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Dilemma about which MSc

  1. Apr 13, 2008 #1

    I am currently a bachelor student in Computer Science in Belgium. For the Americans here, a BSc is like undergraduate but takes only 3 years. I am really hesitating what MSc to pursue next. The university I want to go to offers 4 programs that interest me:
    - computer science
    - computer engineering
    - embedded systems
    - electrical engineering

    Nearly each program has a drawback for me and that's why I can't make up my mind. Maybe you guys can help me out.

    Computer Science would be the logical continuation for me as currently I'm a Computer Science student. However, during my studies I found out that I would like to know more about hardware aspects and a MSc in Computer Science focuses almost entirely on software. Plus, I really don't see myself programming every day for the rest of my life (I know that I can eventually go into management as I grow into a company, but still it will take me a couple of years until I get there).
    For those previous reasons, I think Computer Engineering suits me better. However, I am afraid the job prospects aren't as good as Computer Science. I haven't seen much job offers where they are looking specifically for a computer engineer (i.e, someone who knows about hardware). It is interesting to know about computer architecture and all but I don't think they are many jobs which require this knowledge.
    A MSc in Embedded Systems gets my preference. I think it combines software and hardware very well and I think it's more broad than Computer Engineering in a way (Computer Engineering doesn't do cell phones, PDA's, iPod,...). The major drawback with this study I guess is that it specializes too much and therefore I think it is more suited as a post-master study. This is what an electrical engineer told me. It is better to do a more general study as it gives you a broader view. She also told me that one can specialize a lot in a company. Many offer traineeships and specialization courses.
    I also find Electrical Engineering very interesting and I think it's the study that gives the best job opportunities. Although I don't know exactly what a typical electrical engineer job consists of, but I can imagine it involves less programming and "computer time" than a computer scientist (here, computer scientist = software engineer, as most computer science majors end up as software engineers). The problem is that I don't know for sure if I will really like the Electrical Engineering courses and if I won't miss the Computer Science courses too much. It's really the opposite in the way that Computer Science is pure software and Electrical Engineering is pure hardware (Embedded Systems and Computer Engineering are a combination of both). The problem is that because I'm a Computer Science student, I must do a preparation year in order to be admitted to the MSc in Electrical Engineering.

    I really can't make up my mind. Please correct me if I made some assumptions about the studies that are wrong.
    I also had a few specific questions:
    - how are the Computer Engineering job prospects?
    - is Embedded Systems really too specialized?
    - what is a typical Electrical Engineering job? If I follow this MSc, I want to specialize in Microelectronics. Is anyone in that sector and can he/she tell me more about it?

    Please add your own share if you think they may be useful.

    Kind regards,

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2008 #2
    Can anyone give me some advice please?
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