Electrical engineers apply the knowledge of science, technology, and problem-solving towards designing, building, and managing products and services. Electrical engineers might also be called electronics or computer engineers.
To become an electrical engineer, you need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a related engineering field, such as electronics or computers. When hired by a company, an engineer may also have a significant amount of time to learn about the company’s products and procedures before specializing in a specific area.
Job responsibilities may include identifying problems and choosing a technical solution, along with the materials, equipment and procedure require. They might also be in charge of manufacturing and producing high-quality products and services. In a large company, an electrical engineer will likely specialize in a very specific technical area such as design, research, testing, quality control, or software. As they gain more expertise, electrical engineers may also gain management responsibilities.
A more direct application of engineering to the technology industry is through a career as a computer scientist. Those who enjoy working with computers and using mathematics and science to solve technical problems will enjoy a career as a computer scientist.
Many computer science degree programs include classes in a university’s school of engineering. The first two years of school will be spent with computer engineering students, while later on computer science students will take separate classes involving more theoretical concepts, data structures, and programming.
Computer scientists often specialize in a specific area such as software development or computer programming. Since technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, computer scientists must continue learning throughout their whole careers, whether through further education or professional development seminars with their company.
While engineers deal with many theoretical and analytical responsibilities, technologists are responsible for the practical application of that theory and analysis. They often work alongside engineers to construct, manufacture and improve products that engineers design.
Most technologists receive a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology, in which they study electrical, electronics, or computer engineering. They can work in a number of industries involving manufacturing, and entry level positions can range from product design and development to field engineering or quality control.
A technician does not have the same job as a technologist. While a technologist is generally responsible for turning an engineer’s design into a product, the technician’s job is to test the product and confirm it operates as originally designed. Technicians are often in charge of fabricating, operating, testing, and maintaining equipment or information systems.
To become a technician, one or two years of specialized education are required. Many technicians receive Associate’s degrees from technical colleges or institutes, with training in science and engineering for a specific field. On the job, they apply these skill toward installing, testing, and maintaining products involved in manufacturing.
Dawn Lovett has worked in electronic and computer engineering for over 20 years. She also owns the site Online Engineering Degrees for students interested in getting an online degree in engineering.