The varied and progressive field of electrical/computer engineering has grown rapidly making it the largest branch of engineering. Electrical/computer engineers integrate many other disciplines, such as mathematics, circuit design and analysis, computer programming, physics, instrumentation, electronics, telecommunications, electromagnetic and optical systems, chemistry, computer hardware design and development, control systems, computer networking, and engineering economics into products that are economical and competitive in the marketplace. The development of electrical systems and devices are evident as computers, cell phones, DVD players, computer games, televisions, microwaves, hybrid cars, satellites, electrical power generations and distribution, lasers, and the internet. These systems and devices were developed by electrical/computer engineers that include:
- Consulting electrical engineers design electrical systems for commercial and industrial buildings. They work closely with architects and mechanical & civil engineers and often these disciplines are all part of the same company.
- Control system engineers generate models for a diverse range of dynamic systems and controllers that use electrical circuits, digital signal processors, microcontrollers, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Control engineering has a wide range of applications from flight and propulsion systems of spacecraft and commercial airlines to the cruise control in automobiles to industrial automation.
- Computer engineers design and test computers, software, and computer networks. Computer engineers design new hardware, PDA, or use computers to control industrial plants and machinery. Desktop computer-like architectures are now found in a range of devices including video game consoles, microwave ovens, hybrid cars, and DVD players.
- Power engineers employ the principles of electrical engineering for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity as well as the design of transformers, electric generators, power stations, electric motors, and power electronics. Power engineers play an important role in solving problems associated with the environment and global warming.
- Telecommunications engineers employ engineering principles for the transmission of information across a channel such as a coax cable, optical fiber, or free space. Transmissions require information to be encoded in order to adapt the information for transmission; this is known as modulation. Telecommunication engineers determine the transmission characteristics of a system and design the transmitters and receivers needed for telecommunications systems, as global positioning systems, digital TVs, and global computer transmissions of information.