Many people often find it hard to choose the major they want to pursue in college and thus the career that they want to be part of in the future. Ultimately, choosing a major and thus a career can be the determinant of or the difference between being disappointed for the rest of one’s life or being satisfied with the path of life chosen (Anderson & Gilbride, 2003). The process of choosing a career is often influenced by several factors. Regardless of the varying nature of these factors, the ultimate factor that should decide one’s career is passion. One should always chose a career that they are passionate about. A career choice based on other factors and aspects such as parental pressure is likely to result in an unhappy and even a disappointing future. In my case, I always knew what I wanted to pursue as a major and this was electrical engineering. My passion for this career path was heightened in high school and I knew that once I went to college, it was the main course that I was going pursue. Ultimately, one of the things that spiked my interest in this career was the different things or the different roles that I would perform as an electrical engineer. This paper is aimed at exploring some of the main roles and responsibilities of an electrical engineer which is what I will become.
Electrical engineers perform a variety of roles of functions. First of all, they design and also evaluate the manufacturing, the testing, the installation, the operation and finally the maintenance of electronic and electrical systems, equipment and components. The electrical engineer possess an unimaginable amount of knowledge on such systems and are thus entrusted with almost every aspect of their operationalization (Landis 1995).
As an electrical engineer, I can also be in charge of construction and development. Here, I will oversee the construction or development of electrical systems in order to ensure that they are as per the expected standards.
An electrical engineer can perform his or her job from an office, an industrial plant or even a lab. The projects that an electrical engineer can engage in range from creating and designing telecommunication systems, electrical power stations operation, wiring and lighting of streets and buildings, installation of electrical systems for industry machinery control among many other roles (Rizzoni, 2007).
Many engineers tend to specialize in specific areas where they feel most gifted or where they feel that their skills can attain maximum utilization. Therefore the field of electrical engineering comprises of many sub disciplines which the engineer can choose to specialize in (Landis 1995). While some engineers choose to exclusively concentrate or specialize in a singular sub-discipline, others combine a variety of disciplines and specialize in them (Landis 1995). It is not surprising to come across an engineer who has specialized in several disciplines.
Personally, I have chosen to specialize in two particular disciplines and these are electronic and microelectronic engineering.
An electronic engineer mainly deals with electronic devices and circuits. They include capacitors, diodes, resistors, inductors and transistors. The engineer is responsible for their creation, development and maintenance. The engineer may for example be tasked with developing the system of a certain electrical and electronic device. This calls for the manipulation of mentioned circuits to ensure that they perform effectively and in the desired way that will allow the normal functioning of an electronic device.
Another sub discipline of engineering is signal processing. The engineer’s duty in this sub discipline usually revolves around manipulating various electric signals. These include both digital and analog signals and the changing of these signals from one form to the other. The duty of an engineer in this field may be to design a signal conversion device that can successfully convert analog signals to digital signals and vice versa.
Another notable sub discipline of engineering is microelectronic engineering. A microelectronic engineer’s duties are almost similar to those an electronic engineer and in many cases, many electronic engineers also perform the role of microelectronics engineer. However, the primary role of a microelectronics engineer is the micro fabrication And occasionally the design of small electronic circuit components. These are the components in electronic devices that enable them to perform the function for which they are designed to perform (Rizzoni, 2007).
The other sub-discipline of engineering is power engineering. This mainly deals with matters related to electricity including its generation or production, it transport, manipulation and so on. A power engineer may perform the role of designing machineries that are involved in either the production, manipulation or transport of electricity. These include generators, motors, and transformers. Another sub discipline of engineering is telecommunication engineering and the job of an engineer who has specialized in this field revolves around the transmission or movement of information through optical fibers and cables.
Personally, as mentioned earlier, the two fields in which I have great interest in and that I have chosen to specialize in and purse are electronics and microelectronics engineering. Since I was a young boy, I was always interested in finding out how electronic devices around the home worked. I damaged a lot of devices around my home in my quest to know how they functioned and worked.
In high school, when I was learning about physics, I would pay increased attention when my teacher was teaching a topic on electronic devices and how they worked. Being more knowledgeable now, I could successfully open up devices in my home, observe them keenly and ultimately reassemble them without damaging anything. It was at this juncture that my interest in electrical engineering was spiked even farther.
As an electronic engineer specializing in these to sub disciplines, I will essentially be around electronics day in day out. I will have the opportunity to build circuit systems for various electronics and essentially manipulate how they work. I will also be able to perform maintenance works on them whenever it becomes necessary.
Engineering is a kind of work that brings about a lot of innovation and creativity (Beder, 1998). Being around electronics is bound to arouse my innovation skills nd I have no doubt that I might be innovator of the next big thing in electronics. In addition, I do not think there is anywhere I would enjoy being more or any job that I would enjoy more than being around electronics on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, the job of an electrical engineer is also accompanied by a host of dangers and problems. Some of the roles and responsibilities of electrical engineers expose them to massive danger (Brauer, 2006). This is especially when they have to work in situations that involve running electricity currents. Power engineers expose their lives to danger everyday as they deal with the generation and the manipulation of electricity and as they try to operationalize different electrical systems (Brauer, 2006). The same applies with other types of engineers who design systems that have to be tested or that have to run with electricity to prove their functionality. They are however protective gadgets and clothes that reduce the exposure of electrical engineers to danger. As a future electrical engineer, I am well aware of these dangers but my passion for this career is even greater.
As shown above, electrical engineering is quite an expansive field that consists of many sub-disciplines. This paper has shown that the roles and responsibilities of an electrical engineer are wide and varied. However, it has been shown that electrical engineers primarily study and apply the mathematics and physics of electricity, electromagnetism, and electronics to both small and large scale systems in order to process information as well as transmit energy and they do this by designing electric devices computers and communication systems. They also test various systems and improve them using mathematical problem solving techniques.
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Landis, R. B. (1995). Studying engineering: A road map to a rewarding career. Discovery Press (Los Angeles, CA).
Anderson, L. S., & Gilbride, K. A. (2003). Pre-university outreach: Encouraging students to consider engineering careers. Global J. of Engng. Educ, 7(1), 87-93.
Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/electrical-and-electronics-engineers.htm
Beder, S. (1998). The new engineer: Management and professional responsibility in a changing world. Macmillan Education AU.
Brauer, R. L. (2006). Safety and health for engineers. John Wiley & Sons.