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Difference between engineering degrees

  1. Sep 6, 2012 #1
    Hey guys, I hope you can help me with this question. I'm currently studying engineering. When I applied to my college i told them i want to to electrical computer engineering but when I look at my degree online it says electrical engineering. So my question is, is there any difference between electrical engineering vs electrical computer engineering?
    Also my second question, I would like to know should I pursue 4yr engineering degree or should I do something in bachelors degree. I like to do more with my hands on and I love working with computers. I hate theories and anything theoretical.
    My friend told me to look into advanced manufacturing, if any could clarify to my what that is, and what will I be doing in this field, what kind of jobs can I get, if this pays good and if there is good job demand.
    Another option was given to me to studying something in IT or do something in software development. also if anyone could clarify. thank you very much, and if my post is wrong somehow please let me know how to fix it before deleting it. thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2012 #2
    Having your institution classify you as electrical engineering while you're in your freshman / sophomore year is okay, as usually you take all of the same classes. Your junior / senior year is when you start to take more computer engineering type classes such as embedded, DSP, etc. As you get further along and you are still looking at going ECE, then you will want to make sure your graduation plan reflects that so you can graduate!

    Generally speaking: The big difference with computer / electrical is that with ECE you will concentrate more on the digital side of things - microprocessors, FPGA's, DSP, state-machines, servos, robotics, etc. With a straight EE degree you will deal more with the analog side of things - power supplies, amplifiers, BJT's, Power FET's, Transmission Lines, 3-phase, etc.

    Both degree plans have you dabble on both sides of the fence so you have a basic understanding of both types of engineering and can pick up where your education left off when you get into the workplace. At least that was the way it was at my school.

    If you don't like highly theoretical and analytical work, then engineering may not be for you. I'd suggest a technical degree instead, which is more building, testing, hands-on type of work. Just be forewarned - when there are problems with a design you may or may not be the one troubleshooting the problem - it just depends on the culture at your place of employment - and you may not have the theoretical know-how to fix some of the problems without an applicable engineering degree. Generally speaking, however, technicians tend to do the engineers dirty work though. Although I have met technicians that can engineer circles around some engineers - but I'm seeing less of that the longer I'm working. The other side of that coin is that technician jobs tend to be less stressful (but not always).

    All said though - both engineering and technician jobs are important in getting a solid product to market.

    This has been my experience - your results may vary.
  4. Sep 6, 2012 #3
    It is interesting and sometimes confusing that a lot of schools have a major for you, but within that major you can branch out into different areas by choosing a specific program. The specialization does not get a distinction in your degree title usually, which can be misleading.

    My program was called something along the lines "electrical engineering with computer emphasis". The degree is just called electrical engineering, but because I took the computer emphasis program, I had to have so many courses specifically for "digital" electives, which included c++/java/lisp/web programming, FPGAs, VLSI, and DSP courses. That direction prevents you from taking as many "pure" EE electives as possible like power electronics or more advanced electronics, so you should be aware of what you will be missing out on. Its still an EE degree with all of the same core courses, and its still pretty different from what computer engineering students focus on.

    If you want more hands on and less theory, I think the computer engineering electives will help with that since they are not so attached to physics and math. I would only consider switching out of engineering if the theory is too overwhelming, because you should just live with the pain til its over, if you can manage it. Just my opinion though.
  5. Sep 6, 2012 #4
    "DragonPetter" "tindel" Thanks a lot for your input, it clarified certain things for me. What I meant by theoretical is something like science stuff, they try to prove what is not there. I do like math and problem solving. When you mentioned to switch out of engineering, what could you recommend for me, what kind of degree? would advanced manufacturing be a good degree? and what does it do exactly. I really wouldn't want to be going to college for years and then regret it all. is it maybe worth just getting a 2yr degree and find a job and then grow from there on? thanks again and sorry for my noob questions
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