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EE questions

  1. Mar 8, 2013 #1
    My name is Patrick, I'm 25 and for the first time I'm going to be going to school for my EE degree. I was curious if any current students could suggest books, links or anything that you can think of that will make my time in school either be easier or more successful or feel free to just post things you wish you would have known before starting school.

    My next question is for both engineer's currently in the field and students. I still have not got a thorough understand of this degree and its potential for careers so if anyone is willing to explain it more it would be appreciated.

    Finally I'll try to give some background on this last question and why I chose this field in the hope that doing so will get me some solid answers.I came across this degree because I like both the hardware and software sides of the computer industry and I would like to maybe get into embedded software or something else, this is where I'd like to know more about field, so I am curious what you can suggest for a laptop? I don't have room for a desktop.

    Having done some software work I know how intense compiling and other tasks can be on a computer. What I don't know is how important that is to this field. I just want to be as prepared as possible and don't want to continue to purchase laptops nor do I want to over spend if its not necessary.

    Any and all answers are appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    First, I'd suggest you find a copy of "The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill. Maybe you can find a used copy somewhere to save money on it. Or your local technical library should have copies (if they're not all checked out). If you can read that book cover-to-cover before you get too far into your studies, it will really give you a much better feel for what you are going to learn in your electronics classes. Here is a fun thread from the EE forum based on the book:


    Also, I'd suggest that you buy and build a few electronics kits. They are relatively inexpensive, and it gives you a way to start understanding how to translate electronics theory into working devices. Pick a couple kits for things that you want to have (like a simple signal generator, or other useful stuff), and have fun learning how to build them.

    Enjoy the ride to your EE degree! :smile:
  4. Mar 8, 2013 #3

    Thanks for the suggestion on the book I will try and locate that A.S.A.P. and get to work on that. How do you feel about the arduino's in conjunction with the other kits you have suggested?
  5. Mar 8, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Yes! Using uC kits/boards is a great step, so I'd encourage you to add that in. That gets you a long way toward your embedded HW/SW type of position that you said you would like to shoot for.
  6. Mar 8, 2013 #5
    Sounds like a plan then I'll get on doing that. I was just curious where can I find some good answers for other careers that I available to an EE it seems like everywhere I search I can get a totally different answer from the last place. I really appreciate the info as well its a help to know a good direction to start.
  7. Mar 8, 2013 #6
    Since you mentioned you like both the hardware and software sides of computers, it sounds to me like a computer engineering degree is the right thing for you. Of course, I don't know the school you're going to so maybe over there, Comp.E is considered a subdiscipline of EE.

    At my school, the two are separate degrees although they are offered by the same department and there is a lot of overlap in courses. However, there are some courses that focus specifically on computer hardware and software relations which is not something EE students are required to study.

    Some courses that both EE and Comp.E students have to take: Circuit analysis, digital logic, electronics design, signals and systems.

    Some courses that only EE students have to take: Power electronics, electromagnetism, RF design, nanotechnology, and semiconductor devices.

    Some courses that only Comp.E students have to take: Integrated circuits, VLSI circuit design, switching and digital electronics, object oriented programming, data structures.
  8. Mar 8, 2013 #7
    I guess it might help to explain myself a bit better and tell what it is that I do know (not a lot lol) and why I have a million questions. I originally started out wanting to do more programming, or so I thought, and I got into it and dabbled and it wasn't what I thought I’d be.

    So I sat down and thought about what I love to do and I like making things work and the idea of taking a pile of parts and making it functional is what I really love, part of the reason I got into car's as well. That being said I know about as much about electrical engineering as any of us know next weeks winning lottery numbers.

    I came about the electrical engineering degree after digging for about a month through various different majors and information about software engineering, which was close to what I wanted to do, then computer engineering which seemed to deal some what with what I wanted to do.Finally it was after reading an article on here about computer engineer vs. electrical that I came to my point now.

    I chose electrical engineering mainly for its versatility it seems or so I read that an electrical engineer can be a computer engineer, software engineer or do computer sciences with some changes but a computer engineer, software engineer or a computer science major can not be an electrical engineer without a lot of work. Since I’m still not certain what I want to do because of lack of knowledge I rather have a degree and a lot of possibilities then a degree in a narrow field.

    This is why I am trying to find out what careers out side of embeded software are out there because I am still uncertain about what I want to do. Also EE is in higher demand out here.

    Sorry if im being too long winded with responses.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  9. Mar 9, 2013 #8
    An EE degree can take you many places. In particular, embedded system designs are finding themselves in many places. The blend of hardware and software is always interesting; and an EE degree is exactly the entry point you'll need to go there.

    If you choose embedded design, I highly recommend taking a course on hashing and cryptography. Also do not overlook courses on subjects like fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. They will be key to understanding the systems you control.
  10. Mar 9, 2013 #9
    I must say that it made giddy the moment I read cryptography, fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. Every last one of those subjects interests me to no end so I have no problem taking those courses.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  11. Mar 9, 2013 #10
    Thanks for information on the courses you recommend. I appreciated the every bit of it as seen from my initial response. Its been reassuring to talk to so many people like yourself on here and its helped me not only to understand the degree a bit more but feel more confidence in myself about the exact position I would like to do.

    I just started reading "The Art of Electronics" and already trying to apply it to my current work. I'm a cell phone technician so applying this field to my work is helping to make things easier so I am eager and open to any knowledge I can gain no matter how large.

    As always please feel free to continue to post more information on anything else that anyone thinks will be of help to me.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  12. Mar 10, 2013 #11
    I am currently in industry working fulltime but I am completing my EE.

    I am considered an electrical designer hopefully untill I graduate. My company has hinted on just promoting me to an Engineer before I even graduate as long as I finish.

    Anyways; be prepared for tons of math. Engineering Academics is using math to solve problems. It can be hard to understand this if you never taken an engineering course. To give you an idea. Youtube "Statics Kinematic's Problem". Don't expect to know what is going on, I just want you to start to respect math. This stuff will become second nature to you once you go through a few courses.

    The first level electronic classes are very interesting. There is a few basic concepts that you will learn in your first circuits class that will take you a long way.

    Get familiar with two basic laws. Just sort of watch a youtube video of them. Don't get freaked out if you are confused..but I just recommend you watching a few tutorials on them

    Ohm's law and Kirchoff's Law.

    I think beginner level electrical classes are easier than mechanical because in electrical you have a way to check your answers.. You know straight up if you are wrong or not. It is using Kirchoff's Law. :)

    Don't research too much into it, your classes are designed to prepare you.

    Doing EE is a good choice, at my job all of our software programmers are EE's. All of our electrical engineer's are EE's. Some of our project managers are EE's. get the point?

    There is no computer engineer's at my job. We are a manufacturing site though, so this could be the reason.

    Stick with it and don't give up. It is a very rewarding field.

    And please take a 3d modeling parametric class for one of your electives..We need more electrical engineer's who can use 3d modeling programs :)
  13. Mar 10, 2013 #12
    Your reply helped a lot and helped to answer a lot. I am very committed to doing this but it helps when someone is willing to be upstanding and say its hard or its confusing so thank you for that. Ill do what I must to get this done and thank you for so much helpful information.
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