Electrical engineering is one of the key technical disciplines driving industry’s advancement from mechanics to electronics. The transistor, the integrated circuit and solid state memory are among the most remarkable accomplishments of this dynamic and growing field.
The role of the electrical engineer in future advancements, technology achievements and human progress is virtually assured. With skills ranging from circuit design through component manufacturing and integration testing, an engineer working with electronics and electromagnetism will have a wide variety of ways to contribute their knowledge and experience to the next great technologies.
The Key Component
Ever since the practical invention of the transistor in 1947, the central need for the skills of an electrical engineer have appeared in almost every industry. Transistors are electrical circuits that can store information in the form of a binary value. When used in series, they can be used to perform both mathematical and logical operations. They form the basis for the integrated circuit.
From Engineering to Automation
With the invention of the semiconductor in 1949, it became possible for electrical engineering to not only manipulate electrical current to perform useful tasks, but it also became possible to shape electrical current into data.
This invention was the basis for the microprocessor and the first computer. With these new inventions, the field of electrical engineering became one primarily concerned with building devices made out of circuits instead of directing electrical current from one point to the next.
From Automation to Invention
There is currently no mechanism that can assist in the process of invention more effectively than the microprocessor. Not only can one group of circuits be used to design another, the applications possible with a computer give electrical engineers an almost universal tool they can use to educate themselves, design and prototype new devices and then implement those devices through the use of computer-aided manufacturing.
Many inventors choose to pursue an electrical engineering master’s degree in order to advance their knowledge to a point where they can push the boundaries of what is possible right alongside the inventions that already form the basis for their work. With a complete enough understanding, their skill and knowledge forms a positive feedback loop that can be a very powerful impetus.
From Invention to Improvement
Just because something has been invented doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. Thomas Edison was credited with inventing the lightbulb and giving America electricity in their homes. However, it took a man named Nikola Tesla to improve upon this idea by using alternating currents. It took Edison’s idea of having electricity in every household and made it even better. The same can be said about any invention you have. You made something, but now you have to improve upon it. This idea of improvement among inventions often leads to new breakthroughs and inventions of their own.
The range of fields available to an electrical engineer interested in invention or improvement of existing technology is wide indeed. From robotics to virtual reality, the possibilities are practically unlimited. Technology has been booming for the last century and as it continues to develop there is not telling what new technological frontiers might be discovered in the near future.