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Electrical or Computer Engineering: Which one is right for me?

  1. Dec 27, 2007 #1
    Next year I will be applying to colleges and I have narrowed my choice of majors down to the following:

    1. Electrical Engineering
    2. Computer Engineering

    While both fields interest me, Computer Engineering worries me a bit as I found AP Computer Science AB to be difficult (was getting a C so I waived the class). My plans for the future include working at a tech/consulting company after undergrad for a few years. Then go and get an MBA and then either go back to consulting or enter the financial sector (Private Equity, Venture Capital, M&A). Which major would suit me best given my plans for the future? I realize that there is a lot of overlap between both fields and could switch majors while in college but was just wondering which would be most useful for me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 27, 2007 #2


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    The degrees are essentially the same. In fact, they're usually only different by two or three classes, towards the end of the curricula. There's no need to choose one over the other right now. If you like math and think fields and antennas sound fun, take EE. If you think computer programming is more fun, take CpE. Don't expect either to be much use to you in the financial sector.

    - Warren
  4. Dec 27, 2007 #3
    If your ultimate goal is to work in the financial sector, I think it may be better off majoring in accounting/business/finance and then working towards a MBA.

    CE and EE at my school were pretty much the same. Except that computer engineering was more focused on computer design and architecture and EE was more focused on general electronics, like cell phones, etc.
  5. Dec 27, 2007 #4
    Wouldn't the quantitative and analysis skills learned in EE/CompE be applicable to careers in banking? Particularly S&T which many banks recruit engineers at colleges for?

    Also, another reason why I rather get a degree in engineering over a business related field is the job security and versatility it provides if I later decide to change career paths.
  6. Jan 1, 2008 #5
    like chroot says, they're almost identical. At my school, CE requires a few more classes. I once had the same dilemma as you, but then i started doing research in robotics, which is incredibly multidiciplinary. I enjoyed the topic of embedded systems and thus went the CE route. You can just pick one and then switch later. Here are a few important differences.

    1) if you do EE- you'll most likely miss algorithms, operating systems, topics in theoretical comp sci like automata theory, discrete math topics, maybe software engineering classes.

    2) if you do CE- you'll might miss out on electromagnetics, photonics, and further topics in semiconductor physics.

    EE is a bit more well rounded, while CE is more of a broad specialization of EE focusing on computing topics. If you're a devoted student, then surely you can take electives to cover any area missing from your field. I hope that helps
  7. Jan 1, 2008 #6
    as indirectly associated from the finance sector as these fields are, id say go CE. Programming would probably be more useful there than knowledge of circuitry.
  8. Jan 1, 2008 #7
    You can go to the financial industry with either degree. You will come out with great mathematical and analytic skills, as well as problem solving skills. I am an EE and I plan on doing the same as you (OP).
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