Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering (Key Differerences)

Are you torn between Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering in your academic journey? As an engineering student deciding on a major, you might weigh the pros and cons of these two vibrant professions. We’ll get into the key differences, job prospects, and potential career paths to equip you with the knowledge needed to make a well-informed choice.

StudyForFE’s solution is the FE Electrical Exam Prep Review Course! This valuable tool can help you achieve your goals as you navigate the complexities of choosing between electrical and mechanical engineering.

What Is Electrical Engineering?

man working hard - Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering

Electrical engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with designing, developing, and applying electrical systems, devices, and technologies. Electrical engineers work on a variety of projects, such as:

  • Power generation and distribution
  • Communication networks
  • Electronic circuits
  • Robotics
  • Biomedical devices
  • Renewable energy sources

Electrical engineering is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines, requiring a strong background in mathematics, physics, and computer science. Electrical engineers are everywhere, creating the pieces that make up your computer or designing trains and airplanes. This wonderful field offers a diverse spectrum of job opportunities.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says, “Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment. They also help ensure that equipment is running properly. They use problem-solving skills and their educational backgrounds to determine why equipment isn’t working.

What is Mechanical Engineering?

woman in a lab - Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is a scientific discipline that revolves around the iterative design, analysis, and manufacturing of mechanical systems. It encompasses various applications— from traditional areas like thermodynamics and mechanics— to cutting-edge fields such as:

  • 3D printing
  • Renewable energy
  • Electric vehicle design
  • Automation
  • Robotics
  • Nanotechnology

Mechanical engineers are often involved in creating products and systems that incorporate the principles of physics and mathematics to deliver practical, real-world solutions. 

FE and PE Exam Prep Courses by Experienced Engineer

StudyForFE is an online exam preparation platform founded by Wasim Asghar, a licensed Professional Engineer with over 15 years of industry experience. We offer comprehensive review courses like the FE electrical exam prep review course and PE power exam preparation course to help students pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Professional Engineering (PE) exams.

Interactive Learning, Practice, and Personalized Mentorship

Our courses feature interactive lectures, practice problems, and personalized mentorship from Wasim himself. Wasim has authored several highly acclaimed textbooks and study guides, including the FE electrical and computer review manual and PE power reference manual, which have become invaluable resources for exam takers. 

StudyForFE: Proven Track Record of Success Stories

With a proven track record of success, StudyForFE has guided numerous students, from recent graduates to experienced professionals, in obtaining their engineering licenses and advancing their careers. Many of Wasim’s students have shared their success stories, crediting his courses and mentorship for helping them pass the exams and achieve their professional goals. 

If you want to land your dream electrical engineering job, contact us today to learn more about our FE electrical exam prep review course!

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Comparing Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering

man showing plan - Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering

Job scope and focus

Mechanical engineering and electrical engineering are two distinct fields of engineering with different:

  • Focuses
  • Education requirements
  • Career and specialization opportunities
  • Salary prospects

Mechanical engineers typically work with physical systems, designing and testing mechanical devices. They may be involved in projects like:

  • Developing new automotive technologies
  • Designing HVAC systems
  • Creating innovative consumer products

Electrical engineers, on the other hand, focus on electronic systems. They conventionally work with components like:

  • Transistors
  • Capacitors
  • Microcontrollers to design 
  • Optimize electrical circuits

Both professions require a robust understanding of physical systems in different ways.

Essential job skills

Mechanical engineers need a keen understanding of mechanical principles and materials and problem-solving skills. Mechanical engineers often work with physical components and exploit various computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools like computer-aided design (CAD). 

On the other hand, electrical engineers must excel in circuit analysis, electronics, and programming. For the most part, electrical engineers utilize applied creativity to deal with more abstract concepts that are continually advancing. Nonetheless, given the collaborative nature of engineering projects, effective communication and teamwork are crucial for professionals in both fields. Both fields require a blend of technical expertise and strong soft skills.

Career opportunities

Mechanical engineers work in industries like:

  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Energy
  • Oil and gas
  • Manufacturing

Electrical engineers, on the other hand, are in demand in sectors such as:

  • Telecommunications
  • Electronics manufacturing
  • Power generation

Both fields offer ample career opportunities in various industries, allowing professionals to work on exciting projects and contribute to technological advancements.

Education requirements

Most employers expect electrical and mechanical engineers to have at least a bachelor’s degree from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Some engineers in both fields pursue a master’s degree to strengthen their skills and gain more specialized experience. 

Many schools with engineering programs offer a five-year track to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Since engineering is a wide field with applications in many industries, most engineering programs expect students to choose a specialization. 

Both engineering degrees typically involve a blend of coursework and laboratory research. A major in electrical engineering typically focuses on:

  • Electrical circuit theory
  • Equations
  • Computer science
  • Communications and controls
  • Magnetism
  • Signals

A mechanical engineering program may feature courses in:

  • Design
  • Physics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Engineering materials
  • Chemistry
  • Visual communication

Both fields require a solid educational foundation, although the specific coursework may differ.

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Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering: Which One Is Harder?

woman discovering Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Challenges

1. Tangibility and Hands-On Aspect

Mechanical engineering deals with tangible, physical systems, requiring a solid grasp of:

  • Mechanics
  • Materials
  • Thermodynamics

This hands-on aspect may be challenging for some, particularly when working with physical prototypes and machinery.

2. Complex Problem Solving

Mechanical engineers tackle complex problems related to:

  • Motion
  • Structural integrity
  • Energy transfer

3. Diverse Applications

Mechanical engineering has diverse applications, from automotive design to HVAC systems, that demand a broad skill set. Adapting to the varied challenges presented by different projects can be highly demanding for professionals in this field.

Electrical Engineering Challenges

1. Abstract Concepts and Theory

Electrical engineering often involves abstract concepts related to electricity, circuit theory, and signal processing, challenging individuals to understand these theoretical aspects. This requires a high level of mathematical proficiency and abstract reasoning.

2. Precision in Design

Electrical engineers work with intricate components like microcontrollers, transistors, and integrated circuits. The precision required in designing electronic systems demands meticulous attention to detail and a nuanced understanding of circuit behavior.

3. Rapid Technological Evolution

The electrical engineering field evolves rapidly with technological advancements. Staying current with the latest developments and adapting to new technologies is a continuous learning curve for professionals in this field.

Licenses And Certifications

friends looking at certifications - Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering

Both electrical and mechanical engineering require a license after a degree for higher and bigger opportunities. A Professional Engineering (PE) license is required for higher-level positions. Licensing is at the state level and requires a degree from:

  • An Accreditation Board for Engineering 
  • Technology (ABET)-accredited engineering program
  • Related work experience
  • A passing grade on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.

StudyForFE: Helping Students Pass Engineering Exams

StudyForFE is an online exam preparation platform founded by Wasim Asghar, a licensed Professional Engineer with over 15 years of industry experience. We offer comprehensive review courses like the FE electrical exam prep review course and PE power exam preparation course to help students pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Professional Engineering (PE) exams.

Engaging Learning with Personalized Mentorship

Our courses feature interactive lectures, practice problems, and personalized mentorship from Wasim himself. Wasim has authored several highly acclaimed textbooks and study guides, including the FE electrical and computer review manual and PE power reference manual, which have become invaluable resources for exam takers.  

Proven Results for Engineering Licensure

With a proven track record of success, StudyForFE has guided numerous students, from recent graduates to experienced professionals, in obtaining their engineering licenses and advancing their careers. Many of Wasim’s students have shared their success stories, crediting his courses and mentorship for helping them pass the exams and achieve their professional goals. 

If you want to land your dream electrical engineering job, contact us today to learn more about our FE electrical exam prep review course!

Salary Comparison

While both careers can be lucrative, electrical engineers typically earn a slightly higher salary than mechanical engineers. Electrical engineers earn an average salary of $93,386 annually, while mechanical engineers receive an average salary of $88,035 annually. Salaries for both roles can vary depending on your experience, location, and industry.

How To Choose Mechanical Engineering vs Electrical Engineering

woman in class - Electrical Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering

Several factors must be considered when choosing between electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineers focus on creating the moving parts in a machine or system, while electrical engineers concentrate on generating and applying electricity. Mechanical engineers build motors that use power, while electrical engineers figure out how to produce and use power.

If you enjoy assembling the physical components of a machine to make it work, mechanical engineering may be the right field for you. On the other hand, if you get excited about optimizing your speaker system by rewiring it, electrical engineering might be a better fit. Here are some key points to consider when deciding between these two majors:

Interest in Physics and Electricity

Electrical engineering is more related to electrical circuits and systems, while mechanical engineering is more associated with physics and mechanics. If you are interested in the characteristics of electricity and electrical systems, electrical engineering may be the better fit for you.

Problem-Solving Abilities

Both fields require strong problem-solving skills, but the types of problems you’ll solve differ. Electrical engineers often deal with problems related to electricity flow, while mechanical engineers work on problems related to mechanical systems and designs.

Applications of Knowledge

If you’re more interested in applying knowledge of electricity to create new devices, electrical engineering could be the right choice. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in creating the moving parts of a machine, mechanical engineering may be the better fit.

Passion for Hands-On Work

Mechanical engineering often involves hands-on work, such as building and testing prototypes. If you enjoy this work, mechanical engineering might be the better choice. Electrical engineering involves more theoretical work, such as designing circuits and systems.

The decision between electrical engineering and mechanical engineering comes down to your interests, skills, and career goals. Electrical engineering focuses more on electrical systems and circuits, while mechanical engineering focuses more on mechanical systems and designs. If you’re interested in creating the moving parts of a machine, mechanical engineering may be the better choice. Electrical engineering could fit you if you’re more interested in electrical circuits and systems.

Related Reading

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  • Best Electrical Engineering Books
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  • How To Make More Money As An Engineer
  • Future Of Electrical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering Degree Cost
  • Electrical Engineering Terms
  • Electronics Engineering vs Electrical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering Training Courses
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  • Best Electrical Engineering Graduate Schools

Land Your Dream Electrical Engineering Job With Ease With the Help of Our FE Electrical Exam Prep Review Course

StudyForFE is an online exam preparation platform founded by Wasim Asghar, a licensed Professional Engineer with over 15 years of industry experience. We offer comprehensive review courses like the FE electrical exam prep review course and PE power exam preparation course to help students pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Professional Engineering (PE) exams. 

Interactive Learning with Expert-Authored Resources

Our courses feature interactive lectures, practice problems, and personalized mentorship from Wasim himself. Wasim has authored several highly acclaimed textbooks and study guides, including the FE electrical and computer review manual and PE power reference manual, which have become invaluable resources for exam takers. 

Success Stories and Career Advancement in Engineering

With a proven track record of success, StudyForFE has guided numerous students, from recent graduates to experienced professionals, in obtaining their engineering licenses and advancing their careers. Many of Wasim’s students have shared their success stories, crediting his courses and mentorship for helping them pass the exams and achieve their professional goals. 

If you want to land your dream electrical engineering job, contact us today to learn more about our FE electrical exam prep review course!

wasim-smal

Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.