Electrical engineering is naturally associated with a heavy reliance on math, but what math is actually required to work in the field?
Math and Problem Solving
Engineering is all about problem solving. It just so happens that most of the problems that electrical engineers, and engineers in general, run into require significant math to solve!
One of the most common areas of mathematics used in engineering is calculus.
Simply put, calculus is the study of change. It has a wide variety of applications in fields outside of pure mathematics such as science, economics, and medicine.
If you’re not a “math person,” the idea of studying calculus might scare you. Don’t let it! Despite its intimidating name, it can be an exciting and manageable subject to learn.
Calculus in Engineering
Electrical engineers make frequent use of calculus to solve problems with electrical circuits and voltage. Specifically, Maxwell’s equations are one of an electrical engineer’s primary tools to solve charge and current problems.
Maxwell’s equations involve a series of integrals and differentials, and thus place a heavy reliance on calculus. These integrals and differentials help engineers analyze rates of change and create safe, effective electrical systems and devices.
Taking advanced math classes or reviewing a basic calculus textbook on your own is a great way to prepare for engineering school. One excellent textbook for learning calculus is Edner’s Differential and Integral Calculus for Beginners:
This text is particularly well suited for aspiring engineers as the mathematical concepts it contains are geared towards applied scenarios.
Electrical engineering is a wide field
Engineers work on a variety of problems that require differing levels of mathematical knowledge. The bottom line is that any math preparation you do will pay off down the road in a career in electrical engineering.