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Electrical vs Computer Engineering

  1. Apr 15, 2015 #1

    Rai

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    Hello, I'm currently enrolled as a Dual-Major in Electrical & Computer Engineering. To be honest I'm more interested in the software and computing side of the aforementioned disciplines. But there are only 5 extra classes over my last 4 semesters I would have to take and they are:
    -Electromagnetism I & II, Continuous Time Linear Systems, Analog Electronics and Communication Theory

    So my question is should I overwork myself with classes that semi interest me but I don't fully love or should I put more time into a smaller amount of classes that I'm more inclined to?? Objectively 5 classes isn't that much but once you pass a threshold of hours per week it seems to get exponentially worse.
    Is having more varied knowledge with less specialties(Less time to research software interactions for example) better as I can do all of the research I want after college??
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2015 #2
    Rai - My recommendation would be to take the 5 extra classes, since they provide you a more grounded education.
    As an engineer, you never know where your career may take you, especially if you develop new technology (which is likely).
    BTW - We will always need ANALOG technology, especially if something happens to take out our digital technology (like a
    super-volcano generating multiple EMPs).
     
  4. Apr 16, 2015 #3
    My engineering program only offered a degree in Electrical & Computer engineering. But you could take either the "Power" side or "Computer" side. There were only 5 or so classes that differed between the 2 sides.
    I took the computer path myself. Some of the classes that both sides had to take from your list included classes on communication theory (1 analog, 1 digital and 1 more general covering both). Analog electronics, Digital control systems (probably similar to your continuous time linear systems).

    I can say now that I'm working in a job that is more computer engineering, I've found the communication theory courses have been really helpful. I deal a lot with getting our devices to communicate with one another and having the basic knowledge has helped me understand what is going on a lot quicker.
    Analog electronics I've used to help build tools that people will use in the field to test equipment, and the digital control systems have helped me understand and talk about what our devices are doing better.

    I agree with Tom, I'd take the classes if you can, you never know when the information will become helpful!

    For note the classes that the computer side didn't take included:
    1 Technical elective (we picked 2/6 power side picked 3/6)
    Power Systems
    Electromagnetism
    Fields (these classes would have made electromechanics much easier when we took that class)
    Digital Control Systems
     
  5. Apr 16, 2015 #4

    donpacino

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    Gold Member

    I took both the electrical course and the computer paths in undergrad.

    Getting breadth in undergrad is never a bad thing. Like you mentioned there will be plenty of time later to specialize. Here is something to think about.

    Most modern electrical system will require some level of computer engineering, whether it be computing faults for power electronics, doing signal processing on a signal received by an antenna, or actually implementing a filter for control purposes.

    Lets say you get a job as a software engineer at a company that does a lot of RF work. It will help to have an understanding of electromagnetics and communications. If you do anything with controls Continuous Time Linear Systems will help you, among other things. Most computer systems, especially embedded, interface with analog devices. You will prob need the knowledge at some point.

    Many job for computer engineers will prefer that people have some level of knowledge in their industry. Taking those classes can help you. It will alos help basic understanding when in multidisciplinary and systems level meetings.
     
  6. Apr 16, 2015 #5

    donpacino

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    Gold Member

    that being said, you could take additional software/computer engineering classes during that time, so it is really up to you. Generally it is a good idea to have a basic knowledge of the areas your subject interfaces with.
     
  7. Apr 16, 2015 #6

    Rai

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    Thanks for the input guys, I'm going to go the Dual route. It's like what you all said - electrical devices interact with other electrical devices so the more the merrier.
    I also noticed when I get overworked(primarily due to procrastination) I feel like solely Computer is the way to go but when I'm in a non-stressed mindset Dual seems too good not to do.
     
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