Yes. However, you must understand the mathematics better than being able to perform the calculations by hand.

For instance, take circuit design. It’s a lot of linear algebra for linear circuits. Your application might involve complex numbers or differential equations. Are you required to be able solve them manually? While it is possible to solve them in class, I’ve never had to do so in practice. In EE, the imaginary unit for electric current is j. Originally, i was used as the standard variable name.

It has been tremendously helpful to know what each of these things mean. The differential equation states that an RC/RL circuit will have a decay behavior in the time. This gives me great insight into how to use such circuits for timing. This same behavior also means that it can be used as a frequency filter for steady-state AC analysis.

In RF circuits, a major, major superde-dupter math thing is present. This chart is known as a Smith Chart. It transforms some very intensive math, involving a partial differential equation, into a set rules for how to make an RF circuit respond.

Every one of the circles on there is derived from some real fun math relating reflection amplitude and phase angle to various components of load impedance and transmission line distance. You draw even more circles on there when you start dealing with RF amplifiers and oscillators. I happen to know the math, but it’s not really necessary to know how all of these circles show up, just how to use them. It turns crazy math into a set of rules about how to move around on a chart.

A pole-zero diagram is another super-de-dupter math thing. It’s used in signal processing and filter design, as well as control systems.

What do all these things mean?

They’re a handy graphical way to either analyze or design a control or circuit response. It condenses LaPlace transform math into a chart that you can just drop points on to come up with a response. Learn a few rules about how the system responds when you drop poles and zeros, and design of a control system or filter gets a lot easier, with the grinding aspects of the math all gone.