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Relevance of Computer Network Expertise for Grad Studies in EE

  1. Jun 18, 2014 #1

    I need some advice regarding my plan to apply for a masters in EE.

    I have a BS in physics, and I have been in the workforce for about 5-6 years now. I work in the IT field, with a focus on networking, security, LAN/WAN, etc. I have been offered an exciting opportunity of becoming the network engineer for a large enterprise with a rather complex cloud infrastructure. It is pretty exciting, but I am wondering if it will completely suck me into the world of IT with no hopes of getting out.

    So my question is, would this expertise and knowledge that I might get be in any way relevant for my future plan of applying to a graduate program in EE? Can my knowledge of Cisco switches and routers, and my understanding of data packets and of the OSI model come in handy in any way?

    My EE interests are embedded systems, optical physics, and I guess if I will have an advantage, computer networks.

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2014 #2
    I am bit biased but smart grid, 'internet of things', and the convergence of IT networks and energy infrastructure come to my mind immediately.

    As a physicist with long-term IT security experience I completed another master's in energy engineering last year, and did a master thesis on the security of smart metering solutions (comparing some of the protocols there, yes - OSI and stuff did come in handy).

    CISCO is also offering some 'solutions for the smart grid' - sure, there is a lot of marketing buzz but the formerly distinct fields definitely get closer.
  4. Jun 19, 2014 #3
    thanks elkement! I agree that some of the Cisco offerings are to create marketing buzz. The problem is that as a network engineer you end up doing a lot of router/switch/firewall configuration, so yes you become very good at knowing your Cisco commands, but how relevant is that when you try to enroll in a graduate program?

    But yes there are some interesting convergence happening now with big data and emerging cloud technologies. It makes for many interesting opportunities...
  5. Jun 19, 2014 #4
    I work around a lot of people who are leaders on the smart grid effort. If your intent is to design and write firmware for embedded systems then YES this sort of knowledge helps a lot. If your intent is to pursue optical physics, well, it was probably a good learning experience.
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