What do EEE grads really do?
Yes, the traditional fascination with engineers in our society still remains for a good reason. See, what EEE students get after they graduate is a huge field with a variety of possibilities. From the typical electrical engineer or electronic engineer to less common research fields, the options available are endless. And if you have a passion for learning the nitty-gritty details regarding electricity, electromagnetism and electronics, you will quite easily be able to have a good career in this sector.
What you need to be good at
Like every other field, the most important thing is to have a solid foundation in courses related to engineering and a basic knowledge regarding other aspects of engineering such programming and material engineering. This is because as an EEE graduate, you will often have to work with engineers from other fields as well. Thus, while at university, make sure you know how to present your ideas clearly to others who may not be as technically adept as you are. Managers, directors, clients—you'll have a lot of explaining to do throughout your career! Finally, learn the practical implications of your coursework to have a head-start in your career.
So your typical electrical engineer will design, develop and maintain electrical control systems and appliances. Not only will they focus on quality, but also make sure that the products and the systems are sustainable. From electrical power systems to signal processing to communication systems, electrical engineers may be working in offices, labs, or even industries.
In fact, electrical engineers have to be quite the multitaskers—constantly creating detailed models, implementing them, testing them and even maintaining them to make sure everything is running smoothly. So, if you have a knack for technical details, and do not mind the workload, electrical engineering is perfect for you.
While the basic job of an electronics engineer is rather similar to that of electrical engineers, the electronic engineers take things up a notch by giving their circuits decision-making ability, specifically using DC circuits. Major fields such as defence, industries making medical instruments, nanotechnology, and robotics are just some of the options for the electronics engineer.
You may be involved at any stage of a project—the initial design to the final implementation. Since you are usually required to work in teams with engineers from other departments, it is very important for you to be able to get your point across. The tasks you're responsible for will usually depend on your skills and the companies hiring you. For example, while incorporated engineers look after the daily operations in a project, more senior chartered engineers will have strategic roles, developing solutions and meeting deadlines.
If your thirst for knowledge continues, there are plenty of options for further studies right after you finish your undergraduate programme. You could either do an MSc or a PhD in specialist fields like nanotechnology, wireless and optical communications or telecommunications. Public and private universities in the country both offer Master's degree in EEE, with BUET leading due to its research work. If you plan on going abroad, there is plenty of scope for scholarships as well, especially in Japan, Europe and USA. While Japan is perfect for those specialising in robotics, Europe provides a vast market for its graduates, thus making it easier for them to get jobs. But, it is actually California, which has the best universities in this department, such as UC Berkley, California Polytechnic State University, and UC Los Angeles.
You could also continue further with a PhD, or you could opt for an EngD, which basically combines doctoral-level research with practical skills, and is perfect for those who wish to progress to leading roles in industry.
While the growth of this field is relatively slower than other engineering fields, engineers who are constantly learning the new industry trends will have an edge in the long run. Even the type of work required has changed over the years. Shifting away from traditional industrial manufacturing processes, electrical engineering now focuses more on computer systems and designs such as GPS technologies. Finally, with major technology firms competing to get the best employees, EEE graduates really have the world as their oyster and can score a good job with a lucrative salary anywhere!
Illustration: Ehsanur Raza Ronny