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EE, Design or some other degree?

  1. Oct 16, 2011 #1
    Hello Everyone,

    I am a returning student looking at going into electrical engineering at UCDenver. I have a few questions I would like to ask before I devote $40k and 3 years to this degree. I'm 28 and I have a Bachelors degree from Southern Illinois University in Automotive Technology. I'm looking at getting a second degree because I've realized that even though I enjoy the study of automotive technology, I don't really like working in the field. So, now I have a technical degree that I don't have a desire use. Before I commit to another degree, I would like to have a good idea of what I can do with it.

    I'm looking at electrical engineering is because I would like to explore the career potential of a hobby I've picked up in the last few years; designs with Basic Stamps. I started playing with these while I was still in school at SIU after stumbling upon the website. I love the process of designing systems incorporating sensors and utilizing various output systems. The integration of software and hardware design opens up so many possibilities. I have an inventors mind and would like to make use of it. My past projects have included taping into the pressure sensor on my Subaru WRX to make a dash mounted LCD display of vacuum/boost and a wearable GPS system for snowboarding that reports data into an earpiece through a text to speech module. The Stamps are nice because they are easy to work with. And Parallax offers a variety of "smart sensors" which make the information they provide easy to access. But my options are very limited with this system and my lack of technical knowledge limits my design potential.

    I would like to work in an environment where problem solving using such systems is common. Basically, prototyping consumer electronics. The biomedical field has always interested me as well, especially sleep cycle data collection and analysis. I like to work hands on and see projects from concept development through prototype. Beyond the prototype, when the refinement stages come into play, I start to loose interest. I could see enjoying the design of property security systems or aftermarket automotive applications, which would allow me to utilize my first degree as well. These are just some examples, I'm very open to the details.

    So that's basically what I'm looking for.

    Is an EE degree where I should be headed, or should I be looking into design or another program?
    Is Denver a good place to be for this kind of technology sector? I could see California being a hot spot for such companies.
    Is there much opportunity for consult work in this field? For example, the kind of scenario where I could work from home and commute to whatever major city the company is based in for a few days each month.

    I'm contacting my school's EE department too, but looking for as much info as I can get.
    Thanks for the help.
  2. jcsd
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