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Can electrical engineers become programmers?

by clint222
Tags: electrical, engineers, programmers
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clint222
#1
Feb18-12, 10:14 AM
P: 36
Hello everyone!

Is it easy for someone with an electrical engineering education to become a programmer? Will anyone hire an electrical engineer to do development work?

I ask because I am still trying to decide between computer science and electrical engineering at university.
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physiker_192
#2
Feb18-12, 01:28 PM
P: 246
Yes its possible, but not the best approach I think.
Electrical Engineers learn many other things which you may find not so interesting.
A reasonable choice can be computer engineering, involves more programming than the typical EE degrees.

Edit: you should check the courses for the degrees before you apply and see which you like more.
clint222
#3
Feb18-12, 02:06 PM
P: 36
Quote Quote by physiker_192 View Post
Yes its possible, but not the best approach I think.
Electrical Engineers learn many other things which you may find not so interesting.
A reasonable choice can be computer engineering, involves more programming than the typical EE degrees.

Edit: you should check the courses for the degrees before you apply and see which you like more.
Unfortunately the computer engineering program at the university I am going to was very recently terminated, so I will not be able to do computer engineering there.

denks
#4
Feb18-12, 02:30 PM
P: 76
Can electrical engineers become programmers?

Are you interested in hardware or software? Yes an electrical engineer can program however the focus tends to be more on lower level coding e.g. C, C++, embedded C, assembly and other goodness associated with device drivers, real time control systems and the such. If you just want to program you would be better served with a computer science degree which will have a lot more emphasis on data structures, algorithms, discrete maths and the such. So if I were making the decision I would be thinking of whether my interest lies in control systems / device drivers / embedded systems or business apps.
clint222
#5
Feb18-12, 03:32 PM
P: 36
Quote Quote by denks View Post
Are you interested in hardware or software? Yes an electrical engineer can program however the focus tends to be more on lower level coding e.g. C, C++, embedded C, assembly and other goodness associated with device drivers, real time control systems and the such. If you just want to program you would be better served with a computer science degree which will have a lot more emphasis on data structures, algorithms, discrete maths and the such. So if I were making the decision I would be thinking of whether my interest lies in control systems / device drivers / embedded systems or business apps.
I'm not sure what I'm most interested in.
Mike706
#6
Feb19-12, 08:51 AM
P: 52
Logic design is a subfield of EE - that's done mostly with hardware description languages like Verilog and VHDL these days. You aren't writing software, you are basically writing code that describes a logic circuit for things like processors.
Dr Transport
#7
Feb19-12, 03:28 PM
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Right now, the organization I work for is only looking for computer engineers, mechanical engineers, optical engineers and physics majors. That should tell you something,
clint222
#8
Feb19-12, 04:11 PM
P: 36
Quote Quote by Dr Transport View Post
Right now, the organization I work for is only looking for computer engineers, mechanical engineers, optical engineers and physics majors. That should tell you something,
Why no electrical engineers?
PhantomPower
#9
Feb19-12, 04:52 PM
P: 14
I'm currently doing a joint degree in Electronics and Software Engineering. The subjects do seem to compliment each other. Any gaps you miss you should hopefully be able to fill in with some good books and practise.

Perhaps try and find a course similar to this?
clint222
#10
Feb19-12, 07:49 PM
P: 36
Quote Quote by PhantomPower View Post
I'm currently doing a joint degree in Electronics and Software Engineering. The subjects do seem to compliment each other. Any gaps you miss you should hopefully be able to fill in with some good books and practise.

Perhaps try and find a course similar to this?
I think I can do a double major in computer science and electrical engineering, however it would probably take around 6 years to complete.
PhantomPower
#11
Feb20-12, 01:52 AM
P: 14
Quote Quote by clint222 View Post
I think I can do a double major in computer science and electrical engineering, however it would probably take around 6 years to complete.
Unless you teach yourself programming (From the millions of publicatons out there) and work to build a portfolio of programming work?

I do not have direct experience with this but find it unlikely a company will take a software engineer fresh out of University over someone who can say I have done x,y,z - worked on open source project blah, blah,blah and still have a EE degree showing extreme flexability and a knowledge of hardware.
cristycs
#12
Feb21-12, 04:00 PM
P: 71
Anyone can become a programmer, no degree is required.
Dembadon
#13
Feb22-12, 12:31 PM
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Quote Quote by cristycs View Post
Anyone can become a programmer, no degree is required.
Just know that there's a big difference between a software engineer/computer scientist and a "programmer."
cristycs
#14
Feb23-12, 09:25 AM
P: 71
Quote Quote by Dembadon View Post
Just know that there's a big difference between a software engineer/computer scientist and a "programmer."
I believe the topic title was "Can electrical engineers become programmers? " not Can electrical engineers become software engineers
Dembadon
#15
Feb23-12, 10:58 AM
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Quote Quote by cristycs View Post
I believe the topic title was "Can electrical engineers become programmers? " not Can electrical engineers become software engineers
I realize that is what the title says. But the actual decision with which the OP is struggling is not mentioned until the final statement of his/her initial post.

Quote Quote by clint222 View Post
I ask because I am still trying to decide between computer science and electrical engineering at university.
clint222
#16
Feb23-12, 02:23 PM
P: 36
Quote Quote by Dembadon View Post
I realize that is what the title says. But the actual decision with which the OP is struggling is not mentioned until the final statement of his/her initial post.
Yes, I was more asking about if they can become software engineers I suppose.
micromass
#17
Feb23-12, 02:52 PM
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You don't need to study the full computer science degree to become a good programmer. Computer science involves much more then is actually needed to program. A lot of theoretical courses aren't really needed.

So consider being an EE and taking programming courses. I think you can finish this in a respectable time.
SophusLies
#18
Feb24-12, 05:45 PM
P: 222
Quote Quote by clint222 View Post
Hello everyone!

Is it easy for someone with an electrical engineering education to become a programmer? Will anyone hire an electrical engineer to do development work?

I ask because I am still trying to decide between computer science and electrical engineering at university.
There's a lot of people that are great programmers with no academic training so you will have the credentials to at least get interviews with a related degree. Whether or not you're actually cut out to be a programmer is highly dependent on your practice. I was a physics/math major that took 3 courses in software and then worked in software for 4 years. I breathed code after my 2nd year as an undergrad. Anything and everything I could get my hands I would write a program for it.

On a side note, I believe that electrical engineering is extremely versatile and I have met many "EE's" that have crossed into software, physics, and even pure math.


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