What Is the Difference Between Electrical and Electronics Engineering?
Do you want to design and build electrical devices? Would you like to work with electrical devices that are loaded with electronics? If so, you may want to work in the electrical and electronics engineering field. At times, the line is clear between these areas, while at others, it gets a bit fuzzy. Read on to learn how to spot some static differences in the two fields. Schools offering Electrical Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Although a piece of equipment may be riddled with electronic components, it's considered fodder for electronics engineers if power is the focus of its use. To put it more plainly, when you look at a piece of equipment, determine if it could work without chips or a motherboard. Cell phones couldn't run without these components, so that would be in the realm of electronics engineering. On the other hand, a hydro-electric power plant can be filled with electronic regulatory and monitoring panels, but because it could run without these gadgets, the plant falls into electrical engineering.
As an electrical engineer, you research and develop ways to transmit electrical power through mechanical objects and find ways to store the energy as well. You also work with electrical signals. While cell phones may be developed through electronic engineering, the voice, and the visual and text data are sent through electrical signals. The satellites that transmit a signal to another phone is another example of electrical engineering at work. On a larger scale, some of the areas electrical engineers work include:
- Optics (lasers)
- Power efficiency
- Utility power transmission
If you work in electronics engineering, you focus on both electronics engineering and computer engineering. College degree programs may merge these two areas into a single field. The difference between these two areas is that as a computer engineer, you only work with computers and computer-related devices. Here are some items that electronics engineers work on:
- Portable music devices
- Global positioning devices
- Broadcasting systems
- Telecommunication devices and systems
- Analog circuitry
Side by Side Employment Comparison
These figures are taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The salary information comes from a May 2010 report for both disciplines. The employment increase projections are for the 2008-2018 decade.
|Electrical Engineers||Electronics Engineers|
|Employment Outlook||2% Increase||No Increase|
|Median Annual Salary||$84,540||$90,170|
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