Electrical engineering might not be as hot and trending as computer science or data science. However, being one of the core streams of engineering, it is a vital one and presents good career prospects. Job prospects in the core domain vary from country to country. But, alternative career options (biomedical engineering, aeronautical engineering, robotics, etc.) are certainly there. In this post, we will look at the top electrical engineering specializations for MS.
Top Electrical Engineering Specializations for MS
Co-authored by Pavan Somwanshi and Tanmoy Ray
Electrical Engineering encompasses various aspects of engineering and is spread across & used in many disciplines, almost all. In essence, electrical engineers design, invent, monitor, and test electronic components, devices, and systems.
In some countries, electrical engineering may be more focused on instrumentation, power system designs, with other departments such as Electronics and communication engineering focusing on telecommunication, integrated circuits, computer hardware, networking and signal processing, etc.
In the developed markets such as the US, Canada, UK, Australia, etc., Electrical Engineering departments and courses focus on a multitude of hardware and system design and development courses, including a few in embedded systems, low-level programming languages, and coding.
Job Prospects after MS Electrical Engineering
There are more than half a million jobs for electrical engineers, and it is projected to grow as there has been an increase in the number of students opting for this career. As more and more of our systems become digital, including electric cars, the jobs and career prospects for electrical engineers continue to grow exponentially.
For example, cars that primarily required a lot of mechanical engineering before are moving more and more towards becoming computers on wheels with electric batteries, etc. This future in the automotive industry is a mix of mechanical, electrical, computers and software.
The term “Electrical Engineer” in itself is very broad, when you go for an MS degree you will be introduced to various specializations that you can choose from. Further, we’ve described the top specializations to help you get a general idea of what’s in front.
Job Scopes Abroad
Let’s first take you through the scope of electrical engineering in foreign countries before moving on to the financial worth of higher education abroad. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects only a 2% growth (slower than the average) in EE jobs till 2028.
The Canadian government data indicates a fair job growth over the next couple of years (till 2020) for electrical engineering professionals. A moderate number of new positions are projected to fill the gap created by retirements. There will be about 1800 job openings annually until 2025.
For Germany, the trends suggest that by 2025, an increasing percentage of the workforce (25% by 2025) will comprise of high skill level (science, engineering, teaching, etc.) professionals, which is slightly higher than the EU average. The Australian government’s data indicates that there are likely to be 6000 job openings for graduates from this discipline for over 5 years.
Top Trends in Electrical Engineering
- Smart Grids
- Electric Vehicles
- Wireless Power Transfer
- Wireless Wearable Tech
- Artificial Intelligence
- Energy-Saving Tech & Sustainable Energy
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
- Energy Storage and Better Batteries
Top Electrical Engineering Specializations
An MS degree makes you highly specialized in a particular area of this field. Masters courses in electrical engineering are likely to be taught as classroom-based teaching and involving laboratory work.
Below we have explained in brief about the top specializations, but here are the areas in which you will have the opportunity to specialize in Computer Networks, Computer Vision and Biometrics, Dependable Integrated Systems, Micro Sensors, and Systems or Embedded Systems, Semiconductor technology, Circuit Design, Optical Systems, NanoElectronics, and Power Electronics. Checking the availability of a specific specialization is essential if you plan to study in a certain country or university.
Communications and Signal Processing
The specialization of Communications and Signal Processing deals with the discovery of solutions to transfer information effectively by making use of electrical systems. Communications and networking, and signal and image processing are two strands of the broader field.
The former focuses on optimal delivery of information, a few examples being the Internet, cellular and satellite communications, and WiFi, while the latter focuses on building algorithms and designing architectures to represent signals. The subjects of study in this specialization are information theory, wireless networking, coding, media processing, and information forensics.
Communications and signal processing together provide the basis of modern information engineering. Within communication, you may be able to be more focused on analog system design, digital system design, or mixed-signal designer.
Power Systems can be found in almost all systems involving electricity, prime examples being transportation, communication, and computing. This speciation primarily deals with the production, administration, and distribution of power systems.
A few important challenges in this field are ensuring the stability and safety of current power systems, a constant search for new power sources, and the innovation of new technologies. After completion of the degree, you will most likely find yourself working in a power plant or in a lab for an academic institute.
The choices of career prospects in this particular specialization are fairly vast, especially as more and more of the world moves towards battery-based electric power that requires changes in how systems and distribution works.
Computer engineering gets its roots from electrical engineering and computer science. Computer systems are now almost an inseparable part of our modern life, automobile systems to air traffic control systems, missile guidance systems, and compact devices.
What job a person does is difficult to describe due to the broad career prospects available, one can be working as a software engineer programming apps or designing systems that hardware engineers maintain. One thing is common, professionals in this field need to have good experience in systems, networks, and software.
Computer engineers focus more on the hardware architecture and system design of all of the latest gadgets, electronics, including Apple Watch, Mobile Phones, IoT-connected devices, etc.
They also work on the design of integrated chips (ICs) and are in high demand given the usage of ICs in every device we have in our household today. They are often known as chip designers in the industry and all of them have a background in the study of computer engineering.
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Control systems can be found in various segments of daily life, namely automobile handling systems, aircraft flight-path control systems, and speed control systems in a car. A Control Systems Engineer is responsible for designing, developing, and implementing solutions that control dynamic systems.
A specialization in this field will help you gain knowledge about computer programming, mathematical programming, and computer algorithms. A control systems engineer coordinates and controls different components of production lines to ensure efficient working.
Autonomous vehicles, space crafts, planes, automated machinery, oil and energy platforms, and many other instruments use closed-loop control systems with hundreds and thousands of sensors used in these systems to drive precision and decision making.
Circuits containing numerous micro-components have revolutionized technology, creating an impact on our lives and the tools we use. Microelectronics is mainly concerned with designing and manufacturing electric components of microscopic size.
Now under this specialization, intelligent sensors and Microsystems are being developed, such as the sensors responsible to trigger airbags. These components can be integrated into making devices increasing the advancements by many folds. This area is more focused on silicon wafers, micro-electronic systems, and engineering behind them
The need for Robotics expertise is starting to follow the exponential curve. Innovation needs and demands new talent, self-driving cars, and brain-machine interfaces being good examples. Robotics in itself is interdisciplinary, sharing its scope with mechanical, electrical, computer, and biomedical engineering.
A few topics that you will be very familiar with after the completion of the course are modeling and simulation of physical systems, intelligent control, robotic actuators, and embedded control systems.
In the specialization of Electromagnetics, you will learn about electromagnetic fields, digital antennas, wave propagation, and communication through microwaves. The coursework you will go through in this program will set the foundation for working in the development of electromagnetic technology(radio and computer networks) and hardware.
Many MS students can take a wide variety of courses or courses from 1-2 areas instead of just one specialization. There is significant overlap between areas so good to have a balanced view of system design, architecture and specialize in your research in 1 deep area.
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Jobs and Salaries for MS Electrical Engineering Specializations
Electrical Engineering is a wide domain, involving numerous specializations and even more career prospects. The average salary an Electric Engineer earns in the US, Canada, and the UK are around $75,000, which can go up to $120,000 for people with high specialization and work experience.
Below we’ve listed down various career prospects in this field across the countries mentioned above and also the salary details.
Electrical Engineers use their knowledge of electronics and apply it to develop products and systems. Their work stretches across implementation, production, and development. They are also involved in the research and creation of new applications. The average salary of an electrical engineer in the US, Canada, and the UK are $90,000; $70,000, and $50,000 respectively.
The job of a Power Engineer is to design, develop and oversee the installation of electronic components and equipment(such as transformers, power electronics, generators, motors) in both industrial and commercial areas. The average salary of a Power engineer in the US, Canada, and the UK are $80,000; $90,000, and $60,000 respectively.
They are mainly responsible for determining the engineering requirements. They prepare documents, ensure system requirements and perform system evaluations. They also manage the equipment used to monitor and control machinery in industries. The average salary of an Instrumentation engineer in the US, Canada, and the UK are $95,000; $75,000, and $50,000 respectively.
A telecommunication engineer is responsible for the design, performance, and security of computer networks, and also carries the task of integrating telecom devices and services. The average salary of a Telecommunications engineer in the US, Canada, and the UK are $100,000; $72,000, and $50,000 respectively.
Electrical Design Engineer:
Electrical Design Engineers develop electrical systems for various applications. They are responsible for developing system specifications, layouts, and researching system ideas and plans using computer software. The average salary of a Telecommunications engineer in the US, Canada, and the UK are $96,000; $90,000, and $40,000 respectively.
As of now, there are more than 200,000 electric engineering jobs in the US alone, it is projected to grow by 8% until the end of the next decade. A career in this field is very promising and lucrative.
About Pavan Somwanshi:
Pavan Somwanshi is an India-based freelance content writer and a curious human being trying to learn things every day to make a better sense of the world. Currently, Pavan is studying BSc Statistics from Pune University.
Additionally, Pavan is a management and entrepreneurship aspirant, a tech geek, an occasional philosopher, and a multitasker who excels at juggling tasks on both a professional and personal level.
He follows the liberal and egalitarian schools of thought, respects ideas, and encourages rational debates along with actively engaging in critical thinking. He finds his fulfillment with work, studies, communicating ideas, and being around people he cares about. You can connect with Pavan on LinkedIn.