You may have heard how hard it is to study electrical engineering and I’m not going to lie…
Yes, electrical engineering is a hard major to study. But it’s also a very important one for the world as a whole. If it weren’t for electrical engineers, you wouldn’t be able to read this post on your phone or computer. You also wouldn’t be able to drive in a car. You’d be walking everywhere
In this article, I’ll cover why electrical engineering is hard and yet, so popular.
I also asked a few Stanford electrical engineering friends to tell me more about what it’s like to study electrical engineering from their insider point-of-view. They talked about how hard it was and what they do now for a living.
Let’s start by talking about what electrical engineering is, so you can better understand how hard it is to choose this major.
- Related article: What Are the Hardest College Majors
What is Electrical Engineering?
Electrical engineering, or EE, is the study of how to create, operate, and maintain systems that convert energy into useful forms like electricity, light, or mechanical motion.
From your light switch to your cell phone, everything is designed by electrical engineers. They produce items that facilitate communication, interaction, and cooperative behavior. They also create products that enable information access, such as cellphones and tablets.
They investigate how electricity impacts electronics and how those effects alter as new components, cables, and batteries are used. They build a variety of different types of electrical devices using this knowledge.
Depending on the industry you work in, electrical engineering jobs can be very different. While some electrical engineers design circuits, others create them.
Others design products including cell phones, TVs, appliances, medical equipment, automobiles, airplanes, and other machinery. Some electrical engineers work in research and development.
Focus areas for electrical engineers include electronics, power production, transmission, and distribution, motors, sensors, controls, communications, semiconductors, software, and/or microcontrollers.
Is Electrical Engineering Hard?
Yes, electrical engineering is harder than a lot of other fields of study, including other engineering majors. To be successful in EE, you will have to put in a lot of time and effort to graduate. But if you do graduate, you’ll be able to design, calculate, and analyze so well that you’ll be able to solve many of today’s problems.
Because they like technology, a lot of people want to work in electrical engineering. There is so much room for growth and progress in the field. And there are lots of jobs available now too. The number of available opportunities won’t be decreasing for EE majors.
Electrical engineering is a very hard major because it has a lot of different parts and a very high level of academic difficulty. There is a great deal of abstraction and use of advanced math.
One study found that between 40 and 50 percent of first-year engineering students drop out. Because the material is hard, a lot of students don’t finish their degrees. Depending on the field of study, the rate can go as high as 80%.
My friends claim that because you start from zero and learn everything, the first year of engineering is a bit of a whirlwind. Why do so many children leave school? The rest is simpler, though, assuming you make it through the first year and lay a solid foundation. The most crucial factor is to love what you do since it will make it simpler.
After you overcome the initial difficulties, you’ll be able to handle practically any issue that arises. The classes will become harder as a result, which is good.
One of the most challenging aspects of studying EE, according to my buddy Matt Stevens, who is majoring in engineering, is abstract thinking. When working with electric fields, magnetic fields, or wireless transmissions, you are blind.
Although not nearly as much as electrical engineering, the three other engineering disciplines of mechanical, civil, and chemical involve some abstract thought as well. You will have the opportunity to touch objects and observe outcomes as you design and test projects in other majors.
Electrical Engineering Major Has Challenging Courses
EE students will take a number of math, engineering, and scientific concepts throughout the first two years of an undergraduate engineering degree that are crucial for establish and understand the fundamentals of the discipline. This covers subjects like physics, discrete math, differential equations, linear algebra, and more.
Students also take classes in the core curriculum that introduce them to the fundamentals of electrical engineering.
You’ll study challenging concepts and subjects like electromagnetism, circuit analysis, digital logic, analog circuits, control systems, signal processing, semiconductor physics, PCB design, embedded system design, and others in your classes.
Making devices and designing circuits are both part of the broad topic of engineering electronics. In addition to the fundamentals, students must comprehend analog and digital circuits, as well as the theory underlying each.
Students in EE will learn the fundamentals of electromagnetics, optics, and thermodynamics. Additionally, they will learn how to communicate, process signals, and operate circuits. You need to be well knowledgeable in math and science to succeed in electrical engineering.
Additionally, there are a variety of electives available that allow students to learn more about topics that interest them. Some electrical engineers concentrate on areas such as robotics, healthcare technology, or making sure energy is used as effectively as possible. Others work in industries like instrumentation, telecommunications, or industrial electronics.
You need strong math and scientific skills to major in electrical engineering. You should understand what is required to get started if you want to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. Consider each program’s desired learning outcomes while choosing one.
Electrical engineering students frequently form teams in the lab to tackle challenging issues. Students will also practice speaking effectively to one another during this period. Engineers must be able to write code clearly and succinctly and to communicate outcomes to clients or managers.
Students that procrastinate will not be able to maintain their grades and may even fail. Those who put in the effort, however, will succeed.
Because they aid in eliminating the lesser students, people frequently refer to the first math, science, and engineering courses as “weed out courses.” Additionally, if you don’t know what to expect, these courses might be very challenging. Limits, derivatives, integrals, vectors, matrices, and other concepts must be understood by students.
For problem-solving in electrical engineering, you’ll need to be creative in your approach. The concepts that underlie the solutions must be carefully considered as well.
Math, science, and technology are all used by electrical engineers to tackle complex issues. Your capacity for problem-solving and critical thinking will significantly increase as an EE student. It is necessary for them to consider issues from several angles.
A circuit that manages the power flowing through a light bulb, for instance, might be required. To accomplish this, you must first determine whether the voltage is sufficient to power the lightbulb, then determine the resistance of the wire connecting the lightbulb to the wall socket. You must also observe the current flowing through the lightbulb.
The engineering discipline that is regarded to require the most math is electrical engineering. Electrical engineers, like engineers in other disciplines, must be familiar with a wide variety of arithmetic. But similar to mechanical engineers, electrical engineers also need to be very knowledgeable in areas like physics.
Circuits and systems created by electrical engineers operate at extremely high voltages and currents. In these circuits and systems, numerous components frequently cooperate.
Electrical engineers must carefully consider how each component interacts with the others to ensure the system is secure, dependable, and effective. Electrical engineers need also be familiar with the laws of electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and optics.
Is Electrical Engineering Stressful?
The study of electrical engineering is demanding, challenging, and stressful. Students frequently struggle with the amount of material they need to master, the pressure of deadlines, difficult and complex projects, and the need to maintain a high GPA.
But there are several of strategies for reducing the pressure of studying for a degree in electrical engineering. Joining an IEEE student group is one option. Through these chapters, students can connect with others going through similar experiences, exchange ideas, and receive guidance and assistance from other members.
Another method to lessen stress is to form a study group with classmates. This might definitely keep you motivated and interested in your study. There may also be organizations that provide free tutoring, study breaks, and other services that might lessen the stress associated with studying for tests.
Joining clubs and groups that are relevant to your interests can also be beneficial. Not even about EE must they be. It might be highly beneficial to divert your attention from your studies and focus on something more enjoyable or fascinating.
Your life doesn’t end after college. You will need to continue working hard if you want to succeed in this industry. You have a lot of work ahead of you, but there are also many benefits. If you put forth the necessary effort, you will eventually succeed.
Is it Harder to Study Electrical Engineering in the US than in Other Countries?
Many diverse areas have challenging educational environments, but generally speaking, US universities are more challenging than universities abroad. Earning an electrical engineering degree could be simpler in some regions than others.
The curriculum will be more comprehensive when you reach the upper levels of electrical engineering studies in the US, but this will also depend on the institution you attend.
Basic concepts are taught in 100- and 200-level courses at some institutions, whereas practical applications of such concepts are stressed at other institutions. But every electrical engineer should be familiar with fundamental concepts like Kirchhoff’s current law and Ohm’s law. These laws help us understand how circuits function under various conditions.
The difficulty of the courses you take at the 300, 400, and 500 level will vary. Well-known university professors will be more knowledgeable about these subjects and better able to teach them in-depth. You will therefore receive superior schooling as a result. That explains why there is so much competition at the top universities.
That doesn’t imply that you won’t discover excellent teachers at other universities or that you won’t receive a top-notch education elsewhere. It simply indicates that you’ll need to research them more to locate the finest options for you.
Is An Electrical Engineer Career Worth It?
There is always space for development, making electrical engineering a fantastic career choice. Electrical engineers are in great demand, and employment opportunities are expanding swiftly. You should anticipate a competitive salary given your qualifications and expertise.
According to the BLS, an electrical engineer has an average salary of $107,890. That excludes the numerous wonderful advantages you might receive from your employer, such as stock options, bonuses, tuition reimbursement, 401(k) matching, health insurance, and flexible work schedules.
The field of electrical engineering expands on average by 7% year. The demand for electrical engineers will only increase as technology advances.
Electrical Engineering is Hard Final Thoughts
Overall, electrical engineering is a challenging degree. However, if you’re ready to put in the time and work, you can succeed and have a terrific career.
Just make sure you stay organized, maintain a positive outlook, and never lose sight of what you want to accomplish.
Do you wish to understand how to create something from nothing? Would you like to learn how to create circuits, develop new technologies, and create new goods?
Electrical engineering may be the ideal profession for you if you answered “yes” to any of these. You can become a great engineer with the correct training; it’s not as difficult as you would imagine.
Check out one of these other articles if you want to learn more about other majors and what they are like: