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Back in school at 55: what should I study, EE ?

  1. Sep 14, 2010 #1
    Hi, I'm back in school at 55. I have no degree but did 3 years of CS, some 30 years ago. I worked in Unix software and firmware, retired twice before already, then got tired of traveling and goofing around, and went back to work. After 9-11 I retired again, then got tried of travelling. So now I am in school part time.

    In the past few years at a junior college, I've taken Trig, Pre-Calc, Calc I, non-Calc Physics I and got As. It's fun but sometimes a drag to study. I do hobbies and exercise to get back in gear. Now that summer is over I'm back at the JC again.

    I was thinking of majoring in EE. But what's the hottest areas nowadays ? Mech E ? Chem E ? Kids ar school tell me that Mech E is popular and EE has sort of faded.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2010 #2
    Every discipline is the "hottest" these days. I would not listen to what kids tell you, but I would recommend you to study something that you LIKE. =)
  4. Sep 14, 2010 #3
    O.K. then. What's your major and why do you like it ?
  5. Sep 14, 2010 #4
    Computer engineering seems to be good. Mix of CS and EE.

    I went CE jsut because I spent 3/4ths of my life using, fixing, and building computers.
  6. Sep 14, 2010 #5
    I am a 3rd year EE at the University of Calgary. I like EE because I want to take things apart, rebuild it, program it, and see how it works. I am always fascinated by electricity and how it works. EE might not be the biggest "money maker" discipline, but it is one of the field in engineering that you'll love to hate.

    Now, I can see you have some experience in Unix software and firmware and I would recommend you to do a quick research on Software, computer or EE. Remember, EE is not programming heavy except a few semester, but it is math heavy (mostly calculus).

    I hope this helps and good luck!
  7. Sep 15, 2010 #6
    "Heavy in Calculus" Oh really. So that's what's coming up if I take the EE route. Is EE heavy in Single Variable Calc ? Multi ? DE ? LA ? or all of them ?

    Yes I did work in UNIX sw & embedded fw mainly for 30 years. I worked at UNIX hw and sw companies, fabless chip companies, wireless radio, cable modem, etc. companies. So I was always around EEs and electronics R&D types. My dad also was Jr College EE Tech prof. So that's why I'm leaning towards EE.

    But I realize things change fast. Very fast. So bio tech, genetic, dah dah dah is something to look into.
  8. Sep 15, 2010 #7
    EE will include all the calculus courses because if you are dealing with signals or filtering signals you will use it. I am taking a course in Signal and transform and we are using differential equations(Laplace transform) to solve some complex circuits then building those circuits and testing it on the oscilloscope to see if we get the respective result. Mind you, what we test on oscilloscope is the waves. So it's a good idea take some calculus courses.

    You should also be familiar with Linear Algebra using matrix and such because you will be taking digital logic course that you will use it A LOT.

    It would be a good idea to check with whatever college or University you will be admitting to because they can advise you better what courses to take.
  9. Sep 16, 2010 #8
    For your this reason alone you should be majoring in the field which interests you. In this economy and industry, you WILL face extremely heavy age discrimination from employers. No employer will want to take on and train an employee, fresh out of school, who is less than 10 years away from retirement unless you perhaps have a PhD or something of immediate value.

    I would advise against going into engineering entirely, unless you are doing it solely for the interest and love of the field. Do not get your hopes up for employment.
  10. Sep 16, 2010 #9
    Here in Florida jobs are tough. I'm already retired so yes I would be working for old friends and entrepreneurs. There's no space program anymore to rely on either. I can always ref soccer ;-)
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