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Currently freshman EE, not sure what's in store for me!

  1. Dec 18, 2009 #1
    Hey there everyone, I'm new to the forums! I just finished my first semester in college as an electrical engineer. I didn't really take any "engineering" courses per se, but I was introduced to programming via Matlab. Next semester I'll be doing more math, more programming (C++), and an introductory course to digital systems.

    The problem is, I really don't know what I'm getting into. I was never one to tinker with electronics in high-school. I've never messed with a breadboard, I've never made a ham radio, etc etc. I feel that's almost a pre-req for this major. The reason I picked the major was because I like math, I like physics, and I like how the future of EE is looking. I'm sure a lot of you guys here are familiar with Ray Kurzweil. I've been reading a lot of his stuff lately, especially about the "Singularity", and I want to get on board. The whole field of nanotech, biotech, info tech, and cognitive science is booming now, and we are going to see some amazing things in our lifetime.

    Anyway, I'm just not sure what's in store for me. If I were majoring in EE, I think I'd want to do cognitive science, computer science, or maybe biology.

    Any input is appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2009 #2
    Most of the guys I know in EE are the same (and I know a lot, being in compE myself.) Plenty of guys go into the major because it seemed the best option, and never end up doing any tinkering. Especially the theory people who don't have to do any tinkering ever. If you want to do some tinkering, join a student club or competition and go for it.

    If you've taken physics E&M, well that's what you're getting into, except blown up into a thousand specialties. All that waves stuff can either be electricity (going down the path of circuits, control theory, power, and other jazz), optics, or communications, or something entirely different but totally related (remote sensing/sensors.) It's a wide field, and you'll figure it out as you continue in the major.

    Go or it. I do some cognitive neuro-psych research, and they like EE's cause the brain is a circuit and there's all sorts of stuff you can do coming from that perspective. There's also DIY eeg kits and signal processing of brainwaves and a lot of other great ways to meld EE with other fields.
  4. Dec 18, 2009 #3
    I even took a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_engineering" [Broken] course as an EE elective :tongue2:.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Dec 18, 2009 #4
    Great to hear. I definitely hope to get a minor in cognitive science if I keep up with my major in EE.

    I've actually got two more q's, though:

    1) What's the main difference between EE and CE (computer engineering)? My university offers both majors, but both EEs and CEs take the same courses the first two years. I assume EE is more general, whereas CE is strictly computers, and includes some more programming.

    2) While I liked physics, I didn't get the greatest background in high-school (I didn't do AP Physics, basically). I took one year of it my junior year. I'll be taking calc-based physics next semester. Should I do anything special to prepare?

  6. Dec 18, 2009 #5
    Kind of, but depends on the school. At mine, after the fundamental courses (those first two years) CompE's take more courses digital circuits/electronics sequence, the computer science fundamentals of algorithms and data structures, and courses related to computer architecture and the hardware/software bridge. EE's get more courses in all the different fields of EE and start specializing in something if they choose; they take all the communications electives or all the optics electives, or the control ones, or they just take upper level EE courses.
    (Man, I've answered this question so often lately I should just make it a blog post and link.)

    Take calculus? seriously don't bother worrying, but if you're totally freaked you can review your notes and books from high school, or use them as supplements. But the course is designed such that you don't need a background in physics to get it; if you do, the professor's doing something wrong.
  7. Dec 18, 2009 #6
    Much appreciated, guys
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