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Programs Computer Science versus Electrical Engineering

  1. Feb 20, 2016 #1

    My hobbies are tinkering on my computer and mathematics.
    Physics is not bad but I do not love it like I do mathematics.
    I like the logic and analytical skills that it requires. I like solving problems.
    I recently dropped out of Aeronautical Engineering because I simply did not like over 95% of my classes. Lesson learnt. Time to move on.

    I have been looking at two majors that are relevant to my interests: Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Computer Engineering is only taught on a Master's level here so that is not possible.
    I have to admit that Computer Science has the upper hand in terms of its curriculum.
    Electrical Engineering seems to be more hands-on and I myself am more of a theoretical kind of guy. I am not good at using my hands.

    My career interests are in: Artificial Intelligence, Cryptanalysis and computers.
    For Artificial Intelligence, I am more interested in data and learning than the mechanical side.
    The EE degree will probably be put to use to work on computers. I am not interested in energy and power.
    For instance, Google's self driving car and Nvidia's DRIVE are very fascinating! I'd rather work on making the AI behind it work than opposed to making electric engines for cars.
    Encryption over the internet and for instance creditcards are also interesting to me.

    Currently, I am more deviating towards Computer Science but that tends to fluctuate very heavily with me.
    The program here is more theoretical, satisfies my interest of logic and solving problems with algorithms and programming. A big part involves logic and AI. It offers courses in statistics, calculus and linear algebra.
    Electrical Engineering is more practical, also offers programming and the more theoretical side to physics that I like. It offers courses on QM and EM. It will also require: Linear Algebra, Statistics, Complex function theory and PDE's / ODE's.

    I do have to note that in either case, I'd like to my Master's degree in Computer Engineering.
    The Master's program in Computer Engineering is open to both EE and CS students so the bachelor program will not be a limiting factor.
    Also, a minor in Electrical Engineering is available but a minor in CS is not.

    Quite simply put, I am stuck deciding between the two.
    The people on here seem to know their stuff and always seem to give wonderful advice.
    That's why I decided to ask my questions here.
    • Given my interests, what would be the better option, between EE and CS?
    • What kind of jobs within those interests are either of the majors more likely to end up in over the other
    I am sorry in advance for the long post and for possibly rambling on too much at times, it's late here and my mind is getting dull. :-p
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2016 #2
    Sounds like your real interest is Computer Science.

    Find someone in your school administration to talk with to discuss questions like:

    Are Computer Engineering and Computer Science different degrees where you are?

    If so, how about finding out what are the common course requirements for both?
    Analogously, find out the common mathematical course requirements for both.

    Talk with someone from the school:
    "What EE courses would best prepare me to study for CS? [or CE]
    "Must I have an undergraduate degree to study CS...Are there options."
    What CS courses can I take as an undergraduate?
  4. Feb 21, 2016 #3
    First of all, thank you for the reply.

    To a few of the questions, I already found the answer online

    On a Bachelor level, the only option would be Computer Science as CE is not taught on that level.
    On a Master's level, they have both Computer Engineering and Computer Science. The Master in Computer Science focuses more on software and data, with courses in fields such as: multimedia, web science and software architecture.
    Computer Engineering is more hardware-related, with courses such as: compiler design, processor design, control theory and signal processing.
    They share no courses with the exact same name but they do have offer courses that are in the same area.
    They both offer courses in: algorithms, computer arithmetic, and cryptography.

    The courses offered in all of the programs can be found online through their respective study guide.
    The Bachelor program in Computer Science is very heavy in AI, algorithms and data manipulation.
    The Bachelor program in Electrical Engineering has predominantly been filled with circuit design, mathematics and power systems.
    The courses have their own specific name, which is not the same as in the United States so I can't give you the American equivalent of them.
    They don't share any courses by their exact name but the mathematics courses that both have as requirements are: statistics, linear algebra.
    Computer Science has an additional requirement, which is calculus.
    Electrical Engineering has complex function theory and PDE's.

    The Bachelor in Computer Science is directly admissible to the Master's program in Computer Science, same for Electrical Engineering.
    The only courses that I should take to make sure I will also be able to apply the required knowledge from Electrical Engineering are: circuit design and electromagnetics, which are included in the minor of Electrical Engineering I have found.

    Having written all of this and re-reading this has made me realize that Computer Science would suit me better.
    I suppose I just had to write everything down and have someone "confirm" that it sounds that it would suit me better.
  5. Feb 21, 2016 #4
    I'm surprised: When I studied EE in the US, many years ago, three semesters of calculus was required for EE.....but I can't recall using it all that much except for Fields and Waves in undergraduate and graduate school....

    I, too, liked math, so I took several elective courses in math and technical areas rather than some 'easy' courses. If you have a professor you really like, see what else he/she teaches and consider those courses if they relate to your interests.
    In graduate school I also took some two graduate level business courses after a summer job as a supervisor at AT&T. I guess they let me take those since I already had an undergraduate degree, but no business courses at all. In any case, I went into management rather than specific technical work as a result of new experiences in my last semester of graduate school.

    PS: You are also allowed to change jobs, maybe careers, after school; you'll be lucky if you are not forced to do that at some point. And you are also allowed to take additional courses while working.

    You can never take too many math courses, unless, maybe, you begin to find them less interesting.

    The first part sounds fine; not so much the latter. It's your job to figure out what you like. But getting feedback is always a good idea.

    Often trying to actually document an issue or problem forces you to think in somewhat different ways often helpful in resolving it.
  6. Jun 2, 2016 #5
    I figured to let you know what I went with in the end.
    Upcoming September, I will indeed be starting with Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam.

    Thank you for your advice.
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