Looking for Computer Engineering advice (going into 8th grade next year)

  • #1
QuantamMaster
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6
Hi, I am a middle schooler interested in pursuing a computer engineering degree. I may get up to a master's. I am interested in this field because I am interested in robotics, AI and some EE/CS stuff.

What should I do this summer and next year (8th grade) to prepare and then what should I do in high school?


(Job goals: AI/ML engineer, Robotics Engineer, or Quant)
 
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  • #2
Do well in school. Learn teamwork.
 
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  • #3
If you haven't already I would recommend you pick up programming early and use that as a basis to continue to explore topic or problems that you think are fun and challenging.
 
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  • #4
Welcome to PF.

QuantamMaster said:
Hi, I am a middle schooler interested in pursuing a computer engineering degree. I may get up to a master's. I am interested in this field because I am interested in robotics, AI and some EE/CS stuff.

What should I do this summer and next year (8th grade) to prepare and then what should I do in high school?

(Job goals: AI/ML engineer, Robotics Engineer, or Quant)
Good for you, being so interested in those topics and careers at a young age. I predict you will do well, as long as you are willing to work hard in your technical studies and at your jobs. :smile:

A couple questions: What programming languages have you learned so far, and what kind of programs have you written? Have you learned to use Github to manage your software projects yet? (Please look into doing that early in your coding experiences)

More questions: Does your school have a Physics Club, a Math Club, a Coding Club, a Robotics Club, etc.? If so, I'd encourage you to participate in any that interest you. Does your school participate in Science Fairs? Same thing -- do your best to come up with interesting projects and enter them in those kinds of fairs. You will learn a lot by doing this, including a lot of practical stuff about hands-on science and doing a good job of documenting your work and presenting it to others.

Another suggestion -- I would encourage you to look into circuit project kits where you build projects that interest you and learn about the "nuts and bolts" that make up the technology. For example, you can build simple electronics kits like AM/FM radios, temperature sensors, motion sensors, and similar. With each kit you get the blank Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and the components, and instruction on how to assembly it into a working device. You also get information on the theory behind how the circuit works, which is a great way to start to get a basic understanding of how real world circuits work.

One step up from that is to get a small microcontroller (uC) development board like an Arduino, and learn to write code for that uC and build add-on IO cards for that development board. That will get you closer to real-world development that goes on now, where you build up a device using a uC and extra circuitry to do some useful function.

Hopefully all that helps some. Let us know more about your background so far in coding and working with circuits, and we can offer more refined suggestions. Enjoy the ride! :smile:
 
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  • #5
berkeman said:
I would encourage you to look into circuit project kits where you build projects that interest you
Using a Google search on electronics kits this is one of the first hits:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=electron...r-20&ref=pd_sl_323p8kj82t_e&tag=pfamazon01-20

berkeman said:
One step up from that is to get a small microcontroller (uC) development board like an Arduino
And from a Google search on Arduino development board
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=arduino+...r-20&ref=pd_sl_4ctycy8ne7_e&tag=pfamazon01-20
 
  • #6
Wow! Thanks for all the amazing resources!

I have not built a project yet but I am currently learning Python. Yes, next year I was planning to do Science Olympiad and Math Counts, and also for my electives, I put my first choice as robotics, second as pre-engineering, third as a programming class, and fourth as a web design class (not as relevant but did it anyway because it was better than a sewing class or a cooking class).
 
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  • #8
QuantamMaster said:
... and also for my electives, I put my first choice as robotics, second as pre-engineering, third as a programming class, and fourth as a web design class (not as relevant but did it anyway because it was better than a sewing class or a cooking class).
<<Emphasis added>> You don't want to become too narrowly focussed, especially at this early phase of your life. Generic skills such as cooking and sewing are also important. Gee, are certain electives still segregated by gender these days? Do you have the option for woodworking or machine shop?
 
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  • #9
CrysPhys said:
Generic skills such as cooking ... are also important.
Only if you want to eat. :smile:
 
  • #10
@CrysPhys No we do not have those, but pre-engineering is the most similar elective that we have to those two
 
  • #11
QuantamMaster said:
@CrysPhys No we do not have those, but pre-engineering is the most similar elective that we have to those two
Wait, you don't have woodworking or machine shop classes in your high school? What country are you in? Is this a private or public high school that you will be attending? How big is it?
 
  • #12
QuantamMaster said:
Hi, I am a middle schooler interested in pursuing a computer engineering degree. I may get up to a master's. I am interested in this field because I am interested in robotics, AI and some EE/CS stuff.

What should I do this summer and next year (8th grade) to prepare and then what should I do in high school?


(Job goals: AI/ML engineer, Robotics Engineer, or Quant)
https://artofproblemsolving.com/mathcounts_trainer

https://artofproblemsolving.com/alcumus

If you can pass this test https://data.artofproblemsolving.com//products/diagnostics/prealgebra-posttest.pdf ask your parents to get you the Art of Problem Solving introduction to Algebra textbook. If not, then see if you can get their prealgebra textbook.

Also register for the AMC 8 in August, it's a just-for-fun test that is a precursor to the more important AMC10 and 12 exams.

I also think a cooking elective would be more fun than the web development class and neither would be particularly relevant to any of the careers you're interested in. Unless you become a web developer, you'll certainly spend more time over the course of your life cooking than web developing.
 
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  • #13
CrysPhys said:
You don't want to become too narrowly focussed, especially at this early phase of your life.
Things are changing rapidly these days; you do not want to set yourself on a path this early in your education. Remain flexible and try to prepare yourself with a more general outlook, in four years when you enter university and are committing to a definite course of action who knows what will be your best bet. I have two grandsons on dramatically different paths compared to their aspirations in middle school.
 
  • #14
Wait I might also do electronics engineering but I can't find a good university that only offers this single major. I don't want to pair it with electrical or anything else, but all the universities seem to.
 
  • #15
QuantamMaster said:
electronics engineering
What's "Electronics Engineering"? In the US, that may be a 2-year Associates Degree, not a 4-year Electrical Engineering degree...
 
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  • #16
QuantamMaster said:
Wait I might also do electronics engineering but I can't find a good university that only offers this single major.
See you are already modifying your career plan. Take your time and stay flexible.
 
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  • #17
No the problem is electronics engineering is like a broader version of computer engineering, and I want to study electronics engineering because my dad studied physics and later became an instrumentation engineer, which is what I want to become. (He got it in India)

Some colleges here offer it but combine it with electrical engineering but I don't feel like doing a double major I just want to do electronics engineering

It is basically electrical engineering but more small scale
 
  • #18
QuantamMaster said:
No the problem is electronics engineering is like a broader version of computer engineering, and I want to study electronics engineering because my dad studied physics and later became an instrumentation engineer, which is what I want to become. (He got it in India)

Some colleges here offer it but combine it with electrical engineering but I don't feel like doing a double major I just want to do electronics engineering

It is basically electrical engineering but more small scale
Don't be concerned by titles for majors. Look at program content options offered. E.g., at MIT, there are currently 8 options for a bachelor's in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science:

https://catalog.mit.edu/schools/eng...ring-computer-science/#undergraduatestudytext

By the time you apply for college, who knows what options will be available at various universities? And, more importantly, who knows what your interests will be at that time? You'll be starting 8-th grade; too early to be concerned with college majors.
 
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  • #19
As this thread evolves, I think there are a few points worth mentioning:
  1. It is too early to fine-tune your BS program, and to worry about which exact classes you will be taking 5 or 6 years from now. The program may change. You may change. And there is nothing an 8th grader can or should do differently based on these details.
  2. The attitude "I don't want to learn X" will not serve you well as you go on. Nor will the related "The horror! I learned something that I never used to make money!" Learn as much as you can. Maybe it will help. Maybe it won't.
 
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