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Interested in Computer Hardware

  1. Dec 7, 2014 #1
    I'm actually interested in computer hardware now. I'm not sure whether i 'm interested in software or not, because I'm not exposed to programming languages yet. I wish to study IT. I 've heard those who take up IT have good job prospects , they have higher chance to get promoted and get higher salary. Should I take Computer Science of Software Engineering? Computer science is the combination of the study of computer hardware and computer software , am i right? Correct me if I'm wrong. Is there any course that emphasize only on computer hardware?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2014 #2
    If you want to do computer hardware, computer engineering or electrical engineering would be the best choice, but both of those will require some programming.
  4. Dec 7, 2014 #3


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    I would say computer engineering is the combination of the study of computer hardware and software.
  5. Dec 8, 2014 #4
    i read some online notes. I found that those things that EE guys learn is much more difficult than IT
  6. Dec 9, 2014 #5
    Electrical or Computer Engineering. You don't necessarily need to major in CompE. EE with the right electives would work.
  7. Dec 9, 2014 #6
    Computer science is very theoretical maths concepts and programming.
    If you want to do IT, do something more practical such as computer engineering. You will also see a bit of hardware and computer architecture stuff there.
    Computer hardware is not IT to my knowledge except for seeing it at a higher level of abstraction. You have to decide which one you want.

    If you do electrical or electronics engineering you will not learn IT, unless that university has a single course that includes everything and has different paths within it (some do this). You learn some programming but programming microcontrollers in C & doing matlab stuff as something on the side of the main dish which is electronics is different from doing bigger object-oriented programming projects and lots of stuff about algorithms and databases, and just basic courses in electronics.

    Whoever wants to do IT or software engineering, has to do computer engineering in my university, and they do learn some digital electronics and computer architecture stuff but it's heavy on programming and databases, with computer science and general foundation engineering subjects too of course, but you always have some freedom of choice anyway.

    IT is a variegated educational field: you can range from a simple technical and computer-oriented secondary school degree (i.e. high school level) and do simple tech support, to shorter university of applied sciences/vocational university/community college degrees explicitly aimed at creating practical IT professionals, to full-on masters in computer engineering, which mean you can be a software engineer and/or do much more complicated IT stuff (big companies and their ERP servers I guess, I'm not IT so I wouldn't know, I just know that banks pay them a lot and bring them in from across the world).

    If you want to work in IT, are fine with doing lots of programming and you like it, but also want to learn stuff like computer architecture (but not actual electronics and analog stuff), I think computer engineering is a good choice, in most countries you have enough freedom in choosing the courses that you can orient it more on where you like it.

    If you discover you hate programming during the first year, in most countries/universities you can change to another engineering course on the following year without time wasted and troubles (at worst 1-2 exams you have to take in addition), especially if it's a close field, as the first year courses are almost the same for everybody (physics, analysis, linear algebra, basic computer science and programming, economy and/or chemistry) so don't sweat it too much.

    It's better if you start doing some programming tutorials on the internet right now though, to see if you find it interesting or not. I did before going to university, and gained the awareness that I somewhat liked it but did not want to make my study field out of it as I don't find the more advanced computer science concepts that interesting.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  8. Dec 11, 2014 #7
    Hi, installation of hard disk , ram , dvd drive , troubleshooting computer are the jobs for whose do computer engineering? Computer engineering can be regraded as Electrical and electronics engineering with major in computer ?? Engineering students also learn programming , am i right?
  9. Dec 11, 2014 #8
    to learn programming , the best to start is java . Am i right?
  10. Dec 11, 2014 #9


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    That would a better explanation for part of the job of an IT major.

    Computer engineering is more designing the electronics that are used personal computers and embedded systems.
  11. Dec 11, 2014 #10
    Any language gets you started and lets you understand if you like programming will do. Java is often used in schools so it's among the top choices that make sense.

    That's IT activities (and not very high skilled ones either, someone with an engineering degree would be overqualified or even worse overqualified and lacking the practical knowledge of people who went straight to work after a shorter education in IT), not engineering.

    The issue here is that IT can involve people from various educational backgrounds with a wide breadth of jobs.

    Most (probably all) engineering students learn at least some programming, but it may just be a basic foundation course and then it's matlab all the way, for the purpose of doing computations.
    Electrical engineers also learn a bit more low level stuff such as C and assembly (for programming microcontrollers and such), and then there's computer engineers who learn full-on software engineering.

    Electronics engineering, computer engineering etc. are closely related fields with many overlappings: the best thing you can do is pick a few universities where you may want to go and look at the study programs and course catalog, and see which corresponds to what you like most.
    Maybe in one university it will have another name and a slightly different program than in the other, but with all the courses you can pick yourself they may end up being very similar.

    Computer engineering in many places corresponds to electrical engineering with a concentration in computer engineering: I know of one university where it is that way, but I'm in one where it is not (they're separate degrees right from the first year).
    It's completely location-dependent.

    A more general idea: don't fix yourself on a specific job or task, it's something prospective students tend to focus too much on despite not actually knowing the wide range of jobs you can do in each kind of engineering, simply because it's impossible to understand it yet. You can name stuff from your practical experience like assembling computers, but that's all secondary school level stuff, it's not necessarily what you will be doing if you get an engineering degree, and don't let this deter you because if you are actually motivated to study and deepen knowledge about this stuff, you'll find the new options of what to do far more interesting.
    So just study what you like, you won't die of hunger with an engineering degree from a decent university anyway, regardless of what it is specifically.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
  12. Dec 11, 2014 #11


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    A bit off-topic, but the term IT worker or even programmer is meaningless in the United States these days because they run the gamut from people who reboot windows boxes on the low end to people who program computer vision algorithms for the Mars Rover on the other end. It is like calling everyone from the guy who changes your bedpan to a neurosurgeon a "medical worker". Meaningless.

    Back on topic, Computer Engineer / Electrical Engineer is a meaningless distinction because someone in an EE program who specializes in computer hardware gets essentially exactly the same education as someone in a computer engineering program. What matters is how you choose to specialize. EE is a nice major because it is so flexible. If you find you like it, you can specialize in electrical power systems or you can specialize in software with many jobs in between.
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