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Electrical Engineering Technologists


Electrical engineering has roots in the 1800s, when Alexander Volta discovered that electric current could be harnessed and made to flow. The basic rules and practical applications of electricity soon followed. Some examples include Michael Faraday's discovery of the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction, Samuel Morse's invention of the telegraph in 1837, and Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone in 1876. Other inventions that further developed the use of electricity included Thomas Edison's invention of the incandescent lamp, commonly known as the light bulb, in 1878, and Nicholas Tesla's invention of the first electric motor. More electricity was needed for these inventions, so the focus was on developing and improving equipment such as motors and transformers that could generate more power.

Two major companies that emerged from the development of electricity and electronics were the General Electric Company and the Bell Telephone Company. Edison established the General Electric Company in the late 1800s, and our dependence on electricity for our homes, businesses, and streets has since continued to grow. Alexander Bell's invention of the telephone led to establishment of the Bell Telephone Company, also in the late 1800s. The Bell Telephone Company has changed names many times in the years since, and is now known as American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T).

Other inventions that have played an important role in the growth of the electrical field include the radio and computers. In the early 1900s, devices such as vacuum tubes were invented that transmitted electrical signals, which led to electromagnetic waves transmitted for communication, or radio broadcast. Vacuum tubes were unreliable and soon replaced with equipment that could pass electricity through solid materials. This is how transistors came to be known as solid-state devices. By the 1960s, the microchip was created from transistors built onto tiny bits of silicon. Microprocessors were then developed, serving as miniature computers and used in various products, initially in such things as desktop calculators, video games, digital watches, telephones, and microwave ovens.

Scientists and engineers have since developed smaller, lighter, and more powerful computers that are able to perform a wide variety of tasks and store large amounts of data. Microprocessors today are found in the electronic controls of personal computers, mobile communications devices, automobiles, MP3 players, video games, telecommunications systems, and many other products. Electrical engineering technologists work for engineering service companies, federal agencies, and companies that manufacture electrical, electromedical, and navigational equipment and instruments.

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