One of NASA's most fascinating pictures is NASA's Earth at Night, which is a composite of hundreds of photos taken by weather monitoring satellites.
The picture is so powerfully telling of many aspects – population density, economic activity, and political power. Most notably, however, it shows how electricity makes cities alive at night, making it possible for people to do more than they would otherwise been able to.
But electricity does more than lighting the world up at night. If you look around you, night or day, you will find little that functions without electricity. Just imagine what life would be without it! Electricity is, therefore, a very serious business that a lot of people depend on in their livelihood. Because of this importance, it requires care and dedication in producing it, distributing it and using it in the many devices and machines that surround this. This care and dedication is what Electrical Engineering (EE) is all about.
As an Electrical Engineer, there are many things that you can get involved in. For example, if you are interested in learning about how electricity is generated and distributed, you would specialize in a branch of EE called Power. In the Kingdom, much of the electricity is produced using oil. Because of oil's scarcity, engineers are always trying to find better ways to utilize it, in addition to finding ways to substitute solar, wind or hydropower. Once electricity arrives at our homes and offices, there are many ways it can be used. Appliances at home, for example, such as the TV, the DVD, the gaming console, the PC, the washing machine, the fridge and many others all depend on electricity. But how do they actually work? Very often, these appliances depend on very small components called chips that take care of their operation. Studying how these chips, which can hold more than 2.6 billion components, are designed and manufactured can found in the Electronics branch. But electronics is about more than chips. The screen on the LED TV or the eye that captures images in your camera – this is all electronics. There are two other branches in EE: Communications and Control. More than ever, communications is playing a great role in our live, starting from enabling you to make simple voice and video calls with anybody in this world, to making it possible to deliver news and to trade across very long distances. It is in communications that you learn about how the Internet works, how your cellphone connects, and how your radio and TV receive their information. As for the Control branch, this is where you get to know how many things such as robots and smart buildings and cars keep working efficiently. Robots around the world are involved in many aspects from building cars and operating storage warehouses, to helping out in difficult medical surgeries. Robots have also travelled very far (all the way to Mars), going where it can be difficult or dangerous for humans to go. Smart buildings use control, too. Using sensors, a building can automatically adjust room temperatures, monitor water and electricity usage, and warn in case of fire or smoke. Cars, too, have now more intelligence than ever, with some cars having almost 300 sensors, all being used to give you a safer and more pleasurable driving experience.
Today, in Saudi Arabia and the world, there is a great demand for electrical engineers. Local companies like Aramco, SCECO, SABIC, Inara and STC, in addition to multinationals such as BAE, Boeing, Schneider, Schlumberger, Siemens and Telus – all have constant interest in electrical engineers across all branches. Here, at Alfaisal University, we have a world-class EE program that helps prepare you for the international job market, and that makes you able to take part in powering up the world.