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Electrical Engineering Vs Industrial Engineering

Electrical engineering and industrial engineering may seem like two sides of the same coin. They both require a decent grasp of mathematics and mechanical skills, a heavy dose of creativity, and a passion for solving problems.

Electrical engineers and Industrial engineers also work in pretty much the same industries, particularly the manufacturing, food processing, and telecommunications sectors.

Despite all these similarities, the two professions are quite distinct from each other with different applications in today’s world. 

Difference Between Electrical Engineering and Industrial Engineering

Electrical engineers deal with the development of electrical technologies, along with the installation and maintenance of existing electrical systems

On the other hand, industrial engineers try to improve productivity, quality of products, and efficiency of business processes.

Generally, industrial engineering has more of a consultancy nature than an engineering career. It’s mostly an office job, and it involves more business logic than complex mathematical tasks associated with engineering. 

However, industrial engineers get involved in designing manufacturing processes and product development phases, requiring them to borrow and apply knowledge from other engineering fields like mechanics and electronics.

Why Choose Electrical Engineering?

Electrical engineering has always been a relevant and in-demand course since many aspects of our lives depend on electricity. Therefore, electrical engineers have an abundance of opportunities in both the professional and academic realms.

Some of the benefits of studying electrical engineering include:

High Career Prospects

As mentioned earlier, electrical engineers are needed in almost every industry, including manufacturing, IT, aerospace, science labs, and gaming.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment rates for electrical engineers to increase at a rate of 7% annually between 2020 and 2030.

Read more: Can An Electrical Engineer Be An Aerospace Engineer?

No Monotony

Electrical technologies are always improving in terms of designs, processes, and outputs. Therefore, electrical engineers are always racing to keep up with these changes.

Consequently, the job has no monotony and it’s really hard to get bored as you won’t always be working with the same equipment.

No Geographical Limitations

Every country in the world uses some form of electrical power, and all the electrical systems operate under the same universal laws of electricity and physics.

This gives electrical engineers greater freedom to seek greener pastures abroad if they wish so.

Scope for Innovation

The dynamic of the electrical fields gives engineers more freedom to experiment and come up with new theories to solve their immediate problems.

Also read: Electrical Engineering vs. Telecommunication Engineering

Why Choose Industrial Engineering?

With many businesses redesigning their operations to reduce costs and improve productivity, the demand for industrial engineers will rise sharply in the near future.

Here are some of the benefits of getting an industrial engineering degree:

Very Versatile

Industrial engineering is applicable to a wider range of industries than most engineering courses as it isn’t too specialized.

Naturally, this leads to more job opportunities and options in case you need to change your career path.

Unlimited Opportunities

Industrial engineering combines engineering logic with business acumen and other in-demand skills like data analytics.

This makes it easier for you to choose careers or job positions, depending on your immediate preferences.

Positive Job Outlook

The job outlook for industrial engineering is extremely positive. According to the BLS, the demand for industrial engineers is set to grow by 14% between 2023 and 2030, translating to over 22,000 new jobs per year.

Basically, if you study industrial engineering, you’re almost assured of finding a job.

At a Glance

For more insights, here’s a table comparing the two courses:

Electrical EngineeringIndustrial Engineering
Academic RequirementsStrong background in physics and mathsCredentials in areas like product design, data analysis, and programming
Average Salary$110,000$93,000
Nature of WorkHands-onMore analytical
Area of FocusThe flow of energy in electrical devices and systemsReducing business costs and improving the efficiency of processes

Can Electrical Engineers Work as Industrial Engineers?

Electrical engineers can switch to industrial engineering by getting a master’s degree in industrial engineering. This is mainly because a bachelor’s in electrical engineering is an accepted qualification for industrial engineering courses. 

There might not be much scope or reason for an electrical engineer to work an industrial engineering job since electrical engineering pays more and is more specialized. However, there may be instances where making a switch becomes necessary.

For instance, a lead electrical engineer in a company producing electrical products can seamlessly switch to an industrial engineering capacity if promoted to management.

They can get more acquainted with business operations design, data analysis, and supply-chain management while using their electrical engineering knowledge for the best results.

Which Job is Best for an Electrical Engineer?

The most financially rewarding companies electrical engineers can work with are those dealing with electric vehicle manufacturing, computer and smartphone production, robotics, and aeronautic systems. 

However, the employment opportunities in the field of electrical engineering are so wide and lucrative that you’ll most likely love the work you do no matter the industry you find yourself in. 

Is Industrial Engineering in Demand?

The universal demand for industrial engineers is already experiencing a hike, which translates to a massive job market.

As competition within different industries continues to rise, many companies are turning to industrial engineers for actionable advice on cost reduction, product improvement, process management, and data analytics and integration.

Is Industrial Engineering Easier?

Compared to electrical engineering, industrial engineering is a much easier course. It contains fewer math-heavy concepts and mainly involves analytical work, which isn’t as taxing as electronic engineering. 

Moreover, industrial engineering is more theoretical in nature, making it seem more “friendly” than electrical engineering, which is engaging both mentally and physically. 

Which Engineering is Best for Industry?

Industrial engineering fits the business world better, due to its heavy focus on issues troubling most industries such as high costs and inefficient processes. 

The course also equips students with a deeper knowledge of the design and optimization techniques for different types of business and manufacturing processes. 

Admittedly, electrical engineering is better suited for some industries, such as the energy sector and the tech and telecommunications industries.

Also read:

Can an Electrical Engineer Wire a House?

Electrical engineers can wire a house since they know so much about electrical circuits and how electricity works.

However, most electrical engineers can’t do wiring on a commercial basis because they’re not licensed to do so. Only accredited electricians are allowed to wire a house.

Moreover typical electrical engineering courses don’t delve deep into the practicalities of electrical wiring.