History of electronic engineeringElectronic engineering as a profession sprang from technological improvements in the telegraph industry in the late 19th century and the radio and the telephone industries in the early 20th century. People were attracted to radio by the technical fascination it inspired, first in receiving and then in transmitting. Many who went into broadcasting in the 1920s were only 'amateurs' in the period before World War I.
The modern discipline of electronic engineering was to a large extent born out of telephone, radio, and television equipment development and the large amount of electronic systems development during World War II of radar, sonar, communication systems, and advanced munitions and weapon systems. In the interwar years, the subject was known as radio engineering and it was only in the late 1950s that the term electronic engineering started to emerge.
The electronic laboratories (Bell Labs in the United States for instance) created and subsidized by large corporations in the industries of radio, television, and telephone equipment began churning out a series of electronic advances. In 1948, came the transistor and in 1960, the integrated circuit to revolutionize the electronic industry. In the UK, the subject of electronic engineering became distinct from electrical engineering as a university degree subject around 1960. Before this time, students of electronics and related subjects like radio and telecommunications had to enroll in the electrical engineering department of the university as no university had departments of electronics. Electrical engineering was the nearest subject with which electronic engineering could be aligned, although the similarities in subjects covered (except mathematics and electromagnetism) lasted only for the first year of the three-year course.