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Difference Between Electrical Engineering and Electronics Engineering

Electrical Engineering vs Electronics Engineering

Electricity is probably close to the top of most important advances in human technology. With every major technological advance come new professions that deal with the aforementioned technology like electrical engineering and electronics engineering. The main difference between electrical engineering and electronics engineering is precedence as the latter is just an off-shoot of the former. Electronics engineering came much later, when electronics like vacuum tubes began to come out and has flourished with the emergence of semiconductors and integrated circuits.

There is also a major difference to the purposes that electrical engineering and electronic engineering have. When electrical engineering was created, the main problem being faced was how to create substantial electricity and bring it to where it’s needed. In comparison, delivering power is not really the primary concern for electronics engineers. For electronics engineering, the main concern is information; the transmission and or processing of information for an intended purpose.

There is also a notable difference between the amounts of power that the two professions typically deal with. With electrical engineering, the magnitude of power dealt with typically range from kilowatts, megawatts, and even more. At these levels, catastrophic failure can be very dangerous, even lethal. That is why safety measures are used to protect the person dealing with the equipment. In electronics engineering, the amount of power usually dealt with is very small; in the range of milliwatts to watts. Because it is the information that is of importance, keeping the power at the lowest possible level means reduced power consumption and heat generation, which can be a very significant problem in electronics. In this case, safety measures are also employed; but usually to protect the equipment than the person dealing with them. Even static electricity can permanently damage some electronic components.

The lines between electrical engineering and electronic engineering are beginning to blur due to some new technologies like power electronics. Power electronics uses electronic devices to transfer power as efficiently as possible without the use of bulky transformers. The flow of current is controlled by semiconductors that can restrict or allow it.


  1. Electronics engineering is an off-shoot of electrical engineering
  2. Electrical engineers typically work in power generation and distribution while  electronics engineers typically work with information
  3. Electrical engineering is primarily concerned with high power applications while electronics engineering is concerned with low power applications

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