Do you like playing with electronics?

If you’re the type of person who likes to spend time playing with electronic devices and trying to figure out how they work, you might be well-suited to a career in electrical engineering. You may be in constant trouble at home and school for taking apart remote controls, air conditioners, TVs and mobile phones, but there are people out there who carry on this hobby into their adult lives. A person may go out to watch a band, with friends, for example, and then find themselves online looking at something like, the next day. They order it, it arrives and within an hour, they’ve completely dismantled it. These people are natural electronic engineers. If, an hour after dismantling the microphone, they have successfully reassembled it, or even improved it, they are the ones who will go far.

If the interest is there, then you’re a prime candidate to be trained up as an electrical engineer. In order to get onto a good course for this, you’re more than likely to need to demonstrate a good understanding of mathematics to high school level. If you’re past high school age, this is still achievable. You can sign up to take AP Math at local study centers. Buy the books and study in your free time, hire a tutor to help you master the most difficult concepts and techniques, and make use of the wonderful wealth of online math resources. Khan Academy is a great place to brush up if it’s been a while since you did any math.

Whatever you decide to invest financially in your training and education to become an electrical engineer, you can be reassured that, unlike many college-level degrees these days, the chances of getting a good return on your investment are high. Graduate level jobs are well-paid and equivalent to salaries which require a decade of experience in some other fields. There are also great prospects worldwide as electronics is a huge and booming sector.

It goes without saying, of course, that your preparation should include more than just math and dismantling gadgets. You need to understand why things work the way they do. If you happen to know anyone who works with electronics, ask them to mentor you through your studies. Before enrolling on a course, learn as much as you can about the basic concepts of electronics, and the properties of electricity and commonly used materials. Electronics involves a good deal of physics and even chemistry, so it is also advantageous if you have a good grounding in these subjects, too.

Electronics is a major hobby area which is also growing at the moment. The latest craze includes drones – sometimes bought off of the shelf and sometimes built up from scratch. Tweaking drones to fly differently or to perform different tasks is something that you can do with other people, who you can learn from and have fun with at the same time. If you are a natural electronic engineer, you’ll fit into such clubs very well, and you’ll be in great company.

If drones don’t light up your imagination, ask yourself what does and apply it to electronics. For example, it’s easy to find the connection between electronics and a number of fields – broadcasting, translation, music, cookery, sports and so on. Whether you go on to work on an electric bicycle or ham radio depends on where your other interests lie.

The top colleges and employers throughout your career will not only be looking for knowledge, enthusiasm and professionalism, but they will want to know about your attitude towards solving problems and working as a team member. Astro Teller, of Google X, recently revealed that he rewards his engineers and developers when a project fails. Rather than becoming despondent about it, a failure itself is an achievement – it shows you how a problem will not be solved – the quicker that is achieved, the better. People want to see that you don’t give up, no matter how many setbacks you face.

Being an electrical engineer requires a great deal of patience. You can spend a lot of time being frustrated by different aspects of problems. However, when everything finally comes together, that in itself is reward enough for your efforts.

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