Almost all of the technological devices that underlie modern society have been invented, developed and perfected by electrical engineers. Electrical engineers design electrical and electronic equipment of all sorts, including electric motors, radar and navigation systems, computer chips, televisions, smartphones, communications systems, and the electrical systems in all types of vehicles. Electrical engineers have earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, and many will have undertaken an internship or work-study program in their last year or two of school. Some choose to stay in school and earn a master's degree.
Power Systems Engineers
Developing new power systems, such as jet aircraft or custom factory generators, typically requires an interdisciplinary team including electrical and mechanical engineers as well as other specialists. Power systems engineers with an electrical engineering background are involved from the earliest stages, in calculating electrical loads and tolerances, and designing appropriate circuitry and equipment for the project.
Computer Hardware Engineers
Computer hardware engineers design and develop computer chips, circuit boards, routers and other computer-related peripherals. Computer hardware and software development have become closely related rather than separate phases of a project, which means that 21st century hardware engineers need a strong programming background. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting a somewhat below average nine percent job growth for computer hardware engineers because of the increasing importance of software in modern information technology.
Medical Device Engineers
Medical device engineers are on the cutting edge of modern technology. This highly interdisciplinary field involves inventing and creating prototypes of new medical devices such as pacemakers, neuromuscular stimulators and mechatronic prostheses. Medical device engineering teams come from a variety of academic backgrounds, including biomechanics, biomolecular engineering and computer and electrical engineering.
Control and Instrumentation Engineers
Control and instrumentation engineers are typically employed in the processing, refining and manufacturing industries. This specialized electrical engineer is responsible for designing, installing and/or maintaining monitoring and control engineering systems. A carefully designed network of pressure gauges and temperature sensors sensors linked to a control room in an oil refinery, for example, enables both safer and more efficient operations.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Computer Hardware Engineers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- Prospects: Electrical Engineer: Job Description
- Prospects: Control and Instrumentation Engineer: Job Description
- Lockheed Martin: Electrical Engineering Jobs
- University of Southern California: Medical Device Development Facility -- People
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images