Electrical engineering is a relatively recent field to emerge from the larger discipline of engineering, but it has become nearly as important to modern life as the structures of the buildings in which we live and work. In the same way that a structural engineer ensures that buildings are constructed in a way that ensures safety, functionality, and durability, electrical engineers design the architecture of electrical systems to ensure they perform properly.
Unlike other forms of structural and civil engineering whose development dates back to ancient times, the history of electrical engineering begins in the 19th century with the work of famous inventors such as Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse. They pioneered systems that wove together electric generators and transmission lines with the circuits and batteries that powered early appliances like light bulbs, radios, and motors. And, while we have come to depend on electricity to power more numerous and more complex appliances than even these early geniuses of the field could have imagined, the underlying systems are still largely the same.
The principles of electrical engineering may not have changed much over the past century, but the demand for expertise in this field has skyrocketed alongside the exponential growth in electricity use. Today electricity is used to power everything from the microelectronics of your cell phone to the massive server farms responsible for storing all of the data of the internet, and it is even beginning to replace fossil fuel combustion in applications such as hybrid cars, electric cars, and electric heating pumps.
Thus, if you want to help build our electrified, increasingly-digital world, electrical engineering can be a terrific career path that is only becoming more important over time.