Engineers are applied scientists. This means that electrical engineers are focused on applying the principles of electrics in order to solve industrial and commercial problems. They are involved in the development, design, testing, and research of electrical systems. They may also be heavily consulted during the manufacture or installation of these systems.
The equipment generally includes motors, machinery, wiring, lighting, navigation systems, and communications. The electrical systems that power aircraft and cars are often designed by them.
The career is often conflated with electronic engineers. In many cases, an electrical engineer will have the expertise to work on electronic projects, but they are generally focused more on the creation and transmission of power than on the application of electricity.
On this career, the person will typically spend some time in an office environment, and some time in an industrial environment. More research and design oriented engineers will spend more time in an office environment, while engineers involved in testing and implementation will need more hands-on work with the product.
As with most jobs in engineering, electrical engineering jobs almost always require a bachelor’s degree. A graduate won’t necessarily need to have a degree in electrical engineering. A degree in physics or mathematics, or an engineering degree in a different field, may suffice for the job as long as the applicant has the experience and education necessary to perform their job. The student who would like to take managerial positions or work in more advanced research and development will typically need to obtain a graduate degree.
Most universities will offer this type of engineering, although the level and type of education learned from the program can vary quite a bit depending on the school. Some universities are more theoretical, while others are more industrial. It is important for a student to choose a program that reflects the type of work that they would prefer to do.