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What's so hard about electrical engineering? Answered

I enjoy a lot playing with electronics and making new stuff, and I also understand electronics very good and am determined to do electrical engineering no matter how hard they say it is. I just don't understand what so hard about it, some people say it's the complex circuitry involved in it and some say that its the math in it.


You can't see it, you can't touch it, you can't feel it or sense it other than remotely.
There are many ways to solve the problems thrown up by the simplest system, when you get to complex systems the options become vast and selecting to optimum one is a real skill.

Having said that If you can rise to the intellectual and practical challenge the rewards are great, (perhaps not financial), A complex technology in an increasingly complex world. You will need good maths skills, a logical mind and the ability to stick at the studies to qualify.

Many do.

Good luck.

Since you haven't studied either EE or the math and physics you need to support it, I'm not sure you're qualified to "understand" whether it is hard or easy. EE is much, much more than slapping components onto a breadboard, which is what you've been doing.

I know it is difficult for me now as I haven't studied the math involved in it but I am sure that when I will study it, I will be able to understand it and it wouldn't seem that hard, so I can say that once you study it, it is easy.And I don't think that it would be that MUCH HARD for me to study it as they say it is, and, if you don't mind, you should be a bit more positive, how do you know that I have been "slapping" components on a breadboard.

Once you study it, you will be able to understand it. That is most certainly true! Whether it will or will not "seem hard" depends on how well you do at studying.

A basic electrical engineering program is a four-year undergraduate degree (baccalaureate), and includes a good hard-science component (physics and chemistry) along with calculus through complex analysis. Basic discrete circuit design is one semester of one class in that program. If your experience, and your expectation, is how to design fancy circuits from discrete components, then you will find electrical engineering extremely hard and confusing.

For us, we are expected to go up with enough physics and chemistry to survive university.

At UCLA, the engineers had to take the same freshman physics and chemistry courses as the physics and chem majors. Only the physicists and chemists had to take the sophomore o-chem labs (augh!).

We don't (or didn't) do this majoring/minoring stuff. Do a degree in EE, and you'd have to make sure the stuff we did at 16 and 18 was good enough to survive.

In the Engineering schools though, the basic maths course, at least in the first and second years was common to all of us, then we'd go off and do the vector calculus stuff, and the mechs would do mech stuff...and the civils would be outside throwing bread at the helicopters.

There IS a lot of maths. Its an essential tool that we can use to be able to represent something which we cannot see or manipulate with our senses. Electronic engineering is incredibly stimulating, and like many good things, its very hard to master.


Can you give an example of any thing in electrical engineering which requires complex mathematics to solve?

take a grid shape, and between each 'node' connect a 1.0-ohm resistor,
The top left corner is point A.
The bottom right corner is point B.
so if you have 4 nodes, you have 4 resistors...
if you have 9 nodes (3x3) you have 12 resistors...
if you have 81 nodes (9x9) you have 144 resistors...

Ohm's law and calculating parallel and series resistance is pretty straightforward - especially since they are each 1 ohm.
Calculate the resistance between point A and point B for each of these scenarios. It seems simple but the bigger versions get mind-numbingly complex very fast.

I don't understand the problem that you described above, how would you need 12 resistors or nine nodes, or 144 resistors for 81 nodes, wouldn't you need 9 resistors for 9 nodes and 81 resistors for 81 nodes.

Imagine a cube made of 12 1 ohm resistors. How would you calculate the resistance from one corner to the diagonally opposite corner ?

Now we know the fallacy of EE being easy.
You are thinking of a sidewalk when frollard
has described a parking lot.


No, actually I didn't exactly know what a "node" is.


...just scroll down a bit...and see how it goes from simple to ridiculous university level math in a matter of steps.

I wasn't asking to judge, I was describing the 'circuit problem' to show how a simple system can be mathematically daunting. It's not to judge your vocabulary skills - it's to help teach a point. :)


If in doubt - look it up, it is the information age! That said, nobody around here will be upset about you asking!

a node is a connection point, not a line that does the connecting.

the face of a rubicks cube (3x3 squares) has 16 nodes.

You are given three rocket engines. You have to make the rocket attached to them lift of vertically. Just after it classes the tower, the rocket matter perform a stable 180 degree roll along its vertical axis.

You have a spacecraft in orbit around jupiter. Not only does it have to keep it's antenna aimed at earth., you are required to transmit data with 100 per cent Fidelity at earth at the maximum possible data rate. Decide the protocol and provide the data rate.

You have a polyphase AC transmission system. The network is fed by 10 1.8 gigawatt Turbo alternators, distributed over the network. The largest load, with a 0.8 powerfactor. Calculate here operating lag /lead at the 3Rd station v from the load. Assume the rest of the network it's running at unity power factor

"If it were easy, everyone could do it." ~Mr. Rayborne, my high school calculus teacher

Those are both of the complexities.

To get a 'just works' solution there are often thousands of solutions. To get THE BEST solution or solutions that meet multiple complex design constraints often requires a LOT of work - almost anybody can do it, but they have a lot of rules to follow.

Fact is, electricity, generally electrons flowing in a metallic circuit act differently depending on what components are used. Each of these behaviours is usually very well documented but only in a mathematical sense - as a formula so to speak. Each component in a system compounds the overall formula of how the circuit will work, increasing complexity based on where it is placed. The same component in parallel to another component as opposed to series with another similar component will have a totally different result.

What's so hard? Taking an END goal, then working backwards figuring out what formula is required of to get the output from the input, then fitting the components to match that model or formula.

Honestly, entire computers are just groups of transistors...up to hundreds of billions of transistors attached in a logical fashion with code to make them work. There are other support components but the brilliance is in the CPU. Each of those transistors needs specific conditions for it to work properly, and meeting those conditions is the 'hard' part.