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Cannot decide between Network Engineering and Telecom Engineering

  1. Jan 27, 2014 #1
    Hello guys. This is my first time posting in PF. So, let me tell my problem first.

    I have just finished high school and I will be entering college soon. The problem is, I cannot decide which course suits me the best. Whether it is Network Engineering or Telecommunication Engineering. To tell the truth, Network Engineering has always been my favor since I was 15. But when I reached 16, I learned Physics and Chemistry which then led me to be interested in Telecom Engineering. Comparing the difficulties, Network Engineering is easier and does not require an in-depth knowledge of mathematics. Though it is called Network Engineering, it does not really involves engineering. It is just about setting up networks, choosing the best connection type, keeping the network online, repairing servers and fix computer networks related issues. Telecom engineers on the other hand, is rather challenging. It involves electrical and electronics engineering and mathematics. The jobs are building routers, modem, antenna, telecom cables, providing customers high-speed data services, working with underground cables and fix telecom devices.

    In other words, these two courses is somehow related. It is like, network engineers use what the telecom engineers have made. I really cannot decide which one to choose. Both are interesting to me. I admit that I am really bad at mathematics but I have the will to learn. Besides, network engineers often take examinations like CCNA, Comptia Network+ and others to get a job. These examinations are expensive and I don't even consider to take one. However, I want to hear some opinions and suggestions before I take one step further. I don't mind the difficulties because both are interesting.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2014 #2
    Stay out of "network engineering." These fields are rapidly becoming one and the same thing anyway. Do not be frightened by the mathematics of information theory.

    These days, when we purchase a microwave radio, they come with Gigabit per Second interfaces, MPLS switching, and an internal TDM multiplexer for handling T3 and T1 signals. (Look up the terms I just wrote for an idea of why I am saying this stuff is converging). Yes, to an outsider, modulation theory looks very daunting. But if you do not understand it, you might as well decide to be some drone button pusher in the office. Even on fiber optic networks, they're using Quadrature Amplitude Modulation with multiple states to get the speed they need.

    There is a terrible disease that infests many offices these days suggesting that "you don't need to know these things". That's like telling a race car drivers that they don't need to know how engines, transmissions, aerodynamics, and tires work to win a race. I've worked with such people, and it's a drag. They're ignorant because they choose to be ignorant.

    The field you're exploring is really cool stuff. I studied it and I still keep track of what it's about. E-mail me privately and we can discuss all the really cool stuff you can do with this and where you can take an education like this...
  4. Jan 28, 2014 #3


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    I highly suggest for your bachelors degree you get a technical degree. That telecommunication degree will get you a job in networking. The same is not true the other way around.

    Also, have you thought about majoring in electrical engineering? It sounds like that telecommunication degree just teaches specialized EE courses.
  5. Jan 28, 2014 #4


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    Also I 100% agree with what Jake said
  6. Jan 28, 2014 #5


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    I agree that he should avoid the network engineering degree and go with telecom. I have also experienced the "you don't need to know these things" syndrome in industry (particularly automotive and specifically the big 3). It is quite annoying.
  7. Jan 28, 2014 #6
    Hi guys. Thanks for replying.

    I have never thought of majoring in Electrical Engineering because it is too wide and doesn't specialize into what I want. And the reason I choose Telecom Engineering because it is particularly related to Networking. I don't mind getting a job in the Networking field because that is my interest. If I were to take EE, then I would need to continue my study to a higher level which focuses on Telecom. Of course, I will gain more knowledge but this is just not what I want. Besides, I have never thought of studying further than a degree(at least for now). But if that is what it takes to be a good Telecom Engineer, then yes I would take EE first and specialize into Telecom.

    P/S: My college already offers Electronic Engineering(Telecommunication). Why would I need to major in Electrical Engineering anymore?
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  8. Jan 29, 2014 #7


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    electronic engineering(Telecommunication) would work. I simply said electrical engineering to give you an alternative.

    The EE major varies by school. at my school computer engineering, telecomm engineering, semiconductors, controls, all fall under the EE major and we split them up by concentrations. Other schools break them up into separate majors.

    The more technical your degree is, the more you will be able to do.
  9. Jan 29, 2014 #8
    Seems like Electronic Engineering(Telecommunication) will be my choice. I don't waste to learn an engineering that is only related to telecommunication. I want an engineering that specially focuses on it.

    Thanks everyone for enlightening me. I could see now why Network Engineering is out of choice. Electrical Engineering is fine but I don't want to learn something that is not in my interest.
  10. Jan 30, 2014 #9

    What is "Network Engineering"? I don't think you even need a degree for that. That is just a CCNA and some classes at your local community college.

    As far as Telecommunication engineering. That seems pretty vague also. RF engineer is a specialized job that EEs generally get into.

    Electronics Engineer jobs have a lot of Digital signal processing applications as well as RF.
  11. Jan 30, 2014 #10
    Well, "Network Engineering" has been a common term in the networking field. That's why I said earlier in my post that it does not involve engineering very much. It is just a term that has been frequently used. The exact degree name would be "Information and Communication Technology(Networking)". But it may varies depending on colleges or universities.

    However it is, I would go for what my college already offers. And it will be Electronic Engineering(Telecommunication).

    Anyway, thanks for replying!
  12. Feb 4, 2014 #11
    Yeah, network engineering isn't really engineering so much as what people might call network administration. Regardless, I wouldn't major in it. You're far better off choosing computer science in that case as it gives you the skills you need and then some.

    Also, there's probably going to be a lot more of these sorts of network/server admin jobs for people coming out of CS programs than the traditional programming/software career track. Just something to keep in mind.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  13. Feb 4, 2014 #12
    Some of these new trades that are starting up need to be careful how they are utilizing the term 'engineering', in my opinion. There is a huge difference between a Technologist and an Engineer.
  14. Feb 4, 2014 #13
    What you want and the availability of jobs are two different things.

    Electronic engineering can be broad or narrow. Being broad it allows you to move cities more easily, or get jobs there the demand is.

    You can always do a postgrad degree to get more specialised.

    Agreed. Just any anybody can call themselves an engineer (unless you are in Germany where the title is regulated)
  15. Feb 4, 2014 #14
    While in many countries anyone can claim the title engineer, the company name in countries such as the US may not have the word "Engineering" in it unless there is a Registered Professional Engineer in that company to take responsibility for what they design.
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