2019 / 20
Studying Electrical and Information Engineering in Germany
Electrical engineers and information engineers develop devices and processes that generate, store and process energy or information
An article by Madlen Ottenschläger
That is what it’s about
The Internet of Things would not exist without electrical engineers. They work on smartphone sensors, which can measure, for example, the alcohol content in the breath or check at the vegetable counter whether a melon is ripe. Others develop surgical robots that can handle the smallest of cuts with the utmost precision, or cars that communicate with each other to prevent accidents. “The things that electro technicians develop shapes society,” says Andreas Schütze, professor at the University of Saarland and deputy chairman of the Faculty for Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. Because this is not only true for the present, but also for the future, ethical discussions are gaining momentum, such as the development of autonomous cars, robotics, artificial intelligence or Industry 4.0. Other current topics include renewable energies, e-mobility, medical technology and the handling of large amounts of data (big data).
This is how the course runs
The students learn how to generate, store and use energy. Increasingly, it is about renewable energy and e-mobility. In information technology, signal and message transmission is in the foreground. Learning systems, i.e. databases, mobile applications or networks that can control themselves, such as autonomous aircraft, are becoming more and more important. The first semesters are about theoretical fundamentals; besides maths and physics there are lectures on electromagnetic fields and electric waves. Students learn how to design analogue and digital circuits, process data and transmit information. From the third or fourth semester, they work in laboratories on practical tasks and practice the handling of test and measuring equipment. Those who study at a university of applied sciences often spend a practical semester in industry, practical projects take place at the universities parallel to the lectures and exercises. For example, the students develop a team-wide vehicle sensor that recognizes drivers driving on the wrong side or build a robot. In the higher semesters students choose a specialization. Automation technology, information technology, power engineering and medical technology are popular. Within these four occupational fields one can further specialize, for example on nano electronics or renewable energies.
Typical questions raised within the subject
- How can you transport electricity?
- Can electrical energy also be stored in large quantities?
- How do you filter relevant information from large amounts of data?
- What ethical questions does medical technology raise?
- How can you develop batteries that are more powerful?
- How does a smartphone filter noise, so that you can make clear calls at a train station?
- How do you teach robots to think?
The subject suits you,...
...if you are interested in science and have a talent for craftsmanship. Dentists need to be sensitive, because "patients see the oral cavity as an invasion of privacy," says Luthardt. As in all health professions one must want to help, even if a patient, for example, has bad breath. You should be able to structure your day well enough to do the lectures, treatment and lab courses - around 40 hours a week. The students have to learn a lot by heart. Other than that, studying is expensive: Instruments can easily cost several thousand euros. Some universities provide some of the equipment. Incidentally, two-thirds of the students are women, slightly more than in medicine.
Is there a numerus clausus?
The numerus clausis usually is in the highest graded area. The approval is currently being reformed.