Electronic engineering, or electronics engineering is a form of engineering associated with electronic circuits, devices and the equipment and systems that use them.
Electronic engineering utilises a variety of different types of electronic components from the more traditional analogue components through to digital electronic components, microprocessors and microcontrollers as well as programmable logic devices. This means that electronic engineering can incorporate a large variety of different areas.
The field of electronic engineering includes a variety more specific electronic engineering fields including: analogue electronics, digital electronics, consumer electronics, embedded systems and power electronics.
When asking the question: What is electronic Engineering, it is necessary to understand that there are many different fields and disciplines involved within the overall topic.
Normally electronic engineers specialise in a particular field or area. This means that it is possible to select a particular field of interest.
Some of the fields within electronic engineering include:
- Analogue electronic engineering: Analogue electronics is still a major sector within the overall electronic engineering scene. With many analogue elements still being needed, analogue circuits are still widely used. Whilst analogue engineering is not as large as it used to be many years ago before digital electronics took off in a big way, the growth in the overall electronics market has compensated for this. Often analogue electronic engineering provides a stimulating environment in which to work.
- Radio frequency engineering: radio frequency electronic engineering has grown in its size in recent years. With many more systems using wireless links, everything from mobile phones to Wi-Fi, IoT, short range links and very much more, wireless technology is needed. Accordingly radio frequency design is in great demand.
- Digital development engineering; : Many functions are now undertaken using digital techniques. Accordingly many digital circuits are needed and this means that some digital / logic electronic engineering is needed. That said the demand for digital engineers alone may not be as large as anticipated. The reason for this is that much logic circuitry these days is accomplished within programmable logic chips . . . .
- Programmable logic engineering: With the complexity of many logic / digitally based circuits, an approach that is being used increasingly is one where programmable logic chips are used. FPGAs, and other programmable logic chips are widely used, enabling large amounts of logic to be incorporated into programmable chips. Using high levels design languages like VHDL, etc, the design is brought to within manageable limits. Also if the design needs optimising or changing, this can be achieved by changing the logic programme. This sector of the electronic engineering arena is growing, and the tools becoming more sophisticated and very interesting to use.
- Software engineering: There is an increasing amount of software contained within electronic products these days. As a result software engineering is becoming increasingly important. In many projects, at least two thirds of the development budget is allocated to developing the software – an indication of how this sector has grown.
- Systems engineering: Systems engineering is a particularly important element of the design of any item. In terms of this sector of electronic engineering, a system is any completed object. It may be a radio receiver, it may be a mobile phone, or it could be an item consisting of several individual items. The terms systems engineering refers to the fact that this form of engineering looks at the complete object or system, comprising of smaller items, everything from boards to complete units. It looks at the operation of the overall system, ensuing that the initial requirements are correct, and that the item is finally tested to ensure that it operates to its specification, and also to the initial requirements that were placed upon it.