Student Article / Science

Know About Electronic Engineering

Know About Electronic Engineering

Assistant Editor

24 Dec, 2018

Electronic engineering is also called electronics and communications engineering. This category of engineering utilizes nonlinear and active electrical components like semiconductor devices, transistors, diodes, and integrated circuits. It focuses on designing electronic circuits, VLSI devices, and their systems. Also, it designs passive electrical components which are usually based on printed circuit boards. There is a subfield that comes under the vast category of electrical engineering, Electronics. This subfield covers analog electronics, digital electronics, embedded systems, consumer electronics, and power electronics. The main areas covered under this include the implementation of applications, principles, and algorithms like solid-state physics, radio engineering, control systems, telecommunication, signal processing, computer engineering, robotics, and many others. One of the most influential and significant organizations to study electronics engineering is IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

In the late 19th century, when technical improvements in the telegraph industry are done, electronic engineering sprang as a profession. Radio and telephone industries also contribute to making this a professional field. The technical fascination of radio attracted people both in receiving and then transmitting. The modern discipline of electronic engineering was born out of telephone, television, and radio industries to a large extent. The emergence of the term electronics engineering started in the late 1950s. 

Engineers who belong to this field design and test circuits that use the electromagnetic properties of electrical components like capacitors, resistors, diodes, inductors, and transistors. These tests are performed for achieving a specific functionality. For example, there is a tuner circuit in radio which is used to filter out all but a single station. The engineers of this field in designing an integrated circuit first construct circuit schematics. These schematics specify the electrical components and also describe the interconnections between them. On completion of schematics, VLSI engineers convert them into actual layouts. These layouts map the layers of various semiconductor and conductor materials which are needed for the construction of a circuit. This conversion can be done by software without much requirement of human fine-tuning for decreasing the space and power consumption. On completion of the layout, it is sent to a fabrication plant for manufacturing.  

There are many subfields of Electronics Engineering. Given below are some of the most popular subfields. Engineers can focus on a single subfield or can also work on a combination of subfields.

Signal processing: This subfield is well-known to deal with the analysis and manipulation of signals which can be analog or digital. In the case of analog signals, the signal varies continuously as per the information. In the case of digital signals, the signal varies as per the series of discrete values representing the information. The involvement of the amplification and filtering of audio signals for audio equipment is there for the signal processing of analog signals. The modulation or demodulation of signals is also involved fro telecommunications. Whereas on the other hand for digital signals, the compression, error checking, and error detection of digital signals are involved in signal processing.

Telecommunication Engineering: The transmission of information across a channel is dealt with in this subfield like co-axial cable, optical fiber, or free space. To shift the information to a carrier frequency, transmissions across the free space need the information to be encoded in a carrier wave. This whole process is known as modulation. There are two popular modulation techniques which are amplitude modulation and frequency modulation. The cost and performance of the entire system are affected by the selection of the modulation. The engineer must carefully balance these two important factors.  On the determination of the transmission characteristics, telecommunication engineers design the receivers and transmitters which are needed for such systems. The combination of these two forms a two-way communication device which is called a transceiver. 

Electromagnetics: The in-depth study of signals which are transmitted in a channel comes under Electromagnets. This study comprises the basics of electromagnetic waves, transmission lines and waveguides, antennas, and microwaves. The applications of this study can be widely acknowledged in telecommunication, control, and instrumentation engineering.

Computer engineering: This subfield deals with the design of computers and computer systems. It may also involve the design of new computer hardware, the design of PDAs, or the use of computers for controlling an industrial plant. The systems which are made for specific tasks like mobile phones are called embedded systems. The development of these systems is also included in computer engineering. In addition, it also deals with a microcontroller and its applications. 

VLSI design engineering: VLSI stands for Very Large-scale integration and this subfield deals with the fabrication of ICs and various other electronic components.

An academic degree is possessed by Electronic Engineers which has a duration period of three to four years. The completed degree is designated as Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Technology as per the specific university. After completing a graduation degree, engineers can opt for a postgraduate degree like Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering, or an Engineering Doctorate. The master's degree comprises research, coursework, or a combination of the two. The electronics degree usually comprises units covering chemistry, physics, mathematics, project management, and related specific topics of electrical engineering. Apart from this, other units in the syllabus are particular to electronics engineering courses which have other specialisms like machines, distribution, and power generation. 

Apart from IEEE, the institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE), Members of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET), and SMIEEE are recognized and most important professional bodies providing the study of engineering.

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By: Preeti Narula