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Courses Choosing classes in BSEE

  1. Nov 3, 2017 #1

    I have a question for engineers, and I'm hoping they can assist me in selecting the most beneficial classes while pursuing my BSEE. First, let me give you my background in case that helps. I'm in the US, and already employed within my desired field (generally). My job title/labor category is actually Systems Engineer; I qualified based on my somewhat unique practical experience gained in the military. I do not, however, fool myself into thinking I'm a real engineer. I bring this up so that you have some perspective in that I have a pretty clear understanding of where I want to go with my career, but am not 100% sure on the exact path.

    My desire is to design/build/R&D electronic systems in the RF domain. My background was in the T&E of already built systems, and some integration of systems. I want to create them. In the last 10 years, as an end-user, I saw my systems transition to almost entirely FPGA based. I was not a fan of them, originally, but have seen that in my specific field, they are here to stay and getting extremely prolific. Antennas blow my mind, but my research into the science behind them has scared me off that track, if I'm honest.

    At this point, here's electives that make sense to me:
    HDL and programmable logic
    Communication systems
    various upper-level circuits classes

    Can you see any glaring gaps in my plan? I don't want to graduate thinking I have education that applies to FPGAs and find out HDL was one little piece of the puzzle and I missed something more important.

    Thank you greatly
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2017 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF, and thank you for your military service (Army brat here). :smile:
    In my experience, almost all FPGA and ASIC and IC logic design is done in Verilog, not HDL. I'd check to be sure that Verilog is covered in that class.

    It also sounds like you could benefit from an extra upper-division EM class, if your university offers them. Have fun!
  4. Nov 3, 2017 #3


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    Gold Member

    I thought Verilog was a type of HDL, like C++ is a type of OOP.
    The main languages are Verilog used for commercial, and VHDL used for Military. If you know one, you can leap to the other, with some slight changes.

    I think all those classes are great choices for a systems engineer. Two things that you might want to add, if it is not already part of your skillset or covered in coursework.

    Knowledge of a computation language, like matlab. This will prob come with the other classes, and will help in upper level RF classes. The new big thing in FPGAs is using simulink to create model's and algorithms, then autogenerating the HDL, allowing you to bypass vhdl and verilog.

    A computer software class to supplement your dsp/fpga abilities. As a system engineer, it is a good idea for you to dip your hands in many things. While you may not be writing software, you might have to modify the software, or write test software for your fpga, etc. Knowing how to do that will supplement your skillset very well.
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