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EE jobs that pay for grad school

  1. Sep 13, 2006 #1
    Is it pretty common for companies that hire Electrical and Computer engineers to pay for their employees to go to grad school. It seems like many companies would pay for EE's with bachelors degrees to go to grad school as long as the employee signs something saying they will work for that company for x amount of years. And of course the employees would work for the company while they went to grad school.

    Is that common?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2006 #2

    chroot

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    Most medium to large companies have, at a minimum, tuition reimbursement programs that will pay for a graduate degree. Some employers actively encourage their employees to attend graduate, while others are more passive. Most companies don't even require you to sign any kind of contract.

    - Warren
     
  4. Sep 14, 2006 #3
    What about your company chroot? I know you work for a kick ass electronics comany. Do they have some sort of reembersement offer like that? Did you go to grad school though it, or did you go to grad school before you got the job? Or did you not go to grad school?
     
  5. Sep 14, 2006 #4

    chroot

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    Yes, my company reimburses each employee up to $10k a year for tuition, books, or other educational materials.

    I am currently in my second year of Stanford's part-time graduate EE program. I'll let you know how it goes in a few years. :smile:

    - Warren
     
  6. Sep 14, 2006 #5

    That is freaking awesome chroot. Dude, I envy you so much.


    Are you going for your PhD?

    Is there a specific area you are specializing in?

    And what area did you specialize in for you bachelors degree in order to become an IC designer?

    And I am just wondering, what programming languages do you know, and which ones would you say are most important to your field?
     
  7. Sep 14, 2006 #6

    chroot

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    It's not that unusual.

    Perhaps, but, right now, it's just the Master's program. That alone will take me another four years, part-time.

    Probably signal processing, but I haven't actually chosen anything yet.

    I actually have a BS in computer engineering, which means I have more experience with software than with hardware. I began my career as an applications engineer, and learned all I could about hardware. The hard work paid off, and I qualified myself for a design position. If you're after a design position, I'd say specializing in VLSI design would be your best bet.

    C, C++, Java, Python, Perl, various shells, even a little Lisp. The most important are C++ and Python, IMO, but everyone does their work a little differently.

    - Warren
     
  8. Sep 14, 2006 #7
    Ya, I am debatting between Computer Engineering, and VLSI. Both are considered electrical engineering at my school, those are just different specializations of the EE degree.

    So how many actual computer science classes did you take?
     
  9. Sep 14, 2006 #8

    chroot

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    Let's see.. I placed out of Programming I, and took OO, Operating Systems, Data Structures I and II, and a few CS electives (Artificial Intelligence, Evolutionary Software, and Mechanics and Visualization).

    The only real difference between my CpE degree and a EE degree is that I took a few programming classes while the EE students were taking Fields I and II and Power Electronics.

    - Warren
     
  10. Sep 14, 2006 #9
    Do you wish you would have taken those classes instead of the extra CS classes, or do you find the CS stuff usefull in IC design?
     
  11. Sep 14, 2006 #10

    chroot

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    CS is essentially useless in IC design. I do write a fair bit of software to automate design tasks, but it's small part of the job, and the programs are relatively small.

    In the grand scheme of things, swapping a class or two is not going to significantly affect your ability or opportunity years later. Part of being a successful engineer is picking things up as you need them.

    - Warre
     
  12. Sep 15, 2006 #11
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't IC design just like most computer engineering jobs? Because as I understand it, another name for computer scientists is "Software Engineers", and in the same fashion another name for computer engineers is "Hardware Engineers".
    So IC design seems like it would certainly fall under the catagory of harware engineering.
    Why then do computer engineers take the extra CS courses if they are not useful to them?
     
  13. Sep 15, 2006 #12
    CS is a lot lot lot lot more than anything to do with software or programming in general!!!
     
  14. Sep 15, 2006 #13

    BobG

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    :bugeye: Must be regional. Most companies around here settle somewhere in the $3500 to $5000 range with the stipulation you have to pay it back if you leave within a year.

    Then again, with that one year stipulation, I may wind up being glad they didn't give me $10,000.
     
  15. Sep 15, 2006 #14

    0rthodontist

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    Software engineering is just one of the major disciplines within computer science. There is also artificial intelligence, graphics, foundations of computing, networks, etc. But anyway a computer scientist--even one who studies software engineering--is a researcher, not a software engineer.
     
  16. Sep 15, 2006 #15

    chroot

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    I should have been more specific with my earlier post -- CS is not useful to the kind of IC design that I do. Sure, if you're designing computer hardware, then a computer engineering degree seems like the logical choice, and CS classes would help tremendously.

    There are, however, many different kinds of hardware, many of which have nothing at all to do with digital computation. Modulators, mixers, analog-to-digital converters, boost and buck power converters are hardware; video multiplexers, clock generators, amplifiers, PLLs, laser diode drivers, and all sorts of other goodies are hardware -- and you won't learn a single thing about any of them in a computer engineering program.

    The world of hardware is much, much larger than just microprocessors!

    - Warren
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2006
  17. Sep 15, 2006 #16

    chroot

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    That's how it is out here in the silicon valley, anyway. As I've said before, the companies here are really rather symbiotic with the universities (Stanford and Berkeley).

    - Warren
     
  18. Sep 15, 2006 #17

    chroot

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    Just to answer this:

    If you end up doing microprocessor design, those CS classes are useful. They just aren't useful for my particular kind of work.

    If I knew before I graduated that I would end up doing (and enjoying) mixed-signal IC design, I would have pursued an EE, rather than a CpE. The CS classes I took are effectively 100% wasted in my current career path.

    At the same time, learning is really never wasted -- anything that you learn helps you assimilate more of the world, and understand things from different perspectives. There's nothing wrong with knowledge for the sake of knowledge. I took a couple of AI classes and a whole bunch of astronomy and astrophysics classes. Are they useful to me now? Not a bit. Am I glad that I took them anyway? Definitely!

    - Warren
     
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