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Which EE subfield should I go into?

  • Thread starter Physics_UG
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  • #1
Physics_UG
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am in the middle of an EE graduate program and I have been taking courses in device physics and semiconductors process technology. I am starting to think that this isn't the area I am truly passionate about. I haven't really been doing all that well in the classes. Which areas of EE are going to present good job opportunities in the future in the United States (i.e. which fields aren't being outsourced?). I know that VLSI/chip design jobs are being outsourced. I have also heard that communication systems is a rapidly growing area right now. Is there a market for people that know about antennas and electromagnetics?

Right now I am just trying to taylor a graduate program that will be attractive to employers. I am also looking for a field that I would be interested in doing research on if I decide to stay and do the PhD.

Thanks
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
ranger
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Power engineering and electrical engineering roles such as I & C engineering in the oil & gas industry are pretty stable in North America. If I had the opportunity, I would switch completely to power engineering for grad school. But I'm kinda far along, so the best I can do is take a few courses in power engineering without doing any research, and hope I take a liking to it, let alone get an A.

One thing too is that these days, you have to have some flexibility to move where the jobs are. If for example you are passionate about VLSI design, then as a new grad, you should be very flexible, even if its in a foreign country.
 
  • #3
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Hey ranger, what's your concentration in grad school? I'm still an undergrad but I was thinking of going into semiconductor physics/photonics, but I didn't realize that VLSI jobs were starting to be outsourced.
 
  • #4
ranger
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Hey roeb, I'm focusing on digital integrated circuit design (mostly frontend), mixed-signal ICs, and applications of FPGAs. I'm interested in mostly medical applications of digital systems and do a lot of digital systems design.

But yea, its not a good time for anything VLSI related. I spoke a lot about the current situation in this thread. They are experiences summed up in a few posts of many talks with other grad students, professors, and my supervisor. Its slightly pessimistic, but these are issues which shouldnt be sugar coated. As a result I strongly urge students (who wish to remain in North America) to specialize in EE disciplines where outsourcing is difficult (power eng., oil & gas industry, and building systems are some examples).
 
  • #5
I am an undergrad that originally wanted to do EE, but from looking @ the job outlook and the outsourcing problem we have, I think I'm gonna switch to ME, just because it's a broader discipline. I got my information from www.bls.gov[/URL] I hear that the actual statistics are not <i>that</i> bleak, but anything near a 2% job growth over the next 10 years is not something I think I want to go 40k in debt learning about. I still have to talk to my adviser about this, but I am thinking about trying to minor in EE just because it is what initially interests me, and I could use that knowledge to become broad, yet specialized (and maybe be able to demand a higher salary, lol). I'm still in the process of figuring out what is best for me. Any input on this theory would be appreciated.
 
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