Why become an electrical engineer? 10 convincing reasons exist if electricity and magnetism weren’t enough.
I majored in electrical engineering and it was an easy choice to make. For one, I found electricity to be so cool as a kid growing up. Plus, I enjoyed taking electronic devices apart, to learn how they worked.
But, I know electrical engineering doesn’t click for everyone the same way as it did for me. So, I’m going to go over 10 reasons why electrical engineering may be right for you.
#1 Job demand
Among all the types of engineering, electrical may be one of the broadest fields. You’ll have many career options, whether after graduation or mid-career. Plus, the electrical field isn’t going anywhere.
Today, every industry heavily relies on power and electronics. Just look around your home. Count the number of devices powered by batteries or the wall socket.
Even the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 3% job growth from 2019 to 2029 for electrical engineers. In the power industry, I firsthand see an aging workforce. The demand for skilled power engineers is sky-high.
What’s more, I don’t have a single unemployed electrical engineer friend today. Then rewinding back to college, all my electrical engineer friends had jobs lined up before graduation.
This is one of the first things people think about when it comes to jobs. Naturally, you want to know how much money you can make. Especially these days, with the cost of living soaring.
To point out, if you’re a go-getter and put in the work, there’s no pay ceiling. Despite what anyone says. You can start a business doing any one of the following in the electrical field:
- Designing and selling new equipment and components
- Launching an online service and/or product
But if starting a business isn’t for you, you can still make great money. In fact, there are many ways to make over $500k as an engineer. It’s best to first learn the attributes of the highest paying engineering jobs though. You’ll then learn how to position yourself in the job market.
The below schematic shows typical annual salaries for electrical engineers across the U.S.
It’s clear you can earn a nice paycheck in all corners of the country. This flexibility allows you to choose where you want to work, including low-cost-of-living areas.
And if you’re afraid of a pay ceiling, then improve yourself. Like with every profession, you can’t become comfortable.
#3 Broad field with many specialties
No matter your interest, you can probably find an electrical field you like. Because there are just so many awesome specialties to choose from. The following is a list of some of the fields you can dive into:
- Energy systems
- Signal processing/communications
- Systems and controls
What’s more, each of these fields then has sub-fields of their own. For example, in the telecommunication field, you have the following subfields:
- Digital television
- Fiber optics
- Information theory
- Mobile phones
- Wireless networks
The point is, the electrical field is wide and deep. You have endless choices, as every industry heavily relies on electricity. Even more, the following are a few differing yet awesome future products you can work on:
- Autonomous vehicles
- Robots and machines for the food and agricultural industry
- Kitchen appliance electronics
- Aerospace electronics
- Healthcare tools and machines
- High voltage power equipment
In the end, if you don’t like a certain job, you can easily pivot. I recommend going on Indeed.com or EngineerJobs.com and searching “electrical engineering.” This will give you an idea of the scope of the jobs at your fingertips.
#4 Global job demand
To repeat again, every part of life today heavily relies on the electrical field. Just imagine for a second, worldwide, we lose all electricity. The entire world would instantly warp back hundreds of years.
Even more, as developing nations modernize, their dependency on electricity only grows. The following are examples of increased global demand for electrical infrastructure:
- Expanding power grids to meet the demand of growing cities
- Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources to control global warming
- Improving and expanding communication systems for growing populations
- Servicing growing populations with computers and other electronics
So if you or your company align yourself with this increase in demand, you’ll be golden. Especially, since your customer pool will grow both domestically and globally.
#5 Constant innovations
Innovations go in hand with the electrical field. Every day, electrical products become faster, smaller, smarter, and more powerful. This means you can work on cutting-edge designs, leaving you less likely to get bored. Plus, doing meaningful and cutting-edge work, will only further inspire you.
To point out, your job type will dictate how much cutting-edge work you do. For example, compare working at Tesla to working as a city engineer. As a city engineer, you’ll do very little design work, and you’ll work at a sluggish pace.
But at Tesla, you’ll work on the bleeding edge of technology. While working with the brightest minds, literally drive humanity forward. So in the right industry and role, you’ll get your hands dirty on some uber-awesome work.
#6 Barrier to entry
Earning an electrical engineering degree is far from easy. Because there are some difficult electrical concepts you need to grasp. Plus, there’s a ton of math involved. For this reason, not everyone can get through the crazy curriculum in school.
I remember in college, many of my classmates switched majors after their first year. The weed-out classes you hear about are real. Then one step further, working as an efficient engineer is an entirely new challenge. The work can be unforgiving and highly demanding. To make matters worse, you’ll compete against an oversupply of workers and machines.
But, if you put in the work, you’ll create job security for yourself. You’ll also become difficult to replace. Because great electrical engineers are rare. And this is key, given electrical engineering has a bright future.
#7 Entrepreneurial grooming
The journey to becoming an electrical engineer crosses over perfectly to entrepreneurship. The following are some examples of how:
- Relentless studying teaches you how to grind through business challenges
- Endless researching, helps you find solutions to hairy business questions
- Understanding difficult technical concepts will help you quickly learn business concepts
- Analytical training, helps you rationally approach business problems
What’s more, your technical knowledge will prepare you for any tech-driven business. By deeply understanding technical subjects, you gain a leg up over your competition. Especially, over those who only have a business background padded with an MBA.
So you can work closely with engineering teams in the trenches, to solve problems. In return, you gain greater creative control of projects, which is powerful.
#8 Understanding the world around you
Electrical engineers have a great understanding of the “how” and “why” of so many cool things. Just think about the following magical technologies:
- Communication over phones
- Transmission of power
- Computer processing
- Power generation
Even more, you’ll know the true impact of a powerful coronal mass ejection from the Sun. Very nerdy, but true. Personally, I’m fascinated with the role of electricity and magnetism in the universe. It allows me to better appreciate life.
Now, I’m not saying you need a degree to learn any of the above. In fact, I’m not even a fan of formal engineering education as currently set up. But, formal education may be the catalyst to kickstarting your outside learning. It may ignite your curiosity and open your eyes to a whole new world.
#9 Career satisfaction
More than likely, you’ll work on life-altering impactful designs. I find this to be incredibly awesome. Imagine doing work on the following:
- Hydroelectric facilities: supplying water to millions of people
- Transmission lines: transmitting power to countless households
- Smartphones: enabling people around the globe to instantly connect together
- Video games: creating immersive and fun experiences for kids and adults
And let me tell you, a job where you can see the immediate impact of your work is priceless. Even when you don’t receive recognition. Heck, a broadcasted NBA game wouldn’t be possible without electrical engineers. So the impact of electrical engineers stretches a long way.
#10 Job location flexibility
With electrical engineering, you can find a job in almost every corner of the globe. This is a huge luxury few other engineers have.
For example, aerospace engineers won’t have an overabundance of jobs in every U.S. state. Then, there are petroleum engineers, who constantly travel to harsh environments. This means traveling to freezing locations or in the middle of unforgiving oceans.
I find a lack of job location flexibility is a deal breaker for many folks. Compare working inside of an air-cooled office, versus working outside in below-freezing conditions. It’s a no-brainer for many engineers.
To drive home the point, the below map shows the employment opportunities in the U.S.
“Why to become an electrical engineer?” wrap up
If these 10 reasons weren’t enough to convince you, then consider black holes. Yes, I’m talking about the deep gravity sinks created by the densest points in spacetime.
A lot of black hole activity may be sourced from electromagnetism. And I find this to be insanely cool. So in some odd way, you can be a part of this enigmatic phenomenon.
In the end, if you have even a tiny sliver of interest in electrical engineering, you’ll come out as a winner. You’ll get to work on very cool projects, and meet amazing and brilliant people. And the cherry on top is, you’ll make great money.
What are your thoughts on becoming an electrical engineer? What interests you the most about the electrical field?
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Koosha started Engineer Calcs in 2020 to help people better understand the engineering and construction industry, and to discuss various science and engineering-related topics to make people think. He has been working in the engineering and tech industry in California for over 15 years now and is a licensed professional electrical engineer, and also has various entrepreneurial pursuits.
Koosha has an extensive background in the design and specification of electrical systems with areas of expertise including power generation, transmission, distribution, instrumentation and controls, and water distribution and pumping as well as alternative energy (wind, solar, geothermal, and storage).
Koosha is most interested in engineering innovations, the cosmos, our history and future, sports, and fitness.