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Considering electrical eng after a computer eng degree...

  1. Aug 20, 2015 #1

    I'm already a computer engineer and i'm considering doing a bachelors in electrical engineering. I currently work in the information technology field and i'm kinda not satisfied with the prospects of a career in the IT area, getting a bachelors in electrical engineering should be easy, since it has a lot of courses in common with computer engineering, the only courses that would be new to me are related to energy systems and power electronics. I pretend to specialize in power systems and control. But i dont have any electrical engineer friend to ask some questions before i commit to that. So here they are:

    Is this a stable career?
    Is the knowledge in this area, volatile?

    I'm not so good in electronics and to be honest i dont like electronics very much (specially integrated electronics), is this a deal breaker ?

    Anyone, working in power systems can give me an example of your day to day routine?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2015 #2
    Power systems is an enormous field, with engineers working in many disciplines. Thankfully its entirely possible to ignore electronics totally.

    I don't know what country you live in; but in the UK power systems enginering is one of the most stable careers imaginable; especially if you end up working for one of the "big six".

    Regarding routine; this really depends on what discipline you end up working in. You could do no better than to look at the careers pages of one of the big six:


    And look at the job descriptions.

    As a graduate, you would probably start on a graduate scheme; which involves rotating around the company, working in different departments for a few months. It would soon become clear where you wanted to work, and where the company thought you were suitable; and hopefully, they are the same place doing the same job!

    If you have any specific questions, please ask; but its best to narrow down first, because it is such a huge field of employment.
  4. Aug 21, 2015 #3


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    If you don't like electronics and don't feel that you are good at it, then I would NOT be an electrical engineer, especially with a concentration in power electronics.
  5. Aug 21, 2015 #4
    electrical engineers, especially worrking in power systems, do not need to specialise in electronics! You can spend a career designing and building substations, protection systems, generating systems and distribution systems withut worrying about electronic circuits! Thats what electronic engineers would be employed to do.
  6. Aug 21, 2015 #5


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    electrical and electronic engineers are one and the same. When it comes down to it, if you do not feel comfortable dealing with circuitry in general, you should not be working with electronics.

    There is little difference between an IGBT and a small BJT. very little difference between a 200 KW diode and a small led. the basics are the same.
  7. Aug 21, 2015 #6
    If you have a BS in computer engineering, why bother with a BS in electrical engineering? The two degrees are largely the same except for electives and a few courses here or there (depending on the institution). Have you considered going for an MS in EE or ECE instead?
  8. Aug 21, 2015 #7
    I'm am electrical engineer (power systems)

    I'm not an electronic engineer, and I very very rarely touch electronics (maybe replacing a board in a relay, thats about it).

    Electrical and electronic engineering NOT one in the same. Some people do both to varying degrees. Some do one or the other. Don't spread misinformation here - this is about education.

    Look at the link above for jobs in electrical (power) engineering. Most of them require no electronics beyond an understanding. Electrical engineering is a vast discipline.
  9. Aug 21, 2015 #8


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    where are you from, im curious.

    I am a power electronics engineer, and as you said power electronics is a large field, that covers everything from small power supplies to city distribution networks. don't accuse me of spreading misinformation based on your narrow view. It doesnt matter that you dont touch electronics, most power electronics engineers do. If the op is going to get a degree in it, he should feel comfortable doing it. most EE degrees in power electroncis will cover a LOT of electronics work.

    electronic and electrical engineer to me, and almost everyone i know, are one and the same and used interchangeably. when you say electronic engineering are you referring to digital design?
  10. Aug 21, 2015 #9


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    To the OP,

    I am curious as to where you are from.

    In Canada, where I'm located, there is not much difference between a computer engineering degree and an electrical engineering degree in almost every university that I'm aware of that offers such programs (the first 2 years are identical), primarily because in Canadian universities, a computer engineering degree can be thought of as a subset of an electrical engineering degree with a focus on the hardware aspects of computers (with some emphasis on software), unlike a computer science degree, which focuses more on software development and on the theoretical aspects or foundations of computing. I had originally thought that this was the same across different countries, but perhaps I'm mistaken.

    From what you describe in your post, it sounds to me like your degree program is similar, so if you take some elective courses in power systems (as a special student, if that's possible), then you wouldn't have to go back and get a completely new degree -- you should be able to transition into power systems immediately with a computer engineering degree. Perhaps other engineers on this thread can comment more.
  11. Aug 21, 2015 #10
    Hi StatGuy2000,

    I'm from Brazil, you're right, in fact there is a lot of similarities between EE and CE programs in general here, but there is regulation in what one engineer can do and the other can't. In practice, for the majority of jobs here, a computer engineer is a computer scientist that knows about hardware (and never needs to use this hardware knowledge) . I live in a region that only has information systems jobs like network and database management and web development. I'm kinda of tired of working with these because of things becoming obsolete quickly, as soon as you're good with a programming language or a framework, it gets old and you have to learn another one different to do the same tasks. I know that technology is a field that you have to study in your entire life, in fact i love that, what is upsetting me is that, as a developer, my life is to study web and mobile frameworks and languages to do the same tasks over and over again and to build systems that don't interest me, like a site for a hotel, or a mobile app to a tourism agency and things like that, things that don't involve science and physics knowledge.
    Yeah, i considered to do a master in EE before, but if i do that, i would still be a computer engineer ( limited to work with the same stuff as before ) and chances are high that i would go back to build the same kind of software. Believe me, the majority of the companies here don't build new technology, they don't need a guy with knowledge in neural networks, fuzzy systems, robotics, operating systems kernel, compiler construction, and all this kind of stuff that one learns in a computer engineering degree, they just need a guy to build an e-commerce in php or customize a site to sell for a client, or fix bugs in an old buggy system. Thats why i'm considering another degree, you're right, it would be easier to solve this problem just getting a master, but like i said, chances are high that it all go wrong and i would just waste my time. But i think about that everyday, thats why i post a question here, to see if someone could enlighten me.

    Sorry for my english and thank you for your patience.

    -- Edit --
    Forgot to mention that here, in some universities, computer engineering is a specialization of an electrical engineering degree, like you said, you do some electives and tada you're an electrical engineer with a specialization in computers, and other universities, they are separated degrees, and you become a computer engineer, not an electrical engineer with specialization in computers, mine is the last case.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  12. Aug 21, 2015 #11
    Only do another bachelors if you are completely sure that your original bachelor is something you can never work in or if you skipped so many classes you are still not really behind your age peers.

    Otherwise, do a masters. No point in parellel careers.
    You can rebrand yourself using the MSc.
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