Electrical Engineering (All You Need to Know)

What is electrical engineering?

Electrical engineering is that branch of engineering faculty that cares all about electrical machines, theories, formulas, and almost everything about electrical science.

Electrical engineers should be able to design electrical circuits, and protection for electrical devices, lighting, and power systems.

Also should be able to perform electrical maintenance and inspection for all electrical systems.

Is electrical engineering important?

Electrical energy is used for everything around us, almost every technological device is based on electricity.

Starting from large industries to small baby electrical toys, including but not limited to TVs, video games, cell phones, laptops, and security cameras and the list is so long.

Each of these devices is considered an individual branch of electrical engineering and has its own science.

Not only the above-mentioned devices are based on electrical energy to work but also making and manufacturing their needs and based mainly on electrical engineering and energy.

How to be an electrical engineer?

Like all engineering branches,  to become an electrical engineer you need to obtain an electrical engineering bachelor’s degree.

It’s clear that the answer to the question “How many years do you need to be an electrical engineer?”

Based on the country you are in. This may need 4 to 5 years to master this bachelor’s degree as a full-time student.

However, you shouldn’t stop learning, if you do you get left behind as the electrical engineering field improves rapidly.

Electrical Engineering Sub-fields

The electrical study has many sub-disciplines, below are the most common of them:

Power electrical engineering

11KV transformer bushings
Power Transformer

Power electrical engineers deal with electricity generation, transmission, and distribution as well as many other design, protection, and operating electric motors, and transformers of different types.

That includes and is not limited to steam turbines, wind energy turbines, solar energy, and much more.

Control electrical engineers

Control engineers design, operate, and maintain control circuits that control machines, motors, generators, and almost every electrical energy working device.

Making control circuits needs controllers, and electrical and electronic elements such as contactors, relays, resistors, and photoresistors.

Electronics engineering

electrical resistance in a circuit
electronic circuit

Electronics engineering mainly concerns electronics-based devices which are necessary for a wide range of applications.

These applications are unlimited as electronics are used in airspace devices, video games, mobile phones medical instruments, and a lot more.

Telecommunications engineering

Concerns with data transmission

Instrumentation engineers

Deal with measuring physical quantities devices. They should be able to design operate and maintain these devices.

What does an electrical engineer do?

Electrical engineers design, develop, inspect, and maintain electrical systems and products.

The responsibility of electrical engineers may be different from one workplace to another. In general, the following responsibilities are related to electrical engineers:

  • Electrical systems designing.
  • Preparing and managing maintenance programs.
  • Manufacturing electrical equipment, like motors, transformers, and overhead power lines accessories.
  • Designing and installing overhead power lines.

The work responsibilities depend on the workplace for example:

  • An electrical engineer who is working in the oil and gas industry has responsibilities for the maintenance of EX electrical motors, synchronous generators, low and medium-voltage switchgear, ex-lighting fixture, and much more.
  • While an electrical engineer working in a PVC pipes factory he should get a good experience and knowledge about machines’ protection and control with PLC and control circuits which are based on contactors, relays, and sensors.
  • A consulting office engineer should have better experience in electrical calculations, designs, and drawings with Autocad electrical and electrical standards

Some skills needed for electrical engineer

As an electrical engineer, you should be familiar with some skills as follows :

  • Computer skills, such as Microsoft Office and internet search skills
  • Programming basics, At least you should be familiar with one or more programming language
  • PLC programming and control
  • Autocad electrical
  • Dialux program for lighting designing
  • Loads and electrical engineering calculations

Equipment electrical engineers work with

Based on the field of work electrical engineers work with all types of motors, generators, control panels, PLC controllers, sensors, lighting systems, and much other electrical equipment.

Is electrical engineering dangerous?

Yes, electrical engineering work can be very risky if you don’t control the hazards. Of course, it will be much more dangerous if you don’t aware of the risk of the electrical work you are doing.

I’m an electrical engineer for more than 13 years now. I never mess with electricity. I always double-check isolation and safety-related issues before working.

I have this safety culture because when I was a fresh graduate, I was about to get shocked in my head, And I have faced some other unsafe situations.

If I have a partner in a job, then I repeat my words twice when it comes to safety issues. For example, if I’m about to connect a circuit breaker and my partner is working in a location where I can’t see or hear him.

In this case, I don’t rely on sign language to tell him to stay away from the power circuit which I’m about to energize.

I contact him by cell phone and tell him twice. I may say the same sentence twice but use different words. I may say “Hay, I’m about to energize the power circuit of load 1″ he may say “OK, go ahead”

Then, I don’t energize the circuit directly, instead, I repeat “Are you away from the circuit of load 1, did you finish your task, Is there any one of the teams near the load?” If he confirms the safe situation, I tell him once again “OK, I will connect load 1 right now, get ready” It seems crazy, I know, but I have to do every single task.

With this confirmation more than one time I make sure my team is away from the danger of electricity. And I control the hazard.

So the answer to the main question of “Is electrical engineering dangerous?” is yes, but you can always set your controls to avoid this risk.

What industries do electrical engineers work in?

As mentioned before that electricity is almost in all fields and industries such as and is not limited to:

  • All factories need electrical engineers
  • Oil and gas companies and locations
  • Renewable energy fields
  • Real way companies
  • Consulting offices
  • Construction and contractors
  • Power generation, transmission, and distribution
  • Residential electricity design

And much more fields that couldn’t be counted easily.

How hard is electrical engineering?

Yes, electrical engineering is hard to master, it’s a challenging major. You should have a strong foundation in mathematics and science. But you can do it, just like me!

I am an electrical engineer. I did my bachelor’s. I thought it would be tough. Before I join the electrical engineering program, I was thinking “this section is the last one for me to join. No way to do that”

You know what, I joined the electrical engineering program with some fear inside me. I thought I wouldn’t pass it easily. Day in and day out, I did it. Not only I graduated with high grades but also I had fun. I fell in love with electrical engineering stuff.

I discovered many things I can do with my knowledge. I can remember that day when I made my very first control circuit of my dad’s water pump. I was so excited.

Now, I created electrical engineering android app. They are 100% free on Google Play to help all electrical engineers and electricians around the world. You can find them here on Google Play.

I didn’t stop. I started this site too. And I have a YouTube electrical channel. I will be so happy if you join me on it.

Is becoming an electrical engineer worth it? 

Yes, it is worth the effort and the hard study to be an electrical engineer. This engineering field is exciting and lets you know how things work.

Regarding electrical engineer salaries in the USA, according to the indeed site, the average yearly salary is about 92,3000 USD.

However, the salary can vary depending on the years of experience, the city, and the company you work for.

On the other hand, electrical engineering work opportunities are in almost all industries. However, if money is the only motivation for you to join the electrical engineering program, I recommend you find another higher-paying field.

Is Electrical Engineering a Dying Field?

Electrical engineering is one of the broadest engineering fields. Look around you, do you find a field without electrical engineering? I doubt that so much! I mentioned above some fields where electrical engineers have good opportunities.

Besides, the field is being developed every day. For example, renewable energy and electric cars are the future, And they are spreading rapidly around the world.

It’s all about you, and how you develop your knowledge and sharpen your experience according to rapid development.

If you are a fresh graduate, so my advice is to accept a job that will sharpen your experience faster.

Will I Need a lot of Math in Electrical Engineering?

Yes, there is a lot of Math in Electrical Engineering. But this is just in the class and the study years. In practical life, I never do math by hand. I always use electric android apps that help me do whatever I need.

For example, I created an electrical calculator android app. I call it the “FAST ELECTRICAL CALCULATOR” I designed it to help in the most important electrical calculations you need as an electrical engineer.

The app is 100% free on the Google Play store, Install it from here.

How hard is electrical engineering math?

To be honest with you, it is from simple equations to complex ones. If you are about to join an electrical engineering program, you should prepare yourself for a lot of simple and complex math equations.

If you are still in high school, take all math courses seriously if you want to join the electrical engineering program.

Is electrical engineering a stressful job?

Yes, some electrical faults are hidden enough that we can’t even understand what is going on. But this is not the only rule of being an electrical engineer.

The point is, with more and more experience you can troubleshoot faults faster. And the more faults and issues you face and solve the more comfortable you feel with the feature faults.

One of the rules of electrical engineering is, electrical faults are easy to be fixed but hard to be discovered. Imagine a large machine with many electrical control wires and cables. If one main wire gets damaged, the machine may stop.

Fixing the wire is just to repair a small portion of the wire and you are done. But it may take hours to detect the damaged cable and its location.

Another example, In my work we have a very long overhead power line. Sometimes we get reports that the power is off in some locations.

We may spend up to 4 hours searching the OHTL network to find a blown fuse, cut wire, or a broken insulator. After 4 hours of searching, we just need 15 minutes to replace the blown fuse and we are done. You can imagine the stress we face in these 4 hours.

Difference Between Electrical and Electronics Engineering

difference between electrical and electronics
difference between electrical and electronics
  • Electrical engineering is mainly concerned with electrical power generation, transmission through overhead power lines, and distribution. Also, electrical machines like generators, motors, and transformers are related to electrical engineering.
  • While electronic engineering is concerned with electronic circuits and their software. Electronic engineers work in fields like robotics, automation, control systems, medical devices, and computer hardware.

The names of electronics and electrical engineering are always connected. And people consider it as one branch of engineering. But if we thoroughly study it. Both branches belong to different areas and they are far different from each other.

Although both of the branches are related to electricity, still there is a difference between both fields.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the study & applications of electricity, charge carriers i.e. electronics, and electromagnetism. Mostly deals with machines that convert electrical power to another form of power like mechanical power.

Electronics Engineering

Electronic Engineering is the field of engineering that deals with non-linear and active electrical and electronic devices such as semiconductor devices, electron tubes, diodes, transistors, etc.

electronic circuits
electronic circuits

Electrical vs Electronics Engineering

  • Electrical engineering is the study and application of the flow of negatively charges particles i.e. electrons. It consists of the study of Power generation, distribution, transmission, electrical motors, and motors topics like power factor, maintenance, and electrical inspection.
  • Electronics Engineering is the study of the flow of electrons and holes. As electronics is the study of semiconducting materials, therefore its includes both electrons and holes. It is the connection of semiconductor devices to integrated circuits.
  • The Second difference between both is the operating voltage. Electrical engineering deals with devices and components that use alternating current (AC) / Voltages. The value of voltage ranges from 11o V to 230V single phase. While industries and power stations the value of voltage range from 11kV to 400 KV for transmission and distribution.
  • Electronics engineering deals with electronic components that are operated on very low voltages. The value of voltage ranges from 3 volts to 12 volts. Moreover, the Electronic components use direct current (DC) sources for operation.
  • The third difference is the decision-making process of an electrical system. Electrical engineering device deals only for just power up the electrical system. It simply takes electric current and transforms it into another form of energy such as heat, light or motion, etc.  While electronics engineering consists of the devices and circuits that deal with the decision-making process.
  • Besides converting the electrical current into another part it also manipulates the signal. The input instructions decide on a specific operation of a circuit.
  • The next difference is the size and shape of the devices. Electrical engineering devices are large in shape, and they occupy more space. While the devices used in Electronics engineering have a small size and occupy less space.

What fields of work are for electrical engineers?

Electrical engineers working in power generation plants, large industrial organizations, electrical designing, consulting offices, and so on.

In general, electrical engineers work in the fields that need the design, manufacturing, operation, or maintenance of electrical equipment such as:

  • Single-phase induction motors.
  • Three-phase induction motors. Low or medium voltage motors.
  • DC motors.
  • Electric transformers. Dry-type transformers or oil-immersed transformers.
  • Switch gears (low and medium voltage).
  • High mast lighting. And all other lighting systems.
  • Control panels have contactors, relays, circuit breakers, and other control and protection devices (like short circuit and overcurrent protection devices).
  • Power factor correction design for large inductive loads.

All the above-mentioned machines and electrical devices need electrical engineers to make design, development, inspection, operation, and maintenance for them.

See also: What does an electrical engineer do?

What kind of jobs do electronic engineers do?

Electronics engineers mostly work in electronic circuits factories and maintenance companies. Here under examples of electronics engineers working fields.

  • Smartphones, TVs, and computer factories.
  • Cameras and alarm systems factories.
  • Printed boards manufacturing, troubleshooting, and maintenance companies.
  • Home automation devices.
  • Drawn and robotics.

What is Electrical Power Engineering?

Power Engineering is the branch of electrical engineering that deals with the generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization of electrical power and energy.

This also includes the devices such as transformers, generators, and electric motors, and all other devices connected to the system.

Importance of power engineering

The daily life operation of the modern world is impossible without electrical power. The job of Power engineers is to operate a variety of power devices.

Electrical power engineers are in charge of very critical and important systems which should be reliable and contentious (power system).

Similarly, the process of power conversion from one type to another type comes in the job description of electrical power engineers.

As we discussed above that power engineering consists of three main components. The components include

  • Generation.
  • Transmission.
  • Distribution.

This branch of power engineering is related to the generation or production of electrical power. The production or generation of electrical power is carried out in power plants.

Power engineer in power plants

Power plants are a complete combination between electrical, mechanical, and instrumentation engineering. Electrical engineers have major rules and responsibilities including and not limited to the following.

  1. Design power plants and their control and protection system, Such as overcurrent, over & under voltage, over and under frequency protection, and all other protection circuits and systems that are necessary to keep the power plant working in a good condition.
  2. Making pre-operation electrical inspections to make sure all protective devices and control circuits are working properly.
  3. Operate the plant as required. The operation process includes watching meters of various readings (voltage, current, and frequency) to be sure all the time that everything is OK.
  4. Performing electrical maintenance periodically as scheduled. And make sure that all maintenance programs are suitable for the power plant.
Low voltage swich gear Power engineering system could be inspected using thermal image
Low voltage switchgear Power engineering system could be inspected using a thermal image

How long does it take to become a power engineer?

As mentioned above power engineering is a branch of electrical engineering.

So power engineers are electrical engineers. Which needs 5 years of study in the faculty.

How to be a professional electrical engineer?

As a fresh graduate engineer, you need to work hard in your field to gain quick and deep experience, as well as need to have knowledge of web search and how to get any new information in your field.

Also, you should be familiar with HSE (electrical safety) rules to keep yourself and the work environment safe and accidents free. Let’s dig deeper.

I’m an electrical engineer, and I’m working for a leading oil and gas company, After more than 13 years of experience I can tell you that It is required more than just the right education and technical aptitude to become a successful electrical engineer.

Electrical engineering is a special field of engineering it is a complex field and contains a lot of sub-specialties with it.

A good and successful is not only good in his work or knowledge but also has a number of qualities in other aspects of daily work which are related to their work or surroundings.

They should have exceptional communication skills in order to have good communication and get good work from their workers.

Let’s list the factors that affect your engineering skills, and then we discuss some of them in detail.

  1. Fast electrical calculations skills
  2. Safety first culture.
  3. Attention to Details
  4. Critical thinking
  5. great vision
  6. Positive Attitude to Work
  7. Concentrate more on your electrical field.
  8. Never stop learning

Some computer skills For Electrical engineer

Some computer programs are important also for electrical engineers. Some of them are listed below.

  1. AUTOCAD electrical.
  2. DAIALUX lighting design program.
  3. Microsoft Office programs.
  4. PLC programming skills.
  5. Good internet searching skills.

Let’s dive into some details

Fast electrical calculations skills

Electrical calculations are one of the most important skills that you need on the job. Calculating voltage drop, electrical loads, electrical conversions between quantities like KW, HP, and KVA, and much more.

You will for sure need one or more of these calculations while you are in the workplace site. Also knowing electrical cables’ current carrying capacity on time is a very important skill.

But Should you memorize all cable tables like current, short circuit, and derating factors tables? This is ridiculous, isn’t it?

I faced this issue when I was a fresh graduate. When I found the optimal solution, I programmed three electrical android applications to help me instead of memorizing every electrical table and calculation.

Electrical application for electricians
My Electrical application for electrical engineers and electricians

Now, these three applications are being used around the world, And have more than 300K installations for each of them.

You also should have this application on your smart android phone. They are 100% free.

Install your applications now from googl play store:

  1. Cables Tables APP
  2. Fast Electrical calculator
  3. Electrical Motor calculator.

Safety first culture

Your safety is the number one priority while working, Especially when you are working near or with electrical equipment. Safety keeps you and your team safe.

I highly recommend visiting safetyfrenzy.com amazing safety site. This site has many electrical safety amazing articles.

Attention to Details

A scientist, who is a successful electrical engineer and works as a Director of Engineering, said that the top trait of a successful electrical engineer is that he gives full attention to details.

Whatever type of work he is doing, he just gives his all attention to the details of his work and the electrical instruments.

Whenever an electrical engineer is working to make a design he will keep in mind power calculations, timing analysis, noise suppression calculations, or all other details related to his design.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking comes with high demand when it is asked how to be a successful electrical engineer.

A successful electrical engineer will encounter a large number of complex problems to increase the ability to critically thinking.

By using critical thinking they become able to prioritize and organize the problems into buckets. Reasoning and logic are great sources of critical thinking.

Good Vision

The best electrical engineer possesses a great vision. He understands his product. He knows how it works. He knows what problems may happen with his product and try to find the solution to every problem from the start.

A best electrical engineer always knows the thing critically that what he or she is building and what is the role of their product for the users. They know what is the need of the customers or which type of technology is required in the market.

Positive Attitude to Work

Successful engineers are always passionate. They have a can-do attitude and possess positive thinking.

They should be confident and able to figure out all the problems with patience. They have the ability to implement the most complex details into the project.

Concentrate more on your electrical field

Electrical engineering has many fields, You should know about all fields, but you better know more about your field. i.e I mean the field that your work is about.

Some electrical engineering fields are listed below:

  1. Power generation.
  2. Power transformation (OHTL)
  3. Electrical maintenance.
  4. Electrical control circuits and panel design and maintenance.
  5. PLC programming.
  6. Electrical drawings and designs.
  7. Renewable energy i.e wind, solar, and wave power plants.
  8. Protection and testing.
  9. Residential electricity.

And the list is longer than this, The point is to concentrate more on your field.