Major Resource Kit

Electrical & Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers its undergraduates the option of earning the degree of Bachelor of Electrical Engineering or the degree of Bachelor of Computer Engineering. Electrical engineers apply the basic sciences of physics, chemistry, and materials science to control and transform energy and information. They design huge power-generating systems in dams as well as tiny electronic circuits that keep spacecraft on correct trajectory a billion miles from Earth. They create the electronic components that run computers, digital recording and entertainment systems, automated factories, and improve the transmission of messages by laser light through fiber optics. Although traditionally part of electrical engineering, computer engineering has now come to be recognized as a separate engineering field. Computer engineers apply engineering principles to the design of computers, networks of computers, or sometimes systems that include computers. They work to develop computers that mimic the functions of some biological systems. Computer engineering also overlaps the areas of computer information systems and computer science. Most electrical and computer engineers are employed by industries that manufacture electrical and electronic equipment, especially equipment related to computer production. There are also opportunities with consulting and research firms and with power and communications companies.

For further information, contact the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 140 Evans Hall, (302) 831-3275.

Career Caveat: Engineering

One of the frequent tendencies that students in technical disciplines have is to inextricably link their career possibilities with their academic major. They seldom realize that a major is largely an administratively convenient tool used by a college or university to categorize students.

There is not always an obvious parallel between your engineering major and an occupational field. In the same way that accountants are used as computer information systems analysts along with those having computer science backgrounds, engineers work in capacities other than hands-on engineering. Said in another way, just as the same job can be filled with individuals from a variety of academic backgrounds, so individuals with the same major can qualify for many different jobs.

While the realization that more career options are open to you as a technical major than you previously were aware of can be uplifting, it also poses the dilemma of identifying and narrowing down the appropriate options. To remedy this confusion, it is helpful to approach your career selection in terms of the types of functions you wish to perform within an organization. An example might be a mechanical engineer who determines that he/she would like to function in a sales or marketing capacity instead of in a manufacturing role due to his/her interests, persuasive skills, and outgoing personality.

Job titles differ from industry to industry and company to company. Because job classifications are not standardized, trying to determine your fit among seemingly endless lists of titles can be very confusing and frustrating. Thinking of jobs in functional terms provides a way of organizing the multitude of job titles you will encounter in company literature and employment ads. Thinking in terms of functions will, therefore, allow you to clearly indicate to potential employers exactly what you want to do regardless of what the job title is.

Sample Concentrations

Power Distribution Engineer: Plans and coordinates the construction and operation of facilities for transmitting power from distribution plants to the customer. Lays out substations and both underground and overhead lines in urban and in rural areas. Prepares specifications and estimates the costs for operation.

Communication Engineer: Designs systems that receive, transmit, and deliver information in both audio and video form.

Electronics Engineer: Designs and develops integrated circuits, electrical components and equipment, and systems for testing electronic equipment.

Controls Project Engineers: Analyzes the design of automatic regulators, guidance systems, numerical control of machines, computer control of industrial processes and robotics.

Computer Engineer: Designs improvements to existing computer systems and networks in order to increase speed, capacity, reliability, and reduce size. Designs and develops new computer systems and systems which depend upon computers. Does research to discover novel ways to design computers and computer networks to gain dramatic increases in capability.

Check the Dictionary of Occupational Titles under section 003 for additional related careers.

Enhancing Employability

Some Employers of Electrical & Computer Engineering Majors

Other Sources of Information

Candid Careers

Resources for Finding Employment

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Visit the Sharf & Townsend Career Library & Resource Center at 401 Academy St, Newark, DE 19716.