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Computing or Electrical Engineering Degree?

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posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 10:23 AM
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Hey everyone,

I've been visiting ATS for a long time, and I have noticed that a lot of members are either already in university studying a Tech/Engineering degree, or have experience in this area i.e. career wise, etc.

I hope this is a suitable topic for this board and that members are happy with me asking for their advice


I've been looking at either an Electrical and Electronics Engineering or Computing degree. I'm technical minded with good analytical skills with an interest in IT and technology.

Obviously, income and promotion potential rank highly on my list of future career prospects, as well as travel. I'm pulling more to the Computing degree, but my concerns are that everyone and their mother is doing this, and India is a great concern as well, with a lot of IT jobs been outsourced abroad.

As for Electrical Engineering, again, there is a concern with India and China, with a lot of their populations seemingly taking this route. There is also the concern that with future advancements, Electrical/Electronics could be replaced by something else (nano?) making the skills redundant.

I think it was only a decade or two ago (before my time) when typesetting, telephone operators, telex operators, etc made up a large portion of the skilled service industry, and pretty much overnight they became obsolete with the advancement of technology.

I guess what I am really looking for, which there is very little information on, is the future global prospects of these two careers, what the income, promotion, travel and advancement prospects are for students looking for a career in either industry. Maybe links to other sources with additional information would be excellent.

If possible, I'd like to get the feedback from students-professionals who have had the experience of both the conventional service jobs, such as accountancy, management, marketing, etc and related careers to the above degrees and what their opinions are in relation to the proposed questions.

I realise this isn't a career advice board and I'm only asking due to what seems like a large student and engineering professional memberbase.

Please feel free to delete or move if it is on the inappropriate board.

Thank you all in advance for offering your experiences and advice.

James




posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 10:40 AM
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I am assuming you are a resident or a citizen of the United States. Based upon your inquiry as far as your field of study is concerned you are a male. Your age probably ranges from 18 -36, general I know, but I'm grabbing for info here.

I am an IT major at an highly respected college. I am in my 4th year, having 2 more years to go due to the fact that I am in an internship at the moment...be it paid...it is still considered and internship. As far as schooling I am also fast tracking for my MBA. I will have two degrees when I graduate. What you need to ask yourself is a series of questions...such as the ones below:



  1. Do I like computers as a passion, hobby, or as a job?
  2. Do I like interacting with people or just the computers?
  3. Do I have people skills?
  4. Can I speak in lamens terms and technical terms?
  5. Will I be willing to accept a job at a low wage for at least 3 years?
  6. Am I willing to work long hours for decent pay?
  7. Do I know enough about computing at the present time?


Being a working IT major you come face to face with many things such as institutional discrimination. Working for a small business, they tend to only hire permanent residents or citizens. My advice, if you can honestly answer all questions above, and assess them as being legitimate to your decision, intern at a small company and become recognized. Then, and only then will you be a successful IT professional. If you want any more info, as far as in depth workings of Small business and IT or big business and IT, send me a U2U.

--B



posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 10:52 AM
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Originally posted by AlphaAnuOmega
I am assuming you are a resident or a citizen of the United States. Based upon your inquiry as far as your field of study is concerned you are a male. Your age probably ranges from 18 -36, general I know, but I'm grabbing for info here.


I do apologise... I'm male, 19 and in the United Kingdom.




  1. Do I like computers as a passion, hobby, or as a job?
  2. Do I like interacting with people or just the computers?
  3. Do I have people skills?
  4. Can I speak in lamens terms and technical terms?
  5. Will I be willing to accept a job at a low wage for at least 3 years?
  6. Am I willing to work long hours for decent pay?
  7. Do I know enough about computing at the present time?



  1. I enjoy working with computers whether it be at work or home and will typically be the first person called upon to resolve any computer problems at work, home, friends and even college.
  2. I prefer working the computers, although I have no real preferences, as I can work well with others, too.
  3. I've been working in sales for three years and come within the top 5 sales people within the company each week. I make friends easily, so I can safely say, yes.
  4. Yes.
  5. Yes, as long as I was confident enough that there was a long-term stable career with excellent pay and promotion prospects after 3-5 years.
  6. As long as I enjoy my career, I am happy to work long hours to make a decent wage.
  7. I can confidently say yes.


I thought if I left my answers here it may help others offer their feedback.

Thank you, Alpha.



posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 11:19 AM
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Just an opinion here, But the IT field is flooded with people. You cant trhough a rock without hitting someone thats in IT. So should you go to school for IT then it had better be the best school and you must have the best grades to get the best jobs. Not to mention that you also have to keep up to date on the new stuff comming.

So here is my suggestion. Here in the states we have Biomedical Engineering courses. These are the people who invent the new stuff like cochlear implants, artificial hearts, etc... Or they invent new medical device for the Drs to use. Take a look in to this. If you cannot find any info U2U me.



posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 11:27 AM
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Hi ultralo1,

That's my greatest concern when it comes to weighing up the pros and cons of an IT career. I've never considered a degree in Biomedical Engineering, so thank you for bringing that up, I will look for more information about it.

This is one of the reasons why I posted this here, so that I can also explore alternate options.



posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 11:30 AM
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That's definately a route to go through. The thing about the IT field being flooded is that yes, there are few big business jobs out there in the US, but most of those people who have those jobs are contracted through other companies. I'll never have any trouble getting a job in the IT field, I'm only 21, and don't have a degree yet, two years left, but it's the fact that I can learn any programming language very quickly, and I have an abundance of people skills. Most IT professionals do not have any communications skills outside of the IT community. Working with small business is the way to start off due to the fact that you have direct contact with almost everyone in the agency. In fact, I am now friends with the CEO and CFO of my company. I was recently offered a permanent position here with a hefty pay increase.

Key to IT...make yourself invaluable. As I have done, find a way to make yourself known and gain respect through projects. I've taken VBA to an entirely new level by making a text recognition program that can decipher addresses, organize them, and input them into a database. I have eliminated manual entry. We accept a nice little txt file and the program I have written does the rest. 4 days of work is compacted into 1hr. That is what allows me to type here.



posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 12:14 PM
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It's hard to answer for jobs in the UK.

It's my impression that there is a huge glut of IT guys here in the US. They are everywhere. I'm sure that some of them are head-and-shoulders above the rest, but were I to hire one, I'd be in a buyer's market. You'd have to have some stand-out difference that made you worth a second look.

Pretty much what would make me toss the other guys' CV's off the desk would be if you had security clearance. An IT guy with the equivalent of a TS or TS/SCI is worth a lot of money, even though they might not be any different in ability than the next guy.

Computer science guys are not as desirable as EE's. That may make some squeal, but the perception is that it's EE-lite, and you took it to dodge the maths. The saying is "A EE can code but a CS guy can't design". I have found this to be true in general, you can be a EE with a CS emphasis and you are always worth more.

Another thought is that an EE here in the States is very very similar to other degrees that are also worth some money. Depending on the school, the Bachelor's in EE may be no more than a semester away from, say, a Bachelors in Physics, or Math, or Nuclear Engineering. If you planned your electives right, at Georgia Tech you could get two or three Bachelor level degrees with one extra year in school, which is a bargain. True, you will be doing some godawful classes instead of Music Appreciation or something, but a multiply-degreed Bachelor is worth more than just a EE.

Also, we divide the EE degree up here into comm theory, digital, power etc. There are a lot of digital EE's now, and not so many comm theory guys. But the comm theory guys get paid better and have less competition, so even within the EE degree you have to look at it carefully.

A big issue we're seeing now is what you mention, a Chinese EE will work for less than a dollar an hour. If it can be outsourced to China, you will not get the job. Finding a niche that can't be outsourced is vital. You will be competing against Russian, Chinese and Korean EE's on a world market as things become more easily outsourced due to the net. That can be tough. Specializing in some military facet of engineering obviates outsourcing - thus my mentioning the comm theory EE. A competent radar systems engineer is worth a lot and is not going to lose his job to Chinese due to security concerns, whereas doing appliance control boards is going to be dicey.

Finally, you might look at chucking it altogether. EE's here are "exempt", which means that you can be worked infinite overtime with no pay. An American EE is usually expected to work 60 hours plus and will only be paid for 40, and when you get into your forties, they will often shuffle you out the door unless you have moved into management. Even hiding in the military design market in order to avoid being outsourced to some guy living in a dorm in China has its hazards, as you're prone to being laid off between jobs.

I've been warning my nephews off from EE jobs. It's obscene, but you can get a two year RN degree and make more money than a EE here. An advanced practice nurse in the US averages more income than the chief scientist level of Lockheed.



posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 01:03 PM
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A choice between Electrical & Electronic Engineering and IT..I'd say it would be IT.

But, I would not put all my eggs in one basket. I would try and combine the study with global communications, media studies as well as business studies. This is because as mentioned the potential for markets to saturate and the desire for people who are willing to adapt.

The reason I refrained from recommend Electrical and Electronics courses is simply because I think it's too specialised. You've got to be very good, got to know the subject inside out and crucially, have the right contacts. As you mentioned as well..the technology has changed to the point where it's simply easier to replace components than to fault-find them.

I would recommend studying something that is going to give you transferable skills so that you don't become too specialised or tied down to one particular interest. If your hobbies and career change at a later date you'll have a rock-solid foundation on which to accommodate that change.

It's unfortunate but nonetheless unavoidable, that you may also have to consider leaving your town and your country to find the jobs you want. I got a degree-level education in computer engineering which was basically thrown in my face due to the low status of engineers and a preference to keep wages down by forcing people into dead-end jobs.

Hope this helps


apc

posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 03:37 PM
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Do not go IT until you have a thorough and complete hatred of all things computer related. Not until then will you have achieved a true understanding of what it means to work with computers.



posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 04:49 PM
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When I was a little kid, I would have weird thoughts of automating things, even though I had no idea what it meant at the time. This was in the early 70's (before computers were mainstream).

Then I grew up and became a software developer. 15 years into it and I still love it because I get to automate business processes. My mind just seems to have an obsession for automating things.

So to sum it up, I think it's important to have a genuine interest and passion for what you do. Good luck with your decision!


MBF

posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 09:22 PM
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Go into the field that you enjoy doing the most. That way it will not feel like work.



posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 10:23 AM
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Do chemical or mechanical engineering. The chemical industry is always looking for a good engineer who knows what they are doing.



posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 10:28 AM
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I'm currently taking Nanotech engineering. It's quite interesting and am glad I didn't go for one of the "old" types of engineering. I recommend it whole-heartedly. Only problem is that not all Engineering schools have it on the curriculum. The only two that I'm aware of is at UofWaterloo(in Ontario, Canada) and MIT. I'm sure there are more in N. America that I'm not aware of.



posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 10:28 AM
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You can change your major if you decide you do no like it. That's the good part about college. With IT you either love IT or hate IT! Pun intended!!



posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 11:18 AM
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Here is the best advice anyone can give you...

Find another career.

Computer technology based careers are the worst to get into. Yes of course they pay well in many ways, but the most mind numbing thing of all is that you will never stop learning, and you will never be 100% expert.

There is new technology coming out every week. You may go to school and learn about the history of the technology and learn about currently existing technology, but as soon as you get comfortable, you find yourself having to learn about the newest tech. This may sound ok at first, but when you get older, your mind softens up. You know the saying "you cant teach an old dog new tricks". Well, you will have to prove that wrong every day of your career.

Not only is it stressful learning the new tech as you age, but you have to compete against the youngsters just going into college.

In the IT, and computer/electrical engineering field, nobody hesitates to higher the new guys fresh out of college, because they are taught the latest and greatest. This will hurt you in the long run, when technology passes you up.


But if it is your dream, by all means, go for it.



posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 11:21 AM
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Here in the US there is always a shortage of Electrical Engineers.

THere seem to be quite a few computer related people.

There is far more money and opertunity with an EE degree.

That's here on the left coast of the US



posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 11:31 AM
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Why dont you just become a TV weatherman? They can get the prediction wrong 75% of the time and still have a job.



posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 11:37 AM
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Banking and Finance!

That's all I'm going to say.



posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 11:47 AM
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I hate triple posts!

[edit on 3/6/2007 by AlphaAnuOmega]



posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 11:47 AM
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I hate triple posts!


[edit on 3/6/2007 by AlphaAnuOmega]




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