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Multiple degrees and industry

  1. Apr 29, 2012 #1
    My dilemna is not lack of knowing what I want to do, it's knowing too much that I want to do.

    I'm very passionate about both Electronic Engineering, and Computer Science. I'm intending to apply for both at different universities (because I'd love to study either of them, and what I've applied for where depends really on the courses offered by the university).

    But I was wondering how the Engineering industry views Engineers with two degrees (I mean in the sense of two Masters', two subjects, rather than a single Bachelor's degree that has been continued for a Master's).

    Clearly it would have no negative impact on someone intending to continue in research or teaching - but I wondered if perhaps industry would - not to say 'frown' - on it, as it's a long period of time not spent gaining practical experience in said industry?

    Thoughts from anyone with experience in the matter (whether an Engineer/Physicist with a degree in more than one discipline, someone who's in a position to offer jobs - or not - to said candidates) would be greatly appreciated :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2012 #2
    In my neck of the woods, it's considered a bad thing to have two masters degrees unless those degrees are radically different from each other.
  4. Apr 29, 2012 #3


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    My experience is that the engineering industry is suspicious of "perpetual students". You will be on a steep learning curve in industry however many paper qualifiications you have collected, and after a few years what counts is what you have actually done, not what qualifications you started with.
  5. Apr 30, 2012 #4
    Would EE and CS be considered "radically different", per chance?

    Hmm. I appreciate that, it's just that both are subjects I would really like to study further - and also complement each other reasonably well I would have thought.

    Many companies have departments with great overlap between the two in terms of work - and a fair amount of universities (unfortunately only three that I can find in the UK) offer them both combined as a single degree (not joint honours, one degree spanning both).
  6. Apr 30, 2012 #5
    Totally agree. However, learning is a great thing. I wish I had done more when I was in school :uhh:

    That said, there's no need to stop learning. Your career will provide you with all kinds of interesting learning opportunities. As your work schedule permits, grab a class or two each term, if you still desire. I went to college with retired folks that loved to learn. I went to graduate school with I guy that took time off from work to go back to school full time, and he had a wife and 2 kids.
  7. May 1, 2012 #6
    I am an EE that does a lot of software work and I don't think it will hurt you. In the US many schools offer a computer engineering degree that somewhat bridges the gap between the two (mostly a hardware focus on the computer side of things).

    That being said, I am not sure about the UK system, but I might consider getting a bachelors in both and then picking one or the other for a Masters degree after you figure out which one you like the best.
  8. May 1, 2012 #7
    So, what were you thinking of doing in the "real world"? Designing embedded systems is a really cool intersection of these two fields.

    That said, engineering and software design is a very hands-on field. Education is interesting, but experience is what counts. If you expect to see an upper middle class salary right out of college, dream on.
  9. May 1, 2012 #8
    Yes I have looked into US Universities, MIT for example offers EECS and I'm doing the pilot online version of 6.002x that you may have heard about. I'm considering applying there but it will be largely grade-dependant, and I probably wouldn't apply anywhere else in the US due to fees.

    That's a good idea actually, I must admit that hadn't occurred to me, but I suppose it still lumps together with is it worthwhile to do the two - seeing as it would still be 7 years in further education (at that point, why not one extra!).

    Well at least I'll probably be happy whichever I end up doing - the choice will most likely be made when it comes to seeing which Universities make me an offer, I'll apply for a bit of a mix depending on which looks like the better course at each University.
  10. May 1, 2012 #9

    Defence electronics or cyber security. That's the issue really, my career interests are also fairly EE/CS split, with some overlap.
  11. May 1, 2012 #10
    What I know of the defense electronics business is this: the secrecy is oppressive, the pay is OK, but the job security stinks, no matter how well you do. My brother tried this sort of thing and after a few years, decided that he didn't like hopping from one contract to the next.

    As for me, one of my responsibilities at work is computer security for embedded control systems, such as SCADA, PLC, and DCS systems. This is one field where hands on experience helps more than degrees. The degrees won't hurt you, but to be bluntly honest, the professors are usually so specialized in their own fields, that they don't know how to teach an extremely broad-based curriculum such as this. You may learn many things from them, but they won't be immediately applicable to the field.
  12. May 2, 2012 #11
    I took a couple of classes in computer architecture and network architecture/programming with my EE undergrad that satisfied my computer science curiosity. I also went in to college being a pretty good programmer which isn't too bad to learn on your own so I was already up on most of the algorithm and data structure ideas from CS.

    In the end as has been said, experience quickly begins to trump formal education acheivements.
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