Electrical Engineering students gain the most diverse set of skills in the world of electronics, computation and software. They are the only group of students that get full training in digital hardware, analog hardware, and software skills (The whole package of skills needed to build a complete intelligent cyber-physical system). With this background, Electrical Engineering students can steer their career path in a wide range of industrial, scientific and academic careers.
The Electrical Engineering field encompasses many sub-disciplines including:
a. Electrical Power systems. Be part of the group that re-designs our electrical power system infrastructure as we move away from fossil fuel sources to renewable sources. We will all own electric vehicles in the future. We will also solve the problem of energy storage systems as an industry. Finally, our cities will develop a intelligent data-intensive power system infrastructure. Electrical Engineers are also involved in the construction industry where the power and communication systems of buildings, hospitals and airports are designed. Here is a document about Career Professional Curricular Planning for EE-Power Systems Engineering concentration. https://content-calpoly-edu.s3.amazonaws.com/ee/1/documents/Professional%20Preparation%20Curriculum%20Planning_Power.pdf
b. Control Systems. Start out with basic training in feedback systems with a single input, single output and feedback. Learn how to make these simple systems stable or make them oscillate. Answer questions regarding topics such as how a Segway scooter remains stable. They work towards understanding Machine Learning, Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence. Here is a document about Career Professional Curricular Planning for EE-Systems concentration.https://content-calpoly-edu.s3.amazonaws.com/ee/1/documents/Professional%20Preparation%20Curriculum%20Planning_Systems.docx.pdf
c. Electronics, Microelectronics and integrated circuit design. Learn how to design the integrated circuits that are the foundation of all computing and communication system infrastructure. Electrical Engineers are unique in that they are able to understand electronic systems from holes and electronics at the transistor level, to high-level systems engineering concepts where everything is treated as a functional black box. In the EE curriculum you have the option of designing a fully functional integrated circuit and have it fabricated in a foundry some where in the world. Here is a document about Career Professional Curricular Planning for EE-Computer Engineering concentrationhttps://content-calpoly-edu.s3.amazonaws.com/ee/1/documents/Professional%20Preparation%20Curriculum%20Planning_Electronics.pdf
d. Computer Engineering and Design. In the early stages of your education, you will design custom computers that are optimized to perform specific tasks very efficiently. Students will get a new appreciation for the complexity of designing a computer at the gate level and programming in assembly language. The group will then work with general purpose computers and design custom input and output interfaces to peripherals. Electrical Engineers are unique in that they get to understand the digital design fundamentals and how analog concepts become very important as computer clock speeds work in the GHz frequency range. They are also exposed to hardware-software co-design at all levels of the computer design and application process. Continuing employment opportunities include creating computing environments that are secure and that can run Artificial Intelligence Control algorithms efficiently. Here is a document about Career Professional Curricular Planning for EE-Computer Engineering concentrations https://content-calpoly-edu.s3.amazonaws.com/ee/1/documents/Professional%20Preparation%20Curriculum%20Planning_Computers.pdf
Signal Processing at the Boundaries of Digital, Analog and Software skills. Electrical Engineers will learn how to design Analog sensors that work in small signal environments with man-made and natural noise sources. Signal processing engineers then take these signals in to the digital world with high resolution analog to digital converts that they design. In the digital world, software algorithms are used to filter, demodulate, modulate or convert to other signal formats. Finally at the output of the system, signal processing engineers will generate analog signals if necessary to complete a control system.
Radio Frequency and Microwave Systems. Cal Poly has an extensive set of course work and laboratories to train you in the discipline of designing systems at frequencies above 1 GHz. At these high frequency, new design methods are needed and state-of-the-art electronic devices and systems are needed. Here is a Professional Career Curricular Planning Document on EE-RF/Microwaves and Photonics concentrations https://content-calpoly-edu.s3.amazonaws.com/ee/1/documents/Professional%20Preparation%20Curriculum%20Planning_Microwaves.pdf
Biomedical Instrumentation. Companies like Boston Scientific, Medronic and St Jude Medical ( to name only a few of many) have pioneered implantable electronic systems that are used for controlling heart beat, administering controlled doses of medication or controlling chronic pain. In addition, students work in fields such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Acoustic Imaging, Optical Imaging, or Radiation Sources for cancer suppression. Electrical Engineers in this field gain a much deeper understanding of Electronic Systems and how they interact with the body.
Wireless and Wireline Communication Systems. Electrical Engineers have transformed the world dramatically between the 1980's and 2010's. A phone call in the 1980's to the UK might cost $5 per minute. Today it is virtually no cost for that same call. Electrical Engineers helped implement the global fiber optic networks that make our present communication systems possible. Backhoes trenched the terrestrial communication fiber bundles and ships put down the inter-continental fiber optic cables that form the backbone of our wired communication systems.
In the 1990's and 2000's Electrical Engineers pioneered smart wireless phone systems and a network of towers across the continents. These systems morphed into third, fourth, and now fifth generation wireless systems that make voice and data communication effortless where every you may travel. Think of Electrical Engineers when you are streaming your next Netflix movie for such a low cost.
Measurement Instrumentation. Many companies such as Keysight Technologies and Anritsu are the groups that form the foundational equipment that allows Electrical Engineers to build and verify performance of their electronic and computing systems. You may end up working as a designer in a test and measurement company as a result of the opportunities granted by the "Learn by Doing" Environment found at Cal Poly. The labs at Cal Poly are second to none in the US in terms of test/measurement capability and the sheer number of labs offered.
Software Engineering. Many students in the Electrical Engineering Department choose to pursue careers in software development industries after graduation. The key advantage of this approach is that Electrical Engineering students have a much deeper understanding of the computing platforms that are used in software development. In addition, software engineers often times need to be intimately tied to hardware problems and the Electrical Engineering background really shines when hardware/software connections are present. Computer Science students generally do not take significant computing hardware coursework. Software development and application software tasks are integrated into the curriculum both in lecture and laboratory. In addition, the Electrical Engineering Department allows you to take classes offered by our computer science colleagues. If you want to add a minor in computer science, or just to take a few extra classes, we have straightforward path to taking these classes while working on your Electrical Engineering degree.
Consumer Electronics. Companies like Apple and Amazon Lab 126 heavily recruit at Cal Poly because our hands-on "Learn by Doing" curriculum fits well with their design philosophy.
Audio Engineering: This is a smaller field, but we have a dedicated and passionate group of Cal Poly engineers in the Audio Engineering Society that put together a Audio Engineering job fair and technical conference each year.
As an electrical engineer, you can work in offices, labs, or industrial plants of various industries including: the manufacturers of electrical components and computer equipment, industrial machinery, medical and scientific instruments, transportation, communication, computer related sectors, the federal government, electric utility and engineering consulting firms. The projects you may work on can range from designing a telecommunication system or the operation of electric power stations to the lighting and wiring of buildings, the design of consumer electronics, and the electrical control of industry machinery. The opportunities are endless.