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Electrical and Computer Engineering

Why Electrical Engineering?

What do Electrical/Electronic Engineers do?

Electrical/Electronic Engineers design devices, sensors, and systems that build upon an understanding of the physical world and rely on models to explain various parts of the world so that the products of their work function appropriately.

As an Electrical/Electronic Engineer, you can design:

  • wired and wireless communications devices and systems and the algorithms that allow messages to be relayed with the minimum of energy and delay here on earth or to and from satellites.
  • devices and systems to generate electricity from a variety of energy sources (coal, solar, bacteria or even humans), ways to integrate these sources of electricity into a distribution system, and monitor to insure that all connections to the electrical grid are powered properly, whether they are houses connected to the national grid or sensors in a prosthetic hand.
  • control systems for industrial applications (manufacturing automation), robotic systems for biomedical surgery, and for autonomous unmanned and driverless vehicles.
  • systems to detect and interpret signals and images such as the whale songs in the ocean, glimmers of thought from your brain waves, images of the universe collected by the Hubble telescope or sent by the furthest NASA planetary probe.
  • microprocessors and high performance computer systems for the next generation electronics that will improve our quality of life.

Reasons why you should study Electrical/Electronic Engineering

  1. Electricity runs or controls almost everything and electronic devices are everywhere.
  2. There is always some exciting new technologies to use in your designs so you will never be bored. 
  3. Electrical/electronic engineering impacts just about every discipline from the arts to zoology, which makes it is a great starting point for entrepreneurs.
  4. There are always new challenges and opportunities to learn on-the-job, through graduate courses and professional seminar, or just for fun.
  5. You can use your electrical/electronic engineering skills to give back to the community and society.
  6. Jobs are available worldwide and in your own backyard (design your own solar-powered lights for the patio?).
  7. You don't have to wait until you graduate.  You can start researching solutions to problems as an undergraduate student and/or during a (paid) summer internship.
  8. It's easy to get a high-paying job as the demand for electrical/electronic engineers is outstripping the number of engineers that the US is producing.
  9. You can choose to work on devices as small as a few molecules to systems as big as the Grand Coulee Dam.

Starting Salaries

According to the latest survey of graduating seniors by the National Association of College and Employers, the average starting salary for Electrical/Electronics and Communications Engineering graduates was $72,619, the third highest salary in all of the engineering disciplines. According to Salary.com, recent Electrical/Electronic Engineering graduates earn roughly $16,000 more ($88,341) in San Jose area. Overall, graduates who work in California were paid $5,000-$10,000 above the national average.