

    What I'll do is go into some open university seminars during the summer session and ask more information. It's always nice to get some wisdom from others on the other side of the continent though, ehe!

    Thanks again MisterX
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