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  1. #1
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    CsE or EE degree?

    Going to start 4 year uni next semester and I can't really make up my mind between a computer engineering degree or electrical engineering. From what I have gathered, You can almost mold one into another based on the choice of electives you take.

    For those of you that have been down this path or are going through it now, when/how did you decide what you wanted to specialize in? I know that i've always had an interest in computer programming as well as digital circuits, but never wanted to be a 100% programmer. Also, I was an electronics tech in the navy and have experience working on larger equipment and it wasn't "awesome" or anything.
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    What's the difference between the two? Im assuming The CsE degree requires slightly more programming while the EE requires slight more...? My first instinct is saying CsE because it seems like it broadens your job opportunities (I could be wrong about this). I graduated with a CS degree and although I do do some programming in my current job, it isn't necessarily required. My point being, with either of these degrees you can probably get a great job that suits your skill set and interests. If I were you I would get more information from the uni you're attending and see which classes for each degree you'd be taking.
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    Originally Posted by DJS2 View Post
    What's the difference between the two? Im assuming The CsE degree requires slightly more programming while the EE requires slight more...? My first instinct is saying CsE because it seems like it broadens your job opportunities (I could be wrong about this). I graduated with a CS degree and although I do do some programming in my current job, it isn't necessarily required. My point being, with either of these degrees you can probably get a great job that suits your skill set and interests. If I were you I would get more information from the uni you're attending and see which classes for each degree you'd be taking.
    The way one website broke it down was the the CSE degree has very few technical electives you can take to specialize in stuff like chemistry/EE, but with an EE degree, you could take a crapload of CsE classes because it has alot more free slots for technical electives.
    It sucks having too many interests and not enough time to pursue them all lol.

    Also as to the difference, you take a little less physics and math with the CsE also. I think it skips linear algebra and differential equations.
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    Originally Posted by FlexManlet55 View Post
    It sucks having too many interests and not enough time to pursue them all lol
    Sounds like you know part of the answer at least Gotta sit down and really think about what you want to spend the next years of your life focusing on. Just remember that both will look great to an employer so it shouldn't really make too much of a difference when it comes to career path. Especially with different certifications you can get, you can specialize in whatever you want afterward.
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    In terms of jobs, I think EE will provide you with a broader range of jobs than CsE. I feel EE is better since it doesn't confine you to one particular discipline like programming/coding, even though you'll end up doing some kind of programming down the road. I enjoy programming but I couldn't imagine myself 5-10 years from now saying the same thing, so I went EE.
    Unless you can see yourself programming, coding, or learning the newest language for your entire career and enjoy it. I would go EE since you could learn about other disciplines like electronics, circuits, power, control, signal processing, wireless communications, and figure out which field I liked best and go from there.

    This is all coming from an EE major so its a little biased lol.
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    CE isn't all programming.. at least not here in Canada.

    Computer Engineering = Comp Sci + EE (what my adviser told me)

    In CE, you will take a lot of electric circuits and system classes however you will have also have a few programming ones.

    For EE, from what I've heard is that there is a ton of math and again a lot of electric circuits and classes. Both are great degrees. I'm in CE right now I enjoy it because I'm a huge tech freak.
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    Originally Posted by skizz View Post
    In terms of jobs, I think EE will provide you with a broader range of jobs than CsE. I feel EE is better since it doesn't confine you to one particular discipline like programming/coding, even though you'll end up doing some kind of programming down the road. I enjoy programming but I couldn't imagine myself 5-10 years from now saying the same thing, so I went EE.
    Unless you can see yourself programming, coding, or learning the newest language for your entire career and enjoy it. I would go EE since you could learn about other disciplines like electronics, circuits, power, control, signal processing, wireless communications, and figure out which field I liked best and go from there.

    This is all coming from an EE major so its a little biased lol.
    I used to enjoy programming when I was a teenager, and have many times tried to learn C out of boredom to play on Linux but I had no real reason to do it so I quickly forgot what I was doing. Hard to be goal oriented without a goal ^_^.
    Originally Posted by Prim3 View Post
    CE isn't all programming.. at least not here in Canada.

    Computer Engineering = Comp Sci + EE (what my adviser told me)

    In CE, you will take a lot of electric circuits and system classes however you will have also have a few programming ones.

    For EE, from what I've heard is that there is a ton of math and again a lot of electric circuits and classes. Both are great degrees. I'm in CE right now I enjoy it because I'm a huge tech freak.
    Sums it up again, its not much more math though its like 1 maybe 2 more semesters? I would probably take them anyway.
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    At some schools CmpE is very close to EE, at others it is closer to CS (i.e. a lot more programming). If you can't decide, start in EE and then switch if you need to.
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    Originally Posted by FlexManlet55 View Post
    I used to enjoy programming when I was a teenager, and have many times tried to learn C out of boredom to play on Linux but I had no real reason to do it so I quickly forgot what I was doing. Hard to be goal oriented without a goal ^_^.
    Sums it up again, its not much more math though its like 1 maybe 2 more semesters? I would probably take them anyway.
    Yeah.. In EE, you'll take maybe a couple/few more math classes. Do what you like brah. If you like electronics in general, go for EE. Otherwise CE is awesome as well.
    Last edited by Prim3; 03-26-2012 at 01:08 AM.
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    I have a CE degree myself from UCF. Almost all of my classes were shared with EE students as well, there was only like 3 core classes that EE students took for their degree that CE didn't take as well. I wouldn't worry about which one you want now since changing your mind later, after a couple years, wont set you back.

    If you get a CE degree your still going to have to chose which route you want to go for job searching, software or hardware.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by taldiirah View Post
    I have a CE degree myself from UCF. Almost all of my classes were shared with EE students as well, there was only like 3 core classes that EE students took for their degree that CE didn't take as well. I wouldn't worry about which one you want now since changing your mind later, after a couple years, wont set you back.

    If you get a CE degree your still going to have to chose which route you want to go for job searching, software or hardware.
    Zzzz very sad this guy has only 4 posts.. still hasn't replied to my PM, probably won't ever log back on!
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    almost everything in CompE is programming based. You might learn like architecture and structure of a computer, but you will be doing everything in terms of programming.

    EE is very broad, and can range from semiconductor physics to RF and signal processing. But in the computer aspects of it, an EE works at the transistor level designing things, while a CompE would do it on the software level.

    The basic circuit courses CompE students take is not enough. At a large semiconductor company I just interviewed at, they were telling me that almost all CompE students fail the technical interview for circuits and stuff.

    You can mold an EE degree to what you want since its broad, but CompE is usually very strict with the courses you need, leaving little room for variation.

    First year or two of school is about the same for all engineering disciplines, so you have time.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by boast View Post
    almost everything in CompE is programming based. You might learn like architecture and structure of a computer, but you will be doing everything in terms of programming.

    EE is very broad, and can range from semiconductor physics to RF and signal processing. But in the computer aspects of it, an EE works at the transistor level designing things, while a CompE would do it on the software level.

    The basic circuit courses CompE students take is not enough. At a large semiconductor company I just interviewed at, they were telling me that almost all CompE students fail the technical interview for circuits and stuff.

    You can mold an EE degree to what you want since its broad, but CompE is usually very strict with the courses you need, leaving little room for variation.

    First year or two of school is about the same for all engineering disciplines, so you have time.
    I get everything you are saying + understand the importance of knowing low level digital stuff but when you say the EE designs things on the transistor level vs the cse guy doing it on a programming level, can you elaborate on that? it is eluding me for some reason what that actually means.

    I know a bit about digital but haven't touched it in years.. I guess this might be a better question that will point you in how I need this question answered.. whats the different between a reguluar computer programmer, and a computer science engineer? Do the normal programmers not learn super low level languages like asm or whatever is current, or am I missing it totally?
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    There are different fields of computing, and then engineering. It seems to more or less boil down to this:
    - Information Science/Technology
    - Computer Science
    - Robotics
    - Computer Engineering

    As for what a regular programmer does, it kind of depends on what the programmer is doing. If we are talking some software developer in an IT department for some company, they are probably working with things like:
    - SQL databases
    - HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Ruby/Rails
    - Java Enterprise Edition
    - .net or C#
    - Software Engineering (so things like creating high level diagrams of software, planning out the development process, etc)
    - Maybe creating mobile apps (so Android or iPhone programming)

    IT is a bit broader than this, but this is what you might do if you were a programmer in an IT department. IT is a necessity for any medium to large size companies, and could also be found in small companies too. An IT department can allow for inter-business communication, data storage, or web pages.

    Computer Science has a bunch of different things you can specialize in. Things like Software Engineering, Databases, Theory/Algorithms, Security, Artificial Intelligence, Systems, High Performance Computing, Scientific Computing, Gaming, and maybe other things. CS is really just studying software, but sometimes a school will put in some engineering or low level concepts to help students understand the larger picture.

    Computer Engineering seems to just be a really specialized field of EE. Like others said, it seems to be more or less EE + CS. You get an engineering background that might let you build hardware, or program it, or make drivers, or things along that nature. For instance, at my school you would learn how to design a processor, general logic circuits and design, some EE classes, and stuff on CMOS or VLSI on the hardware end. The CS people don't get any of that. Looking through internships I noticed that hardware companies will also hire EE's.
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    Originally Posted by FlexManlet55 View Post
    I get everything you are saying + understand the importance of knowing low level digital stuff but when you say the EE designs things on the transistor level vs the cse guy doing it on a programming level, can you elaborate on that? it is eluding me for some reason what that actually means.

    I know a bit about digital but haven't touched it in years.. I guess this might be a better question that will point you in how I need this question answered.. whats the different between a reguluar computer programmer, and a computer science engineer? Do the normal programmers not learn super low level languages like asm or whatever is current, or am I missing it totally?
    Here is how a CompE would build an adder in his class: *****://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...gned_adder.png and this is how an EE would build an adder: http://alansouthall.files.wordpress....2-19-28-pm.png

    So for the coding above, the CompE has to understand how the low level hardware works, but he works on a higher level, while the EE would work on that lowest level.

    In terms of CompE vs CS, a CompE would be programming microcontrollers, ASICs, and FPGAs, while a CS would stick mostly with PC level programming.
    Thats life, son!
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    Originally Posted by boast View Post
    Here is how a CompE would build an adder in his class: *****://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...gned_adder.png and this is how an EE would build an adder: http://alansouthall.files.wordpress....2-19-28-pm.png

    So for the coding above, the CompE has to understand how the low level hardware works, but he works on a higher level, while the EE would work on that lowest level.

    In terms of CompE vs CS, a CompE would be programming microcontrollers, ASICs, and FPGAs, while a CS would stick mostly with PC level programming.
    I hope to god once I start doing this in college I loath/love something instead of being all like " boy golly they all look fun" like I am right now..
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    Originally Posted by FlexManlet55 View Post
    I hope to god once I start doing this in college I loath/love something instead of being all like " boy golly they all look fun" like I am right now..
    Generally computer science and electrical engineering are things that you either love or hate. Computer engineering melds the two, but it is, in essence, a programming career. What I found in school is that very few people completed as a computer engineer. Lots of people started, but typically around year 3 they diverged to either computer science or electrical engineering to focus more on the portion of the major that was their strong point and avoid the portion that they hated.

    Computer engineering IMO, is the more interesting major because it takes the practical application of computer science and electrical engineering, melds them together, and allows you to stay away from all the hardcore theory which IMO is just really boring. If you really want to you can still get into all the theory, but it's not required to be successful as a computer engineer.
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    as an EE, we were frequently working on long problem sets for homework, and exams were pretty much all theoretical based on homework/practice exams. lots of reading, practice problems, etc. you could easily get by just cramming 3-4 days before most exams (what I did).

    as a compE, you do a ton of programming and it's pretty much impossible to cram your way through a huge programming assignment or exam.

    basically, if you want to screw around and still manage to graduate, you can do it as an EE. if you're a committed person who loves programming, do compE.
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    Originally Posted by Impudent View Post
    as an EE, we were frequently working on long problem sets for homework, and exams were pretty much all theoretical based on homework/practice exams. lots of reading, practice problems, etc. you could easily get by just cramming 3-4 days before most exams (what I did).

    as a compE, you do a ton of programming and it's pretty much impossible to cram your way through a huge programming assignment or exam.

    basically, if you want to screw around and still manage to graduate, you can do it as an EE. if you're a committed person who loves programming, do compE.
    lol...I still don't think you can "screw around" and pass EE, but year compE takes much more of a time commitment.

    There's no such thing as procrastinating a major programming assignment. You get started early, or you fail. In school I typically had 40+ hour programming assignments which had to be completed in generally a 2 week time frame. I do remember a few times, however, that I ended up spending 50+ hours in a single week. Add on the rest of your classes, and yeah there's not much time to sleep.
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    Originally Posted by Supadude View Post
    lol...I still don't think you can "screw around" and pass EE, but year compE takes much more of a time commitment.

    There's no such thing as procrastinating a major programming assignment. You get started early, or you fail. In school I typically had 40+ hour programming assignments which had to be completed in generally a 2 week time frame. I do remember a few times, however, that I ended up spending 50+ hours in a single week. Add on the rest of your classes, and yeah there's not much time to sleep.
    This sounds fkin terrible ^_^...
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    Originally Posted by FlexManlet55 View Post
    This sounds fkin terrible ^_^...
    It can be brutal bro, but it is very satisfying after its all said and done and you look back and say, holy **** look what I just did.
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    Originally Posted by Supadude View Post
    lol...I still don't think you can "screw around" and pass EE, but year compE takes much more of a time commitment.

    There's no such thing as procrastinating a major programming assignment. You get started early, or you fail. In school I typically had 40+ hour programming assignments which had to be completed in generally a 2 week time frame. I do remember a few times, however, that I ended up spending 50+ hours in a single week. Add on the rest of your classes, and yeah there's not much time to sleep.
    I did it from a top 10 EE school.. came out with a 2.5 (2.8 major gpa)

    agree with you about compE though.. those guys have it rough, pretty sure it's harder than EE
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    Hard to say, it really depends. I'd say EE is a better major overall though, but it really depends on your school and what the courses are and what is required. It also entirely depends on what you want to do with your degree...

    I only say this because someone who is dedicated can learn programming to a fairly advanced level without any schooling. EE on the other hand isnt that easy to learn independently without proper equipment. Programming on the other hand just requires time, and there are so many indie methods for learning to program hardware out there.

    Do you want to do circuit design/layout? You need zero programming knowledge. EE
    Do you want to work on chip design? Some low level assembly type programming knowledge is required to do things like FPGA's and other components(think Cell phone chips, GPS chips, etc). CE
    If you want to just do software that controls the chips, you need a lot of programming knowledge. CS/SE

    Honestly degree really is not that important, its what skills you have. If your a CE with ****ty programming skills you may as well just be a EE.

    Personally i started as a EE, enjoyed it but i hated the Math and really sucked at it and it was holding me back. So i eventually swapped to Software Engineering since i was way better at it. My job is writing software automation for electrical validation of our companies hardware products, so i have to be knowledgeable enough in the electrical side to do my job.

    People who have capabilities in both software and hardware are some of the most sought after in almost any company that produces any computer type product.
    Last edited by FuzzeWuzze; 04-01-2012 at 03:38 AM.
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