Is electrical engineering hard? (15 Things You Must Know)


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is electrical engineering hard

is electrical engineering hard

Electrical engineering is the field of designing, developing, and maintaining electrical systems. It deals with developing devices and technologies. The field of electrical engineering is all about dealing with electricity, circuits, electromagnetism, and electrons. These factors collectively justify the question, “Is Electrical Engineering Hard?” 

This field is crucial in today’s technology-driven world. It is empowering everything from your smartphone to the electrical grid that keeps your lights on.

Is Electrical Engineering Hard?

Electrical engineering can be challenging, but its difficulty varies from person to person. It involves complex mathematical concepts and principles of physics which require a strong foundation in math and science. One of the central challenges in electrical engineering is the design, construction, and testing of electrical circuits and systems, which can often be intricate, time-consuming, and demand a high level of precision.

Moreover, electrical engineering doesn’t solely depend on theoretical knowledge but also necessitates practical application. Electrical engineers often work with cutting-edge technology and tools, adding complexity to the field. 

However, despite these challenges, electrical engineering offers a vast array of opportunities for innovation and problem-solving. With the right education, determination, and commitment to continuous learning, engineers can not only overcome difficulties but also find immense satisfaction in contributing to advancements in technology and electrical systems.

1. Abstract Thinking

is electrical engineering hard

Electrical engineering requires a high level of abstract thinking. You’ll often need to conceptualize and work with complex theoretical concepts. 

This aspect of the field can be challenging, but it’s also what makes electrical engineering fascinating.

2. The Role of Mathematics

Mathematics plays a pivotal role in electrical engineering, serving as the backbone of the field. It’s like the language that electrical engineers use to communicate with the world of circuits, signals, and systems.

Whether it’s designing a circuit, analyzing data, or troubleshooting a malfunctioning device, math is the toolbox that engineers rely on. 

Calculus helps track dynamic changes in electrical behavior, vital for understanding alternating currents.

Differential equations act as detective tools, unveiling complex phenomena like signal propagation.

Linear algebra reveals component relationships within systems, simplifying circuit analysis.

3. Fundamentals of Circuits and Electricity

is electrical engineering hard

It’s all about understanding how electricity flows through circuits. It’s the language of electrons, and electrical engineers are the translators who make it all work. 

At its core, it’s about grasping concepts like voltage, current, and resistance. 

Voltage is the driving force that pushes electrons, while current is the flow of those electrons.

Resistance, on the other hand, is like a speed bump, slowing down the electron flow. It’s the language of electrons, and electrical engineers are the translators who make it all work.

Circuits are like intricate puzzles where components like resistors, capacitors, and transistors work together. Engineers need to figure out how to arrange these pieces to make the circuit function as needed.

4. Electrical Engineering: Among the Toughest Engineering Majors 

Electrical engineering shines as the toughest engineering major because it’s like a puzzle with electrifying twists. It’s a world of complex circuits, demanding math, and abstract challenges.

Its complexity also depends upon the major subject an electrical engineer has to study in this field. Those major subjects are:

  • Circuit Theory: Understanding how electricity flows through circuits and components.
  • Electromagnetism: Exploring the forces and fields generated by electric currents and magnets.
  • Digital Electronics: Studying the principles of digital logic and designing digital systems.
  • Analog Electronics: Working with continuous electrical signals and amplifiers.
  • Control Systems: Learning to control devices and syster various applications.
  • Power Systems: Designing and managing electrical power generation, trams using feedback mechanisms.
  • Signal Processing: Analyzing and manipulating signals fonsmission, and distribution.
  • Microelectronics: Focusing on the design and fabrication of microchips and integrated circuits.
  • Electrical Machines: Studying the principles behind motors, generators, and transformers.
  • Electrical Materials: Understanding the properties and applications of materials in electrical engineering.

5. Educational Degrees for electrical engineering

is electrical engineering hard

To be an electrical engineer, a student has to study these degrees:

1. Bachelor’s degree 

A four-year bachelor’s degree serves as the foundation, providing fundamental knowledge and skills. It’s like the starting point of your electrical journey. 

During these years, you grasp the core concepts, theories, and practical applications that form the basis of electrical engineering.

2. Master’s degree

For those seeking advanced expertise and broader career opportunities, a master’s degree in electrical engineering becomes invaluable. It’s like leveling up in the electrical world. 

A master’s program delves deeper into specialized areas, allowing you to focus on your interests, whether it’s 

  • Robotics
  • Telecommunications
  • Renewable energy

Moreover, a master’s degree often opens doors to leadership positions, research roles, and higher earning potential.

6. An Electrical Engineering Licensure

The engineering licensure process for electrical engineers, like other engineering disciplines, is designed to ensure that individuals practicing electrical engineering have the necessary education, training, and experience to protect the public’s safety and well-being. This process consists of two main acts:

  • Engineer-in-Training (EIT) 
  • Engineer Intern (EI) Status

After completing your bachelor’s degree, you can apply for Engineer-in-Training (EIT) or Engineer Intern (EI) status. 

This typically involves passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which tests your knowledge of engineering fundamentals

  • PE Exam

The Professional Engineer (PE) exam is the final step in the licensure process. This exam is halved into two acts:

1. Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Fundamentals exam 

2. Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Principles and Practice exam

The ECE Fundamentals exam assesses your knowledge of core electrical engineering principles, while the ECE Principles and Practice exam tests your ability to apply those principles to real-world engineering problems.

  • Licensure Application

After passing the PE exam and completing all other requirements, you can apply for your professional engineering license through the relevant licensing board in your jurisdiction.

This board will review your application, verify your education and experience, and, if you meet all requirements, grant you a professional engineering license.

Note: Remember that the specific licensure requirements and procedures can vary from one location to another, so it’s essential to check with the licensing board in your area for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

7. The Financial Equation for electrical engineering 

The average annual cost of pursuing an engineering degree can amount to tens of thousands of dollars annually in the United States.

In contrast, state and government-run educational establishments offer a significantly more cost-effective option, with expenses averaging around $12,000 per year.

The cost of Getting an Electrical Engineering Degree depends on these elements:

  • Cost components
  1. Textbooks and study materials
  2. Living expenses (housing, food, transportation)
  3. Miscellaneous fees (lab fees, technology, etc.)
  4. Test preparation (tuition fee) such as GRE and SAT 
  • Financial Aid
  1. Scholarships
  2. Grants
  3. Work-study opportunities
  4. Part-time employment during studies

8. Internships for Electrical Engineering

Internships are considered the most beneficial for practical experience in electrical engineering. These internships help you to grow professionally and to get your desired jobs in electrical engineering.

Here are some companies that offer internee roles to electrical engineers.

  • Engineer Intern 2021
  • Microsoft Engineer Intern
  • Phillip 66 Refining Midstream Engineer Internship
  • Reliability Engineer Intern 2021
  • IMC Hardware engineer internship
  • Google Hardware internship 

9. Tools Used in electrical engineering

is electrical engineering hard

Electrical engineers rely on a range of specialized tools to design, analyze, and troubleshoot electrical systems. Here are some key engineering tools commonly used in electrical engineering:

  • Multimeters
  • Oscilloscopes
  • Signal Generators
  • Power Supplies
  • Circuit Simulation Software
  • CAD Software
  • Soldering Equipment
  • Logic Analyzers
  • Power Analyzers 
  • Wire Strippers and Crimpers
  • Network Analyzers
  • Electromagnetic Field Meters
  • Voltage Detectors
  • Schematic Capture Software
  • Lab Instruments
  • Power Quality Analyzers
  • Digital Multimeters (DMMs)
  • Wireless Communication Tools
  • Energy Management Software

10. Job affairs for electrical engineering

Career expos and job fairs are vital for electrical engineering students and professionals to connect with potential employers and explore career opportunities. Such as,

  • Networking Opportunities: Career expos and job fairs offer unique networking chances; 80% of employers prefer them (NACE).
  • Recruitment Success: Over 43% of job fair attendees received job offers in a year (NACE).
  • Diverse Employers: These events draw various employers, from tech giants to smaller firms.
  • Internship Opportunities: Over 60% of job fair employers seek interns (NACE).

11. Time management in electrical engineering 

Effective time management is crucial for electrical engineering students to excel academically and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Such as,

  • Academic Workload: Electrical engineering is demanding; students spend 19.5 hours weekly on coursework (NSSE).
  • Study Hours: Engineering students invest around 17 hours weekly in-class prep (NSSE).
  • Academic Success: Effective time management relates to higher GPAs (ASEE).
  • Balancing Act: Time skills are crucial for juggling coursework, jobs, and activities.

12. Best universities for electrical engineering

For the toughest degree such as electrical engineering, the best institute and best mentorship matters a lot. Here are some top universities listed below:

  • Tsinghua University
  • Delft University of Technology
  • National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Cambridge
  • EPFL
  • University of Oxford
  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore)

Some other universities are ranked at the top for electrical engineering,

  • Harvard University
  • Olin College in Needham, MA
  • Princeton University
  • Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA
  • University of California in Berkeley
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Duke University in Durham, NC
  • Cornell University in Ithaca, NY
  • Stanford University

13. Scope and Career of Electrical Engineering

A survey by BLS states that a 5 percent growth in job opportunities will be seen for electrical engineering. It is considered the fastest-growing profession than others.

This means that, on average, there will be around 17,800 new job openings for electrical and electronics engineers every year. It’s an exciting time to be in this field, with plenty of chances to embark on a fulfilling career journey.

Jobs related to electrical engineering

Electrical engineering is a  versatile field with a wide range of opportunities across various industries. 

Here’s an overview of the scope and career prospects in electrical engineering:

1. Diverse Industry Opportunities

Electrical engineers find employment in industries such as

  • Power generation
  • Telecommunications
  • Electronics
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Healthcare

2. Power and Energy Sector

  • Designing and maintaining power systems, renewable energy projects, and grid infrastructure.
  • Working on energy-efficient technologies to reduce carbon footprints.

3. Electronics and Telecommunications

  • Developing consumer electronics, smartphones, and communication systems.
  • Advancement to the Internet of Things (IoT) and wireless technologies.

4. Control Systems and Automation

  • Creating automation systems for manufacturing, robotics, and industrial processes.
  • Maintaining safety and accuracy in automated industries.

5. Computer Hardware and Software

  • Designing computer components, microprocessors, and embedded systems.
  • Contributing to software development for hardware control and optimization.

Also read, Is Software Engineering Hard?

6. Biomedical Engineering

  • Innovating medical devices, imaging equipment, and healthcare technologies.
  • Enhancing patient care through diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

7. Research and Development

  • Pursuing advanced degrees for research in cutting-edge technologies.
  • Shaping the future of electrical engineering with discoveries.

8. Management and Consulting

  • Transitioning into leadership roles as project managers, consultants, or entrepreneurs.
  • Overseeing teams and projects, and offering expert advice.
is electrical engineering hard
Source: BLS


Companies for career opportunities in electrical engineering 

Here are some companies that offer high-potential jobs for electrical engineers.

  • Apple 
  • Google
  • Shell oil company 
  • BMW Group
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • IBM
  • General Electrics

14. Some other career options in engineering

If thinking about a career in electrical engineering feels too hard, don’t worry. Other jobs in engineering might be easier for you. Besides electrical engineering, there are three more types of engineering: chemical, civil, and mechanical.

Chemical engineers work with stuff like chemicals, food, and medicine.

Read more, Is Chemical Engineering Hard?

Civil engineers design things like buildings and bridges.

Mechanical engineers deal with machines and tools, like engines, and they can do many different things.

If you like electricity but don’t want to do engineering, you could be an electrician.

Electricians install and take care of electrical stuff that engineers make. They work on wiring and parts that are important in our daily lives.

15. Electrical engineering in relation with Computer Science 

While a degree in electrical engineering may meet job requirements, possessing additional skills can significantly enhance your profile as an electrical engineer and improve your chances during the hiring process.

One valuable skill is a grasp of computer science, which offers opportunities for specialization within electrical engineering. The integration of computer science and electrical engineering forms the field of computer engineering. You can explore computer science in both high school and college, where computer engineers focus on designing and testing computer components.

Furthermore, essential attributes such as problem-solving abilities, effective communication, and a strong work ethic will greatly facilitate your journey as an electrical engineer. These qualities are instrumental in your professional success.

Read more: Is petroleum engineering hard?


The question “Is electrical engineering hard?” depends on elements like mathematical logic and a skill for abstract thinking. It requires a thorough comprehension of these essential components and mastery of the complex world of electrons and circuits. Electrical engineering might be difficult, but it can also lead to great personal and professional fulfillment.

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