While I would really have loved the title to be a pun on signal processing, I have to admit that today’s post is not about that esteemed branch of electrical engineering. Instead, I’m going to talk about mixed messages I’ve been receiving.
I had some colleagues from our university career center come and speak to students last week about the services they offer. Recently, the career center held a job fair, and one of the speakers said that many of the companies asked her where all the electrical engineers were. Apparently, the midwest has really had some serious job growth since the economic downturn in 2008, and there just aren’t enough students for internships and maybe even jobs.
While I appreciate that being the perspective from a career counselor, I spent a bit of time looking over the engineering entry in the occupational outlook handbook compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It says that over the 2008-2018 period, jobs for electrical engineers will grow at only 2% and electronics engineers will see no growth in jobs. If you compare this to the national average for all jobs, which is 11%, this definitely doesn’t look good. In fact, the fastest growing engineering fields are petroleum, mining, and environmental. Comparing electrical engineers with those fields makes the future seem rather bleak. Even mechanical engineers can only expect to see a 6% growth rate.
All of these look pathetic compared to biomedical engineering: 72% growth rate.
I hope that students will look these things over and take into consideration such statistics. While I don’t want to discourage anyone from doing something they enjoy, I’ve had several students say they wanted to go into engineering because of the good job prospects and stability. I think I’m going to start suggesting that more of them think about biomedical engineering.