The Ever-evolving Field of Electrical Engineering

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The Ever-evolving Field of Electrical Engineering

What are things that all EEs know? What is the commonality of training and experience that holds us together as a profession, and how is it changing? What will it mean to be an EE in the future? Robert W. Lucky wrote an article “The ever-evolving field of electrical engineering” published in IEEE Spectum, November of 2016. He made some studies on these questions and found the following:

"In the first two years of study, there is a lot of uniformity, with courses in basic math, physics, and computing. The EE-specific part begins with circuit analysis and design. After those first two years of school, however, EE students branch out in perhaps half a dozen different directions. A student who studies the physics of electron devices might have little in common with one who studies information theory. But each would be an EE, and almost the only specialized knowledge that they would hold in common other than basic science and math would be the principles of circuit design. So he decided: You are an EE if you know—or once knew—circuit design. After college, EEs enter so many different specialties and occupations that they are almost impossible to categorize. I looked at the IEEE organization as a framework for professional practice. There are currently 39 societies within the IEEE that serve to guide publications and conferences. As engineering practice changes, so must the societies, yet over the last 20 years only a few societies have been added and one has disappeared, which indicates only moderate evolution. However, even the oldest societies mutate their domains while maintaining their descriptive legacy names. In addition, many societies have generic names denoting a function, rather than an underlying technology, such as the IEEE Communications Society."

Read more here


Robert W. Lucky. The ever-evolving field of electrical engineering. IEEE Spectum, November, 2016, pp. 27

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