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Is engineering for me, I cant let myself leave it.

  1. Feb 2, 2007 #1
    I have been a Computer engineering student for a while now, I am currently in my 5th semester. Even so I am only at a freshman/sophomore level. Such as I am in Calculus 1 and Physics 1, though I am in higher level CS courses. I went into college and had to take some remedial courses and pretty much knocked out all my Gen eds in the 1st 2 semesters. The first school I went to had many more gen ed requirements than my current one so that slowed me down. My math coming into school was very weak as well as my sciences. The best grades i got in any of my classes was English. before coming to my new school my CS grades were very poor, but the school was also very poor, so now at my new school where they actually know what they ate talking about, I am at a B+ average. In my new school I ended up getting a D in my calc 1 class and I ended up taking a Incomplete in my physics class. though this time around I feel I am really doing a lot better.

    In general I have always sucked at math and for this reason I have not liked it. I have always had trouble in the physical sciences, but was spectacular in the biological sciences. I really do hate chemistry. But physics is alot better than chemistry.

    I have been constantly thinking of changing my major to something else, but I don't want to. I just cant do it. Nothing elses interests me, and Its kinda sad that what interests me is not something I excel at. Even though I am not the best at math, I see its uses. same with the other sciences. Thogh I always pictured myself as a earlier type engineer, one who build from trial and error, he didnt use math or sciences, just he knew this material cant hold this item so we dont do that. If I was to build a machine, I would probably choose just to skip all the math and planning and jump right into fabrication.

    ehh i dont know maybe some adivce would be great?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2007 #2
    I think you would be much better to take engineering at the Community College and you would be a very good Technologist. Good Luck.
  4. Feb 3, 2007 #3
    Don't leave it if you love it. Just change your approach. Is your big problem the math within the classes?
  5. Feb 3, 2007 #4
    You said you picture yourself as an engineer, but why a computer engineer?
    Do you enjoy answer questions about optimization issues? Pipling processors? designing functional units with VHDL or verilog? Or are you more interested in the EE courses that CE offers? such as micro controlers?

    I was in your same position, I did well in all my math/physics but I still ddint' realize what a Computer Engineer did, until I took a course in Computer Arch. I hated it with a passion! I soon found my love was for high level programming, not low level design. So I switched to Computer Science and Engineering which is like a CE but without the EE courses and some more math.

    Now here is a question...Do you love computers? If you love computers but can't handle the math, if you like to code or do networking but can't handle the math why don't you switch to Manegment Information Systems (MIS)or Information Technology Systems (ITS), or Information Systems (IT)?

    These are all fields that you can do programming or work with computers in but you don't have to take any high level math nor physics.
  6. Feb 5, 2007 #5
    Well the math is not something that lets say i cant handle, Its just that I have trouble with it. It just doesnt click for me. I can learn something in a class and then totally forget it in a few weeks.

    Why a computer engineer, well because thats what Ive always wanted to do design computer hardware or work in High level IT work, such as at a corporate level. I don't know what the rest of the stuff you mentioned really is, so I cant comment. I defiantly do like VSLI stuff, along with some algorithms. Im also interested in cartography algorithms.

    The problem with these degrees is I know it all already, I have worked Under a MIS grad and they are not the smartest folks on the planet, no offense to anybody. Id rather get a engineering degree and then do a MBA if I wanted managment of some sort. i feel anybody could get a MIS degree and I need something to set myself apart. The people who Ive seen go into MIS are those who couldn't do the CS course, I can do the CS courses its just the Math that kills me.

    I sometimes like high level programming, But I do much more enjoy low level. Its always been a dream of mine to work with semiconductors.

    Now like I said before its not that i cant handle the math, as I can it just takes so much work, its ridiculous.
  7. Feb 5, 2007 #6


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    Why does it take so much work?
  8. Feb 5, 2007 #7
    Well thats good that you are willing to work for it, i was going to say if you wanted the easy way out go for MIS. Its true, the people i know who are majoring in MIS party all the time, it doesnt matter if its a weekend or not the major is quite simple.

    I'm also interested in the same route you are but I want to get a degree in Computer Science Engineering and then later hopefully get into a mangement position. I believe we went over it in a another thread you can take a look at when I didn't know what I wanted to do.

    Turbo told me that his cousin is very talented programmer but only got a 2 year degree in a tehnical school and yet is now managing huge projects, so if you have the talent you'll find your way into a mangement position sooner or later.

    As a CE you'll probably have go go to calc III, then do differential EQ, not to mention signals system and transforms which is highly math intensive, all of these require calculus skills, not until you get into higher level math like Descrete Math is when you'll have to have a different mind set on math, its more proving with strong induction, combinatorics and abstract concepts rather than calc than you can visually see... so make sure you get a strong understanding of calc I. Because those integrals and derivatives arn't going to go away anytime soon.
  9. Feb 5, 2007 #8
    I was going to mention pursuing professional business school after undergrad but I can see that you are already considering that.

    What is it about the math that you suffer from? I really find that when I tutor math (granted, it's low-level algebra and geometry) that most people don't suffer from an inability to do the math, they put to much emphasis on memorizing formulas and the steps they see in the book without reasoning why they are doing those formulas and steps.

    This makes math a lot harder than it already is, especially if your memory is not very strong.

    Have you tried making yourself chapter outlines with important theorems, formulas, proofs, definitions, axioms, postulates, concepts, etc. in a way which can help you understand?

    I find it works best when I read through a chapter, create an outline, make sure I understand it inside and out, summarize it and then go work through problems.

    When I work through the problems, I like to repeat why I am doing each step in my head, what theorem or formula I am using and why, etc. I don't have a very intuitive feel for math, so instead, I constantly talk myself through it. You will find that you not only remember everything but you understand a GREAT deal of what you are doing.

    In this fashion you don't have to solve every problem in the book, instead you work through simple ones and gradually move to harder problems as you progress making sure to talk your way through each problem.

    I am sure most people on here don't need to do this but I do and it might help you. If you need any help with course notes or studying math, send me a PM.

    I am not as smart as these guys but I can try my best to help.

  10. Feb 5, 2007 #9
    Ive already taken discret math. Took it before calc.
  11. Feb 5, 2007 #10
    If you can handle discrete math then whats the problem with calculus? Our discrete math teacher would yell at us if we didn't understand something and follow it up with, why don't you understand? its as easy as calculus!

    Is it the algebra or actual calc concepts you don't get? or the graphing?
  12. Feb 5, 2007 #11
    They don't let us take Discrete until after some Calculus because integrals and derivatives are present and used quite often, I thought? If this is so, then you should actually be pretty good at math, right, considering you grasped it before Calculus? Then again, I haven't taken it and the only higher-level math courses I have started working through (independently, not formally) are various branches of abstract modern algebra or whatever it's colloquially known as.

    Perhaps it's just a random pre-req that they arbitrarily institute at our school and you don't actually need calculus?
  13. Feb 5, 2007 #12

    For discrete math you don't need any calculus, at most you need algebra. Its mainly doing proofs and strong induction, basic logic, combinatorics, sets, recursive thinking, stuff like that, I think the pre-req at our school is calc I and intermediate programming.
  14. Feb 5, 2007 #13
    OH! I have worked through some of that lately as well. Didn't realize it was called discrete mathematics. That involves stuff like graph theory, permutations (or is that a colloquialism for combinatorics?) as well, right?

    I guess they have Calc as a pre-req to develop some 'mathematical maturity'. Ill just work through the course on my own then take it when they let me.

    They don't let me take anything at my school even if I sit down and show them I already know how to do some of it. I hate CC.
  15. Feb 5, 2007 #14
    yeah they figure if you can't handle calc you can't handle that math either so usually they make calc I a pre-req for everything.

    No your right, there is alot of stuff on permutations and combinatorics, well 1-2 chapters but if your a computer science major they really hit you hard with them to devlop your problem solving skills. I think if your a math major you take a similar course but its called number theory.

    We didn't get into graph theory unfortunately not enough time, but in Data Structs and algorithms class i'll be taking in the fall they will for sure hit that stuff.

    At my school if its a pre-req and even if the professor says you really don't need that course to take this one, the bursars office will kick you out so i guess all schools are different.
  16. Feb 5, 2007 #15
    I am not sure I understood this well. You are saying if you don't take the pre-req and the professor approves you to take his course without the pre-req, they will kick you out anyways? Or did I understand incorrectly?

    I am retarded.
  17. Feb 5, 2007 #16
    thats correct, even if the professor approves the school will give u the shaft out of the class.
  18. Feb 5, 2007 #17
    Okay, that is the same at my school. I typed up some proofs and things that I am bringing to my math department today to show them that I know enough to be placed in some of the classes I want to take.

    We shall see if they consider me.
  19. Feb 5, 2007 #18
    Discreetmath was pretty much proofs and logic. he in bried is what we studied.

    4 weeks – Logic

    4 weeks – Methods of Proof

    4 weeks – Sets, Relations, Functions

    3 weeks – Graphs and Trees

    We did have Intergrals and Derivitives but mostly limits. It really depends. But I did fine with them because I just remembered the tricks and everything went swell.

    In my school dicreet is rated as math 191 and calculus for engineers and scientists is 141. so I guess its a higher level course, just the logic of the discreet made a hell of alot more sense to me than the calculus. Its not really the theories of calculus that kills me, Its the bloody algebra. All of these little rules and stuff that I just never learned before. Like I can understand the calculus in physics because its straigh foward, there really isint to much algebratic manipulation, but in my calc class the teacher just tries to trick the class and its messed up.
  20. Feb 5, 2007 #19
    Well I went to my math department head (I am at a community college) and explained that I have been working through Herstein's Topics in Algebra and mentioned I have been learning about Groups, Rings, Fields, Vector Spaces, etc. and mentioned Galois Theory.

    However, interestingly enough, she had no idea what I was talking about. Since she had no idea what I was talking about, she said she would look into it and for me to get back to her tommorrow.

    Is community college really this retarded? If I was at a university I am sure the professor would have asked me to demonstrate my knowledge. When I asked if she had worked through Herstein she said "I have not," and I said, "Well it's a classic modern abstract algebra text," and she said, "Oh."

    I am doomed here. I'm not even smart, what the hell is going on?
  21. Feb 5, 2007 #20
    why are you at a CC. you pbviosly belong at minimum a state University.

    Ive taken a math course at a local college and the head was dumber in math then myself, he just had a undergraduate degree in english, so IDK how he got to the head of the math department. but Im sure he wouldent of had a clue about abstract algebra and such.

    Possible the professor didint care and wanted to make herself look dumb so she could just make you leave.

    Or maybe she is just focusing on teaching and wants to find out ways to teach better and to make her department teach better, maybe she has no need for the high level math and such.

    I know that the majority of the professors I have for math are really into research and I always see them walking around with these small little books that have insane titles. Usually when a book looks plain or is small like Apostle or Herstein like you mentioned the books tend to be very seriouse and dont joke around with pretty pictures.
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