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Specializing within EE degree

  1. Feb 3, 2013 #1
    Hello all,
    My question pertains to specializing within an EE degree. At my school we have to specialize in 2 out of 3 options, which include Sensors, Circuits and Devices, Digital Signal Processing and Applications, and Power and Energy. I have for sure decided on Power and Energy, however, I am undecided with my second choice. Personally, I prefer the courses offered with Sensors, Circuits and Devices, however, everything these days seems to be going digital! What are your thoughts on the subject? Would I be a fool to avoid Digital Signal Processing? Thanks for your opinions!

    Some courses offered in each are,
    Sensors, Circuits and Devices: Electricity Magnetism and Fields, Advanced Analog Electronics and Instrumentation, Microwave and RF Circuits, Electronic Devices (solid state physics), Introduction to Micro and Nanotechnology, Optoelectronics and Photonics.

    Digital Signal Processsing: Digital Signal Processing I, Logic Design Using FPGAs, Algorithms and Circuits with Finite Precision Arithmetics, Digital Communication, Digital Signal Processing, Design of a DSP System.

    I know these are just names, and some of them are rather vague, but it kind of gives you an idea of the types of classes within each.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2013 #2

    jim hardy

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    Gold Member

    think about what it is you enjoy doing.

    I once envisioned myself behind a nice desk in an office building doing important paperwork.

    But in my personal life i was always fixing things, somewhat of a "nerd".
    In college i had a Ford overdrive transmission completely apart on my study desk for four days. That's still one of my most vivid memories of engineering school - how interesting planetary gears are. (If you try this, be sure to scrupulously clean everything while it's still oputdoors. )

    Upon entering the workforce i soon learned how quickly i bored of paperwork and how much i enjoyed troubleshooting. I did a two year stint in a main office and was bored to tears. Parkinson is right - a people cannot exist by reading one another's memoranda. Most paperwork is unimportant.

    So my point to you is - know yourself.

    Digital Signal Processing is a fascinating field, and any EE should be aware of its capability. If your interests lean toward design work you may be well served by such a background.

    If you are the type who is happiest when he has tools in hand, i'd say take the sensors route. Power will continue to be generated by large steam machines for next several decades and power plants need instrumentation engineers who are also familiar with three phase machinery.

    In my own curriculum i was able to squeeze in one course in Reactor Physics and one in Reactor Operation. I found them more interesting than planetary gears and had a wonderfully interesting and fun career with an electric utility.

    If you aspire to be a captain of industry go for it, there's plenty of room at the top.
    But it takes a strong personality to get there.

    The fellows at the top are generally superb people and appreciative of competence in the lower ranks. There's no disgrace in being a good worker bee. My company called them "Individual Contributors" and treated us well.

    Good luck,

    old jim
  4. Feb 3, 2013 #3
    I wish I could just do it all! I'm leaning more towards Power Electronics and Instrumentation; however, the more I read regarding Digital Signal Processing, the more intrigued I get with the subject. Tough call.
  5. Feb 5, 2013 #4


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    Gold Member

    Don't fret over this too much.

    Life throws us never ending curve balls. Most of us end up doing something different than what we specialized in. Not to mention, real work is so much different than school anyways.

    That being said, take what you enjoy now.
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