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Re: To School or Not To School?

Subject: Re: To School or Not To School?
From: Jonathan Kirwan
Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2006 22:10:17 GMT
Newsgroups: sci.electronics.basics
On 09 Jun 2006 21:15:50 GMT, tsubusu11@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Hage-bai) wrote:

>if u do consider pursuing an EE degree defiently brush up on your math
>skills. They'll probably make u take a bunch of mathc classes as well
>but unfortunatley the bulk of coursework theory is math based -
>especially communcations etc. 
>
>If u like programming i suggest perhaps applying to a program that
>offers a computer engineering like degree..here u'll take a mix of EE
>and computer science classes and can focus a lot more on embedded
>systems design.

These are good points.  I've my own emphasis to add.

To phaeton:

Hage's comments about CE are good.  Definitely consider that as an
option, if you can find such a program locally.  It represents a
reasonable mix of skills and will press you some in mathematics
without perhaps dragging in too much, given your existing math
experience, knowledge, and interest.  In my area, Portland State
offers CS, CE, and EE programs.  (The CS seems to attract some folks
looking for easy money and low stress as an alternative to becoming,
say, an accountant.)

But I think you should look for something you can stick with for the
long haul.  And that means something you can enjoy.  reality is going
to hand you ups and downs in any work, so if you are going to stay
with it in the long term it cannot be entirely about the money.  You
have to have other reasons for being there, so that they will hold you
when things are harder, moneywise.  Otherwise, you will quit and go on
looking for yet something else that pays better the next time things
are difficult or thin and thus never settle down.

If you really are going to do electronic design, you need to get more
comfortable with mathematics (or else you need to have one of those
rare talents of intuition, supplemented by lots of Excel spread sheet
and simulator work that may manage to get you by without so much
math.)  The first few chapters of ordinary differential equations (2nd
year calc) can, with use of integrating factors to solve linear
differentials, allow you to compute closed solutions, with voltage or
current as functions of time to circuits with inductors and capacitors
and resistors.  Some familiarity with complex numbers and a simple
ability to use complex conjugates to place rational fractions into
standard form, polynomial expansions of some key things like e^x, pi,
and a few transcendentals, plus Euler's e^(ix)=cos(x)+i*sin(x) and
some familiarity with hyperbolic sine and cosine and how they relate
to e or to sin(i*x) or cos(i*x) will help.  So a couple of years of
calculus and a good teacher or two.  Fourier and Laplace transforms,
also.  And familiarity with matrix algebra helps, at times.

But I think a lot of electronics designers manage to get by with far
less math.  So may you.

By the way, I'm no designer nor an EE.  I just enjoy math and physics
and happen to sometimes spend time with electronics for personal fun.
So really, I'm more suggesting you think about what it is _you_ want
to do and can stay with.

Jon

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