Electrical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with different forms of electric energy, including electromagnetic and hydroelectric energy as well as electronic technology. Electrical engineers perform many functions related to the creation and implementation of electronic devices and systems. A degree in electrical engineering can open the door to a wide range of career fields in many industries.
A research engineer typically works in a laboratory setting and may be responsible for the development of new electrical technology or testing the capabilities of existing electrical or electronic devices. Research engineers may work in academic settings, for the federal government, in independent research labs, within the energy industry or for corporations in the private sector.
A design engineer takes the findings of the research engineer and applies it for practical use. Design engineers are responsible for designing and creating new electrical technology, using computer simulations and modeling as their primary tools. Design engineers may work in many fields including the aerospace industry, designing electrical systems for spacecraft, or they may work in communications, designing technology for cell phones.
Systems engineers are responsible for overseeing the operation and maintenance of electrical systems, such as power grids, telephone lines and wireless communication networks. They may be responsible for installing new electrical systems, establishing wireless networks, evaluating these systems for ways to increase performance and performing regular maintenance to ensure safe operation.
A test engineer is responsible for monitoring electronic devices to ensure that they are operating properly. They create programs that are designed to test the equipment's functionality and troubleshoot problems when needed. Test engineers may work in many industries, including manufacturing, the power industry or the semiconductor industry.
A project engineer oversees projects related to the development of new electrical technology. Project engineers are responsible for ensuring that projects are completed according to the company's specifications, within a specific time frame and within the allowed budget. Possible sources of employment for project engineers include the military or private IT consulting firms.
An application engineer works to update or modify existing electrical or electronic technology or systems. Application engineers may be responsible for evaluating a company's current electrical systems and suggesting upgrades that would ensure increased safety and performance. Application engineers may work in the automotive industry or fields related to computer software and information technology.
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