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Electrical Engineering Overview

  The mission of the Electrical Engineering Program at Johns Hopkins University is to provide a stimulating and flexible curriculum in fundamental and advanced topics in electrical engineering, basic sciences, mathematics, and humanities, in an environment that fosters development of analytical, computational, and experimental skills. The program also involves students in design projects and research experiences, providing Electrical Engineering graduates with the tools, skills, and competencies necessary to understand and apply today’s technologies and become leaders in developing and deploying tomorrow’s technologies in a competitive global environment.

Degree Options

  • Undergraduate:
    • B.S. in Electrical Engineering
    • B.A. in Electrical Engineering
  • Graduate:
    • Honors B.S./M.S. program in conjunction with Computer Science
    • M.S.E. in Electrical Engineering
    • Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering  Career Options

  Your major in Electrical Engineering may influence the career path you choose, but it is not the only factor. Internship and research experience, extracurricular activities, and the skills you develop as a result of your academic and out-of-class experiences all influence the career paths of Hopkins students.

Internships and Research Experience

  To be competitive in today’s job market, it is important you apply the knowledge gained through coursework to the workplace. Employers value the academic preparation Johns Hopkins University provides, but they want to see how you have applied your knowledge outside the classroom. Internships AND research experience are essential to showcasing this transference. Stay updated on research information and projects happening within the Electrical Engineering program here. To learn more about internships, consult the Career Center here.

Extracurricular and Volunteer Activities

  Employers want to see your ability to work on a team and to lead a project. Involvement in extracurricular and volunteer activities is the most effective way to develop and hone these skills.

Develop Skills and Abilities Associated with Electrical Engineering

  As a JHU student, you will develop a diverse collection of skills transferable to your career despite your choice in majors. Here are skills and abilities you will develop as an Electrical Engineering major:

  • Communication
    • Communicate effectively and develop the skills to work on multidisciplinary teams
    • Propose prospective budgets based on engineering knowledge to fund foreseeable maintenance and other special projects
    • Teach/train others by providing knowledge, insight and help to understand ideas and/or procedures
    • Facilitate groups by creating and implementing a structure to enable group to meet stated objectives
    • Describe objects or events with few errors
    • Be receptive to criticism
  • Work independently (Initiative)
    • Maintain deadlines and manage time effectively
    • Apply curiosity and creativity to projects and small groups/teams
    • Make decisions that will maximize both the individual and collective good
    • Appreciate the contributions of art, literature, science and technology to contemporary society
    • Identify one’s own values and implement them in program structures
  • Organization and Accuracy
    • Organize and conduct research with accurate, detailed information
    • Predict future trends and patterns in areas related to engineering
    • Accommodate multiple demands for commitment of time, energy and resources
  • Critical Thinking/Analytical Skills
    • Apply appropriate criteria such as advanced mathematics, probability and statistics, basic and computer science to strategies and action plans
    • Identify, formulate and solve problems using evaluations, report experiments, analysis of statistics, and interpretations of data
  • Research and Investigation
    • Design systems after evaluating cost, safety, environmental and socio-political constraints
    • Illustrate knowledge of research protocol and awareness of professional/ethical responsibilities and contemporary issues
    • Apply a variety of methods to test the validity of data
    • Appreciate the societal, economic, and environmental impact of engineering
  • Technical/Lab Skills
    • Use engineering tools: laboratory instruments, computer hardware, software

  Additional skills may be pertinent depending on what career path you choose. Schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor to discuss the skills necessary for your individual career plan.

Electrical Engineering Career Prep

  A major in electrical engineering can prepare you for a variety of careers that are responsible for a wide range of technological skills developed as an undergraduate at Hopkins. Electrical Engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment and devices such as broadcast and communication systems, electric motors, machinery controls, lighting and wiring in buildings, automobiles, aircraft, computers, radar and navigation systems, and power generating, controlling, and transmission devices used by electric utilities.

  Many students seek internships and jobs directly related to their research and lab experience while others look for careers that draw upon their strong background in science and math to work in Government, Academia, Nonprofit and Private sectors. What you decide to do depends on your interests, values, skills and experiences. Taking the time to explore multiple career fields creates the foundation for an enjoyable career.

Career Paths for Electrical Engineering Majors

  There are many recognized specializations within the field of Electrical Engineering providing you with a variety of career paths as an Electrical Engineering major. Examples of specializations include:

  • Communications
    • Design transmission systems and switching centers. Develop, manufacture, market and service communication products. Analyze system capabilities regarding fluctuations in demand for service. Set and regulate government policy and balance rates and revenues. Design electrical and electronic aspects of a manufacturing facility. Address sound levels and noise pollution at work sites.
  • Control systems
    • Analyze and design automatic regulators, guidance systems, numerical control of machines, computer control of industrial processes, and robotics to identify system stability, system performance criteria, and optimization.
  • Electronics
    • Design circuits, components, equipment, and computer programs, and produce electronic devices toward the goals of improving the safety of travel navigation or the effectiveness of bionic replacements of body parts or the enjoyment of consumer and home electronics.
  • Power
    • Work with power generation, transmission, distribution, application or a combination of these tasks toward the goal of efficiently converting static forms of energy, such as water power, solar power, fossil fuels, and chemical agents, into usable electric power.

Industry Applications of Electrical Engineering Majors

  As an Electrical Engineering major, your skills can apply to a wide array of industries, some of which include: Biomedical Engineering, Communications and Networking, Computer design, Electromagnetic Engineering, Electronics, Electronic Materials and devices, Power systems and energy conservation, Premedical, Robotics and controls, Signal and image processing, Computer design, Embedded systems, Software Engineering: Foundations, Software Engineering: Systems, and VLSI Design.5 There are many fields directly related to your degree in Electrical Engineering:

Electrical Engineering Alumni

  Hopkins Electrical Engineering alumni go into a variety of career fields. The Career Center has surveyed recent graduates about their academic and career plans 6 months after graduation. Here is a summary of their responses.

Hopkins Alumni in Electrical Engineering

Jim Beauchamp- President, Xxcelerate, Inc. Mechanical Engineer & Electrical Engineering, Class of 1966

  1. How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - I had several friends who worked in the technical sales and application engineering fields My original goal was to pursue a position in application engineering or technical sales. I had experiences performing manufacturing and design engineering at Western Electric Co. & Ellicott Machine Co. summers, As a result I wanted to work directly with customers applying technical products to produce business solutions.
  2. What was your career path? What did you do as an undergraduate and as a graduate student to get to your current job? Was this a direct route, or a circuitous one? - Initially served as an electronic instrumentation engineer at Leeds & Northup where I was responsible for working with customers and prospects to helping them apply instrumentation products and systems. After two years, I joined IBM as a computer systems engineer. Participated in a broad education program on computer systems, software, programming and information systems design. Served Federal government scientific agencies planning and support the implementation of large scale IBM computer systems. Moved to the banking, utility and insurance team and performed as a sales representative and account manager. Joined Amdahl as a Federal Programs Director and successfully lead a campaign to expand Amdahl’s business among Federal civilian agencies. Then I took a left turn in life and moved into the information technology services industry becoming involved with external IT recruiter. This was attractive because it built on all my skills and experiences and moved me closer to having my own business. Then I moved to the New York metro area build a new business for my company in high tech engineering recruiting. This involved hiring a staff, creating an office facility, building customer relationships and connecting with lots of high tech engineers. Our team was very successful building a strong business that was cash flow positive within six months. I proved to myself that I could create a business. I returned to the Maryland area and after working for two IT contracting firms started my own business Software Consortium, Inc. We capitalized on the growing interest in PC technology and later client server and Internet technology. Our firm became the premier custom application software development firm in the Maryland. www.softwareconsortium.com. In 2007 I retired from Software Consortium.
  3. What advice do you have for current students, especially freshmen and sophomores? - A Johns Hopkins University engineering degree in any major is a wonderful foundation for many different career directions. I found that my Johns Hopkins education was very special because I “learned to learn” and it is the foundation of my life long learning philosophy and practice. Take advantage of the broad club and associate opportunities that Hopkins sponsors. Be open and flexible to any opportunity that presents itself. Aggressively pursue internships and summer jobs that may introduce you to engineering or related roles. Get familiar with the Hopkins Career Center early and utilize their resources and experts. Build your relationship skills and a personal data base of contacts at the university and within business. Leverage the Internet to research business and engineering opportunities.
  4. What is your typical day like? - This has varied though out my career. For most of my career my focus has been on serving customers and working external to my company. Adaptability, people communication, organization, discipline, focus, relationship building and continual learning have been key success factor in every position I have held. Contact me for more information.
  5. What's most rewarding about your industry and/ or job? What's most challenging? - The most rewarding aspect of my work has been my ability to control my own destiny by make choices that continual increased the flexibility and control of how I utilized my time and resources. The most challenging items have been to learn how to build long term business relationships and to learn how to work with people and organization dynamics.
  6. What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - In large corporations the entry level role usually involves lots of training and often a rotation between departs. This is very valuable in that the more you learn in the first five years the better opportunities you will have throughout your career. In mid size and small companies you are like to be thrown right into rigorous engineering roles where you must learn on your own and produce results. This too, offers you a wonderful opportunity to learn. Your choice is dependent on your personal style and needs. I suggest that engineering graduates focus primarily on technical and interpersonal skill development for the first five years. I also encourage engineers to pursue master level education in engineering while working. For people who want to stay in engineering or engineering management a MS in engineering is most helpful. For people who want to pursue choices outside of engineering liberal arts, MBA or law degrees open new doors. Advancement and career choices will naturally broaden as an engineer develop over time. Become the best in your technical specialty is the surest way to advancement within your engineering career.
  7. Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - Over the last 12 months I have been enjoying a well deserved period of R&R after a forty year career. I have been working on a volunteer basis for the Baltimore Theatre Alliance, the JHU Engineering technology transfer initiative and other Hopkins alumni activities. I am now pursuing multiple new adventures including CEO opportunities in start up firms, a new business opportunity in the energy savings field, business consulting, and opportunities in the outplacement business. I do not know where my life will lead me but I am keeping a very open mind!
  8. What skills and out-of-class experiences (i.e. internships, co-curricular activities, volunteering, etc.) are ideal for entering your industry / career field? - Adaptability, people communication, organization, discipline, focus, relationship building and continual learning are key success factor. I suggest you seek any opportunities that build these skills a critical to your success. Internships, co-curricular activities, volunteering, etc. are all very valuable. Shortly after my Hopkins graduation I completed a MBA in marketing at American University. This program opened new windows of learning early in my career.

Chris Aldrich- President / CEO, Aldrich Consulting Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, Class of 1996

  1. How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - I became interested in engineering after attending several engineering summer camps along with family influence. The medicine part came while volunteering in high school at a local hospital. The entertainment portion of my background didn't develop until after I had gotten into JHU. My original goal when I started Hopkins was to be pre-med and become a doctor.
  2. What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today? - I helped to start the film and media studies department while I was a student and ran the film series on campus for four years along with the MSE Symposium and working on several student film productions. This led me into the entertainment industry where I started out as an executive assistant in a large talent agency. This led to jobs as an assistant to a producer and ultimately to positions as a talent manager and talent agent.
  3. What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - My first job after college was as an assistant to a producer which led fairly quickly to an entry-level position at a major talent agency. It was in my current field.
  4. What advice do you have for current students, especially freshmen and sophomores? - Begin networking with alumni as early as possible. Cold call alumni in areas you might be interested in and ask them what their day to day job is like and what they suggest you do if you want to follow their general career arc.
  5. What is your typical day like? - My typical day involves reading trade publications and newspapers, some planning, lots of information gathering and then lots of phone calls. The engineering portions of my days involve careful layout of projects with clients followed by some heavy design and development work. Then there's lots of explaining and teaching of how devices should properly be used in the field.
  6. What's most rewarding about your industry and / or job? What's most challenging? - The rewarding part of the movie business is seeing the final product on screen and the reaction of the audience. The most challenging is the constant throwing of spaghetti at the wall hoping it sticks combined with the very long lead times for projects to finally come to fruition. In engineering the most rewarding is designing new research equipment that hasn't been used before and seeing clients utilize it in Nobel Prize winning work. The most frustrating is dealing with tremendously smart and educated researchers who simply and often surprisingly don't understand basic physics, chemistry, and biology.
  7. What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - Entry level positions in entertainment are terrifically underpaid for long hours and generally thankless work. To be successful, just suck it up, keep your head down, and slog through it with a smile. As soon as you realize the business may not be for you, get out quickly and find something else that might be satisfying.
  8. Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - More and more work will be produced for distribution directly online, so become highly web savvy. Realize the implications of the internet on the entertainment business.
  9. What skills and out-of-class experiences (i.e. internships, co-curricular activities, volunteering, etc.) are ideal for entering your industry / career field? - Running the film series like a business and making student films were the most valuable experiences I had at Hopkins to prepare me for the entertainment portions of my career.
  10. Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? - In two years they should be department coordinators at talent agencies or junior development executives at production companies or studios. In five years they should be junior agents or development executives. In ten years they should be well established agents, producers, or studio executives.
  11. Which professional organizations and resources should students look into or get involved with? - For the entertainment industry, students should be reading Hollywood Reporter and Variety on a daily basis to begin seeing how the industry works as well as absorbing general information about who is who and what projects are active in Hollywood.

Additional Alumni Profiles

    Networking with alumni and other professionals who work in these fields can help you learn very specific information about a career field. Use Johns Hopkins Connect to contact alumni to ask for their advice. You may also find professional contacts through professional associations, faculty, friends and family.

    For more information on what you can do with an Electrical Engineering Major go to What can I do with a major in Electrical Engineering.

    Want to know more? Read our Hopkins Career Profiles on Engineering. If you would like to talk about how your search is going, we invite you to make an appointment with a Career Counselor by calling 410-516-8056.

  LinkedIn.com - a professional networking site where you can identify Hopkins alumni. Join the LinkedIn Johns Hopkins University Alumni Group to add over 4000+ alumni to your network.

Electrical Engineering Grad School

  The Career Center is here to help you navigate the graduate school search process. Click here for guidelines and preparing for Graduate School and Professional School.

  For information on the specific programs, the best people to talk to are the experts in your field you wish to study, faculty members and graduate students in that specific discipline. We strongly encourage you to talk with your advisor and other faculty members with whom you have a good working relationship. This will also help when you request letters of recommendation. The Career Center has a handout to guide you in asking for letters of recommendation.

Electrical Engineering Societies

  Involvement with professional associations is a great way to further explore your potential career paths as an Electrical Engineering major. These groups will not only provide materials and further resources to help you make your career decision, but they also provide essential networking benefits. In addition, many professional associations have student chapters at JHU. Listed below are resources for professional associations and the student chapters for electrical engineering at Hopkins: Engineering Honor Societies: Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi

  The Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) and IEEE’s Job Site

Other Electrical Engineering Student Groups at JHU:

  Stay up to date on JHU student chapters of professional associations for electrical engineers here

  If you are interested in joining any of these groups, contact the group and/or its advisor. Find this information here.

Electrical Engineering Links