What is it like to be an electrical engineer?

It all depends on the firm you are employed by. You’ll be shocked by the amount of the actual engineering you’ll will end up doing.This is pretty true for a lot of engineers:

In your private life, it’s really tough explaining just what it is you do. This is due to both the general ignorance around what engineers do, and to whatever intellectual property constraints you have.

I’d change the “what my boss thinks I do” picture to a picture of somebody sitting around doing nothing.

In your professional life having to deal with office politics can be stressful. My colleagues and I frequently have ideas we’d like to explore that could generate more ROI, boost the market share of our products more effective overall. Sometimes, we’d like to test something that will bring us into a market we’re not currently but could very easily get into. We begin to work on it, but then our product managers or any other “superiors” decide that something other is more important, take our project down and give us different projects. We begin doing work on it, only to discover that it’s an ugly child that has to be destroyed, and the project is ultimately worthless regardless. A few weeks later the project’s managers decide to let us develop the ideas we had suggested in the past, while pretending that they were the ones who came up with it.

Concerning the actual engineering aspect, it’s frustrating since it’s extremely rare for the things you create to “just work” the first time around. It’s exciting when it does work, and you then discover many different ways the device could break. You work on solutions, but each one is accompanied by more ways that it could cause damage or, worse than that, the fix can make it not function the way it did before. The best option is to take it off the table and begin again with something completely new, but those around you will want to “stick to what’s working” and force you to take on the task of fixing the flaws in something you’d consider to be a flaw in the fact that it is a bug in and of.

However, at the same time it’s a lot of fun. If you’re a student you will learn a lot of things. One of the first things you’ll learn is the best way and time to declare BS on those who claim to be smart, and it’s quite a blast. You’ll discover a lot about the ways that the systems you interact with perform, how they function, and the myriad ways to use them to solve problems outside of your field of work. Sometimes, you can bring a bit of the knowledge to home. Engineers who do things like this are the reason for all the modern amenities we enjoy today. For instance the Raytheon engineer during WWII realized that the radar signal could melt chocolate bars in his pocket. He brought the idea at home and created microwave oven.

Pay is also a great benefit for fresh graduates, in comparison to fresh graduates from other areas. This is, if you’re comfortable working 50-hour days when you’re paying hourly.

Altogether, I’d highly recommend it as long as you’re okay with there being stupid people in the world. You have to be okay with doing something at a stupid person’s request in order to survive.

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