According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical and electronic engineers work primarily in research and development industries, engineering services firms, manufacturing and the federal government. the BLS says they typically work indoors, in offices, but they may have to be physically present to observe problems or complex equipment.
Manufacturing industries that employ electrical engineers include automotive, marine, railroad, aerospace, defense, consumer electronics, commercial construction, lighting, computers and components, telecommunications and traffic control. Government agencies that employ electrical engineers include transportation departments, national laboratories, and the military.
Most electrical engineering jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. Many employers, especially those offering engineering consulting services, also require national certification as a professional engineer. In addition, many employers require certification by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) or the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Promoting managers often requires a master's degree and ongoing education and training to keep up with advances in technology, test equipment, computer hardware and software, and government regulations.
According to Salary.com, as of July 2014, salaries for newly graduated electrical engineers with a bachelor's degree range from $55,570 to $73,908. Mid-level engineers with a master's degree and 5 to 10 years of experience range from $74,007 to $108,640, and senior engineers with a master's or doctoral degree and more than 15 years of experience range from $97,434 to $138,296. Many experienced engineers with advanced degrees are promoted to management positions or start their own businesses where they can earn more.
Electrical engineering is one of the newer branches of engineering, with a history dating back to the late 19th century. It is the branch of engineering that deals with electrical technology. Electrical engineers study a wide range of components, devices and systems, from microchips to large power plant generators.
Early experiments with electricity included primitive batteries and electrostatic charges. However, the actual design, construction and manufacture of useful devices and systems began with the implementation of Michael Faraday's Law of Induction, which states that the voltage in a circuit is proportional to the rate of change of the magnetic field passing through the circuit. This law applies to the basic principles of generators, motors and transformers. The dawn of the modern era was marked by the introduction of electricity into homes, businesses and industries, all of which were made possible by electrical engineers.
Some of the most famous pioneers in the field of electrical engineering include Thomas Edison (the electric light bulb), George Westinghouse (alternating current), Nikola Tesla (the induction motor), Guglielmo Marconi (the radio), and Philo Farnsworth (the television). These innovators transformed ideas and concepts about electricity into practical devices and systems that ushered in the modern era.
This list has been updated 13 times since it was first published in February 2021. Whether you're new to the field or looking to expand your current knowledge base, the electrical engineering textbooks on our list are sure to provide a helpful boost. We've included editions for new students and practical texts for amateurs, as well as those that are close to the topic, assuming you have at least a basic understanding and can prepare for the exam.
Through a balance of theory, extended examples, and practical applications, Fundamentals of Circuits (~$122) strives to understand the complex mathematics integral to the field and presents and reinforces its material understanding simply.
If you are interested in harnessing electricity because you want to create the next great gadget, then Practical Electronics for Inventors (about $22) may be for you. It focuses on specific applications without getting bogged down in jargon.
Practical Electrical Engineering (~$67) intentionally limits its reliance on advanced mathematics and physics to emphasize the more practical aspects of the subject. It is intended to provide the reader with the basic tools needed to design a range of circuits and systems.
Electrical Engineering for Non-Electrical Engineers (~$101) is designed to give readers a linear approach to concepts so they don't have to jump from chapter to chapter looking for clarification and explanation.
While some textbooks focus on concepts, Engineering Mathematics (~$57) delves into the nature of numbers. It should give you a solid foundation in the methods and techniques used in industry, teaching everything from complex analysis to vector calculus.
If you hope to pass the FE exam, you will want to get the Engineering Fundamentals Study Guide (about $86). It is full of practice questions covering everything from circuit analysis to ethical issues you may face as a professional.
Electrical Engineering: Know It All (about $62) is part of a series of books that can be used as both a learning tool and a reference for electricians and designers. It includes a variety of tips and hints to help you solve almost any problem.
Whether you're a student or a professional who needs to remember a lot of formulas and other information, that's where the Engineer's Practical Data Book (about $37) comes in. This reference covers the mechanical, civil and aerospace sectors as well.
Basic Electricity (~$12) Written by the Bureau of Naval Personnel and intended as a primer for anyone in the Navy who may need a foundation in all things electrical. Emphasis on safety, and numerous helpful appendices.
Often the best way to learn a trade is to roll up your sleeves and take part in a variety of hands-on education promoted by "How to Diagnose and Repair All Electronic Devices" (about $17). It will help you set up your workstation and delve into any old or broken equipment you own.
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