Graduate students typically study a subset of four types of Electronics: Analog, RF, Digital, and Power. An emphasis on Analog and RF is the enabler to interfacing to digital embedded systems for sensing/actuation and wireless communication. The mobility of wireless leads to an increased emphasis on Power Management so that both communication and energy supplies are wireless. Analog, RF and Power Electronics are typically digitally-assisted or digitally-intensive to enable software and programmability to meet requirements of product performance that keeps improving.
The electronic content of many medical products are increasing as they become automated and networked: smart products, smart cars, smart buildings, smart factories, smart cities, smart grid, etc. This also leads to an increasing need to verify and validate electronics for all possible vulnerabilities in order to trust the performance, even under conditions of tampering. Two main paths to produce electronic content are through chip design and board design – with chip design including circuit board architecture to evaluate chip performance.
Students experienced in some or all of four types electronics are typically hired by companies creating either the electronic content, or product companies that incorporate electronic content into their products. Many students in this area of study find positions in companies that create their own electronic content in chip form within the analog, RF, power management, and digital hardware areas. Some students also take paths toward companies that are increasing the smart and networking capabilities of high tech products.