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Engineering Physics with CS minor or Computer Engineering with Physics minor?

  1. May 26, 2009 #1

    Dembadon

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    Hello everyone,

    I have been spending copious amounts of time on these forums; reading, perusing, and researching how to best prepare myself for an engineering career. I must say that I have not found a better resource for such tasks. My reason for doing so follows.

    My wife and I have recently agreed that it would be a good time for me to go back to school. I have had a passion for building things and solving problems since I was a wee lad, and am addicted to shows that have anything to do with how things work. I also love the PBS program 'Rough Science'. I am 25 now, and have no question in my mind that I want to pursue a career in engineering with an emphasis in computers/technology.

    Here is my dilema:

    The University I am going to attend (University of Nevada, Reno) offers a BSc in 'Computer and Information Engineering'. After looking at the required courses (comparing them to the EE program), they seem to place heavier emphasis on software. There are lots of CS courses and only 5 EE courses (Circuits I w/ Lab, Electronics I w/ Lab, and Microprocessor Applications). I would prefer a more balanced approach to Computer Engineering as well as making sure I have a solid understanding of engineering and physics to be a valuable asset to my employer.

    Here are some possible paths I've come up with when considering my dilema:

    BSc in Computer Engineering with a minor in Physics

    or

    BSc in Engineering Physics with a minor in CE

    or

    BSc in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Physics


    I have a natural aptitude and affinity for technology and computers, so I would like to obtain an education that would prepare me for a career in fields related to either, while still giving me solid engineering and physics principes that would allow for some flexibility, if so needed and/or desired.

    If you've made it this far; thank you for taking the time to read my post. Your thoughts and/or concerns are greatly appreciated.

    --Robert
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
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  3. May 26, 2009 #2

    djeitnstine

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    Welcome to PF =]

    If you want a real job, go EP. If you want to remain 'really' flexible and still in technology go EE. If you just want a job go CE.

    But the real question is, what exactly do you see yourself doing? I mean Eng with emphasis on computers/technology is still pretty vague as you have shown (cus that's basically what engineers end up doing).

    But honestly a minor in CE would get you further than a minor in physics. All a minor in physics says is you know what happened in the last hundred years or so in terms of advancements etc...

    So if you really want some stuff to lean on and see computers all the time with engineering and physics...go the EP route with CE minor. You'll have a magnificent path awaiting you there I'm sure.
     
  4. May 26, 2009 #3

    Dembadon

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    Thank you, djeitnstine!

    What do I see my self doing? That's a good question. I just love to figure things out. I picture myself in an environment where I can use math and physics to create new things or make existing concepts and/or ideas better. I'd like to be the go-to person when something seems impossible to do and find a way to do it, or tell them, without a shadow of a doubt, that it can only work under such and such conditions.

    I have assumed the computer emphasis due to my adeptness with it. The more I think about it, though, the less important the emphasis becomes. I just want to use math to build things and solve problems. If that happens to end up being with computers, then good! If not, it really wouldn't be that big of a deal for me. As long as I could be doing what I feel like is the thing that makes me tick, if you will.

    Thanks again!

    --Robert
     
  5. May 26, 2009 #4

    djeitnstine

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    You have engineer written all over you. Can't solve today's problems without a good computer. Those three paths there have computers all around so no worries. EP is an exciting field, however extremely challenging nonetheless. Do some research on what they do and the tough challenges they solve.

    Just to give you an idea, EP's deal with satellites, space shuttles and space travel just to name a few. I'd be one too if I weren't already committed to AE.

    EE's also solve alot of today's problems too, just exciting in a different way. They do mainly electronics. Not sure what they do, I guess things like signal processing, electronic manufacturing, circuitry design etc...

    CE's do some cool stuff too but not nearly as exciting in my opinion =]

    Check out the 'should-I-become an engineer' thread
     
  6. May 27, 2009 #5
    In terms of finding a job, forget about minors. Pursue a minor if it interests you, but it really won't help you at all in the job market.

    I totally agree with djeitnstine that the question to answer is what do you see yourself doing... pick your major accordingly, and you can't go too far wrong.

    (And as someone who has an undergraduate degree in computer engineering... yeah, it's a lot of programming. Even hardware design is a lot of programming at this point, thanks to Verilog and the like...)
     
  7. May 27, 2009 #6

    Dembadon

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    Thank you for the replies!

    I guess my concern is that if I go heavy in technology (EE, CpE), would I miss out on getting to use physics? I would assume that computer related engineering is heavier on math than on physics. I realize that physics is math intensive, but I absolutely _love_ how physics helps explain natural occurences in our everyday lives. I would hope that I would get to use it often in an engineering field.

    --Robert
     
  8. May 27, 2009 #7

    djeitnstine

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    With EE, no. CE? Depends on what route you go, research etc...but generally physics is not a core concept used -all- the time.

    EE, physics is a must.
     
  9. May 27, 2009 #8

    Dembadon

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    Thank you for helping me with my decision!

    I have decided to pursue a BSc in EE, while still keeping an eye on possibly going for a graduate degree in physics or engineering physics afterwards.

    After reading 'EE, physics is a must' and seeing a comment made by chroot in another thread, basically saying that engineers (especially EEs) are applied physicists, I realized that an EE degree would probably provide me with the best chance to use physics and math to design, build and/or improve things. I will see where this path takes me. Maybe I will end up working in a field I would have never imagined!

    Not fully knowing where it will take me is inexplicably exciting. :)
     
  10. May 28, 2009 #9
    Sounds like a good choice. As a side note, I don't even see how a CE minor would be worth anything or what exactly it would entail.
     
  11. May 29, 2009 #10

    Dembadon

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    It is also not available as a minor at my university, possibly for that very reason.

    Should I take geometry and algebra II again, since it has been almost 8 years since I graduated high school? Much reading has told me that an EE degree will require a solid understanding of math. I think that taking those courses over again will make things a lot easier when I start taking the physics and calculus classes my first year.

    A good friend of mine told me I should just take a placemet test and possibly save some money. However, I am leaning more towards doing those classes over again so that the material is fresh in my mind. I want to do everything in my power to make sure that any problems I have will not be with the maths.

    Am I just being paranoid, or are my precautions legitimate?

    -Robert
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2009
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