A degree in engineering is now one of the most valuable degrees you can get, and recent graduates make more than $50,000 a year. Petroleum engineers usually make the most, but soon electrical engineers, who are designing the digital and green technologies that will shape the next few decades, will earn more than them. These engineers help make all of the gadgets and tools we use every day, like smartphones, laptops, and microwaves. Also, electrical engineers build and take care of infrastructures like power plants and military defence systems that are essential to any high-tech society.
So, what do you need to do to become an electrical engineer? What are your short-term and long-term plans for your career after you graduate? And where should you go to school if you want to be part of the next generation of electrical engineers who are dedicated to making societies more environmentally friendly? Let’s look at why you should study electrical engineering and where you should do it.
What is the study of electricity?
Electrical engineers work with electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism to make devices and systems that use these things. Electronic engineering isn’t as old as many other types of engineering, which have roots in ancient times. Scientists like Hans Christian Orsted and Michael Faraday started working on electromagnetic induction in the 1800s.
Electromagnetic induction is a way to make voltage and electric current in a closed circuit by using magnetic fields. It runs electric motors, generators, and a lot of other devices. This groundbreaking discovery led to a flood of new ideas and innovations that changed the way people lived for good. In fact, when electricity was brought into homes, businesses, and factories, the “modern age” began. And none of it could have happened without the help of electrical engineers. Imagine what the world would be like if there were no light bulbs, TV, microchips, computers, or ways to communicate.
Why should you study electrical engineering?
Electrical engineering is a practical field that can lead to a lot of great jobs. Electrical and electronics engineers can work in fields like research and development, manufacturing, the government, tech, and engineering services. Some relevant industries are automotive manufacturing, aerospace, defence, consumer electronics, commercial construction, computing, and telecommunications.
It means that you might end up testing microchips for supercomputers or making plans for space rockets that can be used more than once. SpaceX, Elon Musk’s multibillion-dollar company for space exploration, recently put out an ad for an Electric Test Engineer. In this exciting job, you’ll be making test systems for rockets and satellites, which will help SpaceX reach its main goal of letting people explore space. That’s a pretty good reason to get up on Monday morning and go to work.
Engineers at big companies like SpaceX make about EUR71,000 a year, while senior engineers can make well into the six figures. And the starting salaries for graduates at other companies are also very high. Around EUR45,500 is the average salary range for an electrical engineer who just got their degree. A mid-level engineer with five years of experience and a master’s degree can make EUR61,500. Senior engineers with a master’s degree or doctorate often make up to EUR115,000 a year.
How do you get into the field of electrical engineering?
Electrical engineers need to know a lot about math, materials, and the theory of electricity and electronics. They also need to be very good with computers, and knowing how to code is a huge plus. Electrical engineers are testing and researching more and more with computer-aided design (CAD) systems. Computer simulations can be used to make models of huge national power grids, play war games against a new radar or defence system, or test the speed at which microchips can process information.
Electrical engineers are basically people who solve problems and come up with new ideas. They are always looking for ways to do more with less. Because of this, they tend to be systematic thinkers who look at things in a logical way. But electrical engineering still has a lot of room for creativity and flair. Most of the time, the most successful and influential engineers are those who can combine a practical approach with new ways of thinking.
And they can do some really amazing things that change how we see ourselves and the world. Nikola Tesla, who is often called the best electrical engineer ever, thought engineering was much more than just a “science.” He thought of it as a humanist project that could help make the world more fair and sustainable. Tesla wrote in 1900, “All people everywhere should have free energy sources.” “Electricity is available everywhere in unlimited amounts, and it can run the machines of the world without coal, oil, or gas.”
Where electrical engineering is going
Even though COVID-19 has caused economic uncertainty around the world, the future looks good for electronic engineers. In fact, they will be very important in creating and testing the smart technologies and infrastructure that will power the global recovery. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that the number of jobs for electrical engineers will grow by almost 5% in the next year and by a lot more over the next ten years. “The fast pace of technological innovation and development is likely to increase the demand for electrical and electronics engineers in research and development,” says the BLS. This is because engineers will be needed to design distribution systems for new technologies. Electrical engineers are also at the forefront of some of the most exciting developments in science and technology, such as wireless neuro-links that could help stroke victims regain motor function.
An electrifying programme for aspiring engineers
The University of Pavia in northern Italy has been around since 1361 and is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe. Just 30 minutes from Milan, in the beautiful city of Pavia, it is tucked away in a maze of mediaeval streets. It is known for focusing on the excellence and well-being of its students, offering many dorms and campus residences and a wide range of scholarship options.
The University of Pavia knows what problems will come up in electrical engineering in the next few years. So, the MSc in Electrical Engineering at the school is based on the technology, energy, and communication needs of the 21st century. This innovative course teaches students how to manage energy resources in a smart way. It gives them the skills and knowledge they need to understand and then use sustainable energy and transportation solutions like solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power.
Industry leaders and visiting professors from all over the world teach seminars and tutorials. Prof. Angel Mediavilla Sanchez was one of the people who spoke. As part of a long-term project with the European Space Agency, he talked to engineering students at Pavia about his interesting work on radar antennas.
Students will learn how to find, understand, and solve complex problems in the field of electrical engineering through a mix of classroom learning and long-term lab work. They will also get hands-on experience with computer modelling software and electrical testing systems used in the design process and industrial automation.
After they graduate, students have the skills and experience to design electrical installations, set up systems for automated power grids, evaluate electromagnetic compatibility problems in industrial settings, and design energy systems for the industrial, civil, and service sectors.
This year, Stefania got her degree from the University of Pavia. She says, “The professors at the University of Pavia are very smart, put their students first, and are always there to help. During my time at Pavia, I was able to travel abroad and meet more people and learn more about other cultures. It really helped me get ready for a job after I graduated.”
So, do you want to be one of the smartest people ready to take on the next generation of difficult but interesting problems in energy, construction, technology, the environment, and other fields? Visit Portal Teknik Elektro Wira to get practical example and experience.