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Electrical Engineering vs. Telecommunication Engineering

Electrical engineering and telecommunication engineering are among the top two interrelated engineering majors. 

Electrical engineers can work in the telecommunication industry, while telecommunication engineers use electrical engineering concepts to perform their trade.

This post compares the two majors to help you make the ideal choice according to your career aspirations.

What is electrical engineering?

Electrical engineering is a division of engineering that studies electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.

You can divide it further into other sub-disciplines such as power generation, circuitry, transmission systems, control systems, motors, telecommunications, and remote sensing, among many different specialized categories.

What is telecommunication engineering?

Telecommunication engineering is a branch of engineering that combines the principles of electronics, electrical engineering, computer science, information technology to support and improve telecommunication systems.

Telecommunication engineers manage, process, and interpret data such as voice, text, calls, and video to connect users. They also design, develop, test, install, maintain, and repair communication systems to ensure they are working in order.

Quick Overview

Electrical EngineeringTelecommunication Engineering
Average Pay$90,275$95,736
Ease of finding a jobEasyEasy
Types of jobs you can qualify forControl EngineerProject EngineerSystems EngineerElectronics EngineerElectrical DesignerElectrical TechnicianSubstation TechnicianTelecom engineerData scientistData analystEquipment techniciansEquipment installerTelecom project managerLine installersComputer programmers
Difficulty of the majorHardHard
Key things to noteCan work in a wide range of fields
The average salary is not as high as other engineering professions
Mostly employed in the telecommunications industry
One of the most lucrative careers

Reasons to choose electrical engineering

The main reason to choose electrical engineering is that it opens up many opportunities in different fields. An electrical engineer can work in almost any engineering industry. 

Moreover, getting a job is relatively easy since engineers are scarce and always in demand. The annual salary may be lower, but this depends on the size of the company you intend to work for.

Reasons to choose telecommunication engineering

Telecommunication engineering is a growing industry with many opportunities for career progression, especially now as the world shifts towards science and technology.

People need to keep in touch through voice calls, video communication, and email, among other means of communication.

Moreover, the annual salary of a telecommunication engineer is relatively higher than other engineering professions. The only shortcoming is that you may have to look for a job, mostly in telecommunications.

Also read: Electrical Engineering or Information Technology (Guide)

Is telecommunication engineering part of electrical engineering?

Telecommunication engineering may or may not be part of electrical engineering.

As an independent major, telecommunication engineering is a standalone degree program, not part of electrical engineering. As a sub-discipline, telecommunication engineering can be part of electrical engineering.

In any case, it combines concepts of electrical engineering, electronics, computer science, and information science and technology.

Moreover, telecommunication engineers use the principles of electrical and electronics engineering to improve telecommunication systems.

Do electrical engineers work in telecommunications?

Electrical engineers work in telecommunications. Electrical engineering is a broad discipline that opens up numerous career opportunities for students pursuing this major. If you have a degree in electrical engineering, you can work in various industries, including telecommunications.

Electrical engineers don’t work alone in the telecommunications industry. They collaborate with telecommunications engineers to design, develop, install, maintain, test, and repair various wired and wireless telecommunications systems. 

These telecommunication systems include telephones, cellphones, satellite, internet networks, optical fiber, and broadcasting systems.

They also research, create test procedures, and write reports to improve telecommunication systems.

What can a telecommunication engineer do?

Telecommunication engineers are responsible for several roles, but their primary responsibility is to design and create communication systems.

They specialize in designing, testing, developing, installing, and overseeing the various technologies and communication equipment to keep users connected.

They also analyze the communication needs of a business or company and design or recommend the ideal equipment required to achieve that objective. Aside from that, they test and maintain existing telecommunication systems and equipment to ensure they remain in good working condition.

Telecommunication engineers may work in various fields ranging from satellite communication to television broadcasting.

Is telecommunication engineering in demand?

Telecommunication engineering is in great demand in developing countries and globally. After all, people have to communicate. Moreover, the industry keeps growing, translating to soaring demand for more telecommunication professionals.

Someone has to design, develop, test, install, and maintain telecommunication systems and equipment, and this is where the importance of telecommunication engineers comes into play.

Telecommunication uses voice, video, calls, text, and other data continuously, which requires the input of a professional to handle, process, and interpret this data in a meaningful manner.

Telecommunication engineers have the training and expertise to address these emerging needs accordingly.

Does telecommunication engineering have scope?

Telecommunication engineering has a large scope for innovation and career advancement, thanks to the boom in the industry. The sector is growing rapidly, and aspiring telecommunication engineers have numerous opportunities to advance their careers in various fields.

With your telecommunication engineering degree, you can become a:

  • Telecom engineer
  • Data scientist
  • Data analyst
  • Equipment technicians
  • Equipment installer
  • Telecom project manager
  • Line installers
  • Computer programmers
  • Telecom marketing specialists
  • Telecommunications systems manager
  • Information systems security manager
  • Site reliability engineer
  • Network engineer

Also read: Can Chemical Engineers Work From Home (7 Questions)

How much do telecommunication engineers make?

Telecommunication engineers are among the highest-paid professionals in the world. The salary of a telecommunication engineer depends on their level of expertise and overall experience. The size of the organization also determines how much an engineer earns.

According to, telecommunication engineers earn up to $95,736 per year. They’re also eligible for health insurance, dental insurance, paid time off, and retirement benefits.

Final verdict

Both electrical engineering and telecommunication engineers can be fulfilling careers. The ideal choice largely depends on your preferences and passions. 

If you enjoy working with electronics and electrical components, consider pursuing electrical engineering. If you love designing, maintaining, and installing communication systems and equipment, a degree in telecommunication engineering is an ideal choice.

But since telecommunication is a sub-discipline in electrical engineering, it remains a top pick for many aspiring engineers since electrical engineers can work in the telecommunications industry.