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Engineering Computer vs. Electrical engineering

  1. Apr 22, 2010 #1
    Hi all,

    I have a big decision to make, and I'm looking for advice from those in the fields. I'm trying to decide whether to be a computer or an electrical engineer. For the moment, I have been dual majoring in both, but due to family reasons, I will be transferring to a new university in the fall semester. Were I to dual major there, it would tack on an extra year to an already overly-long degree plan.

    So, I need to choose one, and I'm curious: what do you guys think of computer vs. electrical engineering? If you're a computer engineer, have you ever lost opportunities because the job description calls for an electrical engineer? (And, the same question conversely for you EE's out there for computer engineering jobs.)

    What do the job prospects look like for either field? I currently have around a 3.8 (which will be lost in the transfer), and I used to have a TS/SCI clearance while I was in the military (expired in '09)... I'm leaning towards computer engineering, but I'm concerned I won't be able to find a job with it after graduation.

    Thanks, in advance, for both your time and advice!

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2010 #2
    I'm graduating with a B.S. in CpE, and I got my B.S. in EE last year, so I know what your talking about. All of the interviews I've had are for the CpE side of things, a lot of companies want to hire a code monkey with a hardware background, and anyone with a CpE fits the bill. As long as you have that CpE and a >3.0 / 4.0 GPA you will do fine, even in a down economy.

    Now weather or not this is a good thing depends on what you want to do. If you don't mind jobs like "applications engineering" or "test engineering" or "software engineering", then CpE is for you. If you want to go into design stay with the EE and get a masters (M.S. EE). The most important thing is to think about what you enjoy more, the CpE will likely land you some sort of programming job, micro controller programming, PC side test (for hardware) programming, GUI programming for test platforms, etc. Any kind of design work though, even on the CpE side (like digital IC design or microprocessor/computer architecture) will require a masters for entry into that field. If you like hardware, designing PCBs, playing with circuits, and doing schematic capture and layout, then a B.S. EE will work but jobs are not as plentiful and career options will (and this is a guess) tend towards management in the end (project management type jobs).

    The extra year to get the dual degree MIGHT help you if the economy hasn't recovered yet, it has given me an edge that has opened doors to the kinds of jobs I mentioned, though for what I want to do I need a masters. Others will argue that if you going to get anything beyond your first B.S. just go for a M.S. or M.Eng.
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