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My choice of future career path was predetermined with a number of factors, ranging from my personal preferences to the social demands and the influence of parents and teachers.
I never regretted choosing electrical engineering as my future profession because I consider this domain as one of the most important specializations of the next century. This specialization requires not only the profound background knowledge but also a particular turn of mind which would allow finding the ways for practical implementation of theories and principles in practice for reaching particular practical goals. The hypotheses which seemed to be only fantastic dreams in the previous century with the present level of development of electrical engineering sound rather realistic and might come true in the nearest future. I would like to participate in the future progress of humanity and make my personal contribution to it.
History of electrical engineering over the previous century
Though the origin of electrical engineering is dated back to the seventeenth century, the advances of the twentieth century had a significant impact on the sphere and revolutionized it.
The occurrence of the first engineering achievement can be traced to around 2600 BC, but the first electrical devices were constructed not earlier than 1660, after Otto von Guericke invented the first machine which could derive electricity from friction (Krishnamurthy & Raghuveer 1). In 1745 Benjamin Franklin conducted innovative experiments, demonstrating the electrical nature of lightning. At that time, friction and induction were used for producing the electricity before Davy touched upon the issue of the role of the chemical processes in the voltaic cells. In the first decade of the nineteenth century Oerst, Ampere and Savart researched the magnetic fields in the carrying conductor. Their studies were valuable for Faraday who contributed the principles of electromagnetic induction and energy conversion to the world science. The names of Samuel Morse who created the electric telegraph in 1837, Thomas Edison who constructed the first direct current generator in 1858 and Alexander Graham Bell who constructed a telephone in 1875 became the history of the world’s electrical engineering (Krishnamurthy & Raghuveer 2). Their achievements laid the foundation for further development of the domain and became the precursors of the progress of engineering in the twentieth century.
The twentieth century became the turning point in the history of electrical engineering. Wai-Kai (2005) noted that “the availability of electricity for industrial, commercial, and domestic uses has affected human society more profoundly than any other technology in the history of mankind” (p. 707). The invention of the Fleming valve (1904) and the triode (1906) revolutionized the domain of electronics and preconditioned the advances in the sphere which occurred during the First World War but were not disclosed to the wide audience. The origin of modern television can be traced to the year 1924 when the Western Union Telegraph Company offered the services of wireless pictures. Later on, the invention of the electronic scanner and other improvements predetermined the advent of television in 1950s. Along with the practical application of the scientific advancements, theoretical basis was developed and enlarged in the twentieth century significantly.
The measurement of the mass of electron by Thomson and Millikan in 1906 is associated with the tremendous progress in the sphere of atomic physics in 1900 – 1940. In this period Einstein also formulated his theories of relativity and interchangeability of matter and energy which were valuable for formulating and supporting new hypotheses in the sphere. Though radar was invented during the Second World War, the microwave communication was utilized in peaceful time as well. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology created the first electronic computer which used the binary system in 1945. Along with the construction of the first computer, the development of integrated circuits I the sixties is recognized as the most revolutionary achievement in the domain of electrical engineering over the previous century. The integrated circuits, also known as electronic circuits or microchips allowed engineers to reduce the size and cost of the electrical systems dramatically. The advances in design of the integrated circuits are associated with the increased sophistication and reliability of the wide range of measuring instruments and consumer-oriented devices.
The availability of electricity, the development of the integrated circuits, and following sophistication of the design of instruments and devices indicated the enormous progress in electrical engineering over the previous century which made further advances possible.
Future of electrical engineering in the next century
The present day level of electrical engineering not only broadened the scope of possible practical application of the engineering advances, but also predetermined the speed of further development of the field. The main spheres for application of theoretical knowledge in the future include the environmental protection and the health care.
Taking into account the experience of the previous decades and recognizing the enormous potential of present day engineering advances, the contemporary electrical engineering not only concentrate their efforts on making people’s lives more convenient, but also pay attention to the protection of the environment. Within the recent decades, there was a shift from the narrow interest towards globalization of the electrical engineering researches. At present, the electrical engineers are inclined to contribute to the solution of the global problems, pointing at the possible ways for practical application of the advances of electrical engineering for the benefits of the world’s community. Thus, after the electricity markets have been restructured significantly, the electrical engineering offered transmission pricing strategies for maintaining the supply security and the reliability of the system (Warkad et al. 1793). In the next century, the advances of electrical engineering would allow not only using the existing sources of power more effectively, but also developing the alternative strategies for utilizing the new sources and decreasing the negative impact on the environment caused by the human exploitation.
With the present day popularity of computer systems and the overall computerization of industry and business as well the popularity of e-commerce and social networking, it is possible that further development will take place in the domain of the registration of migration of population. With the present day level of development of the integrated circuits, the predictions concerning the abolition of passports, customs and special control bodies which previously seemed to be fantastic, may come true in the next century. Thus, using microchips and the instruments of global monitoring and control instead of paper documents can be not only a more convenient but also a more reliable method of monitoring and controlling the migration of population. Though the ethical dilemma of overall control of an individual by the governmental bodies is crucial for the implementation of the advances of electrical engineering in this domain, it is possible that it would be solved over the next century. It is possible to hypothesize that another focus of electrical engineering would be on the abolition of currency and replacing it with the microchips of particular design. The recent improvements in the design and size of integrated circuits leave space for future progress and not only leave space for further advances but also accelerate the tempos of evolution.
Another sphere of electrical engineering which would be advanced over the next century is the construction of automobiles and the transportation in general. The retrospective studies demonstrate how advantageous the advent of microchips for the car building industry was (Hambley 674). The progress associated with the advances in the domain of incorporating the integrated circuits into the automobile constructions is not expected to finish over the next century. On the contrary, further advancements in this field are hypothesized by not only the leaders of the car making industry but also the engineers working in the sphere. The principle of globalization can be applied to this issue as well. At present, the majority of the companies work on creating the models which would allow economizing the fuel and causing less damage to the environment. Hopefully, their efforts would be crowned with success over the next decades.
In general, the main spheres for further advances of electrical engineering include the application the advances of engineering thought to the spheres of environmental protection, more reasonable distribution of resources and abolition of the unnecessary procedures which could be compensated by using the integrated circuits.
With the present day tempos of progress of the electrical engineering, it is hard even to imagine where the engineers would come over the next decade, not to mention the century.
The electrical engineering provides plenty of opportunities for the realization of the creative potential and finding the possible ways for the application of strengths and talents. Thinking of my future career growth, I imagine laboratories working on the development of strategies for reasonable distribution of natural resources or creating microchips for the medical equipment and saving human lives. It s doubtless that the social demand for the specialist in the sphere of social engineering will only grow over the next century.
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Hambley, A. (2008). Electrical engineering: Principles and applications. 5-th adition. New Jersey,NJ: Pearson Education.
Krishnamurthy, K & Raghuveer, M. (2001). Electronics and computer engineering for scientists and engineers. 2-nd edition. New Dehli: New Age International Publishers.
Wai-Kai, C. (2005). The electrical engineering handbook. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Academic Press.
Warkad, S., Knedkar, M., & Dhole, G. (October 2009). Optimal electricity transmission pricing in a restructured electricity market. International Journal of Computer and Electrical Engineering, 1(4): 1793-8163.