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insecure101
Registered User Posts: **563** Member

What's so hard about Electrical Engineering?

I know someone who wants to go into it but what's soooo hard about it?

The guy is USAMO qualified and 2400, is EE going to be HARD for him, given that he's motivated etc (and can not have a life when he wants)..?

I know someone who wants to go into it but what's soooo hard about it?

The guy is USAMO qualified and 2400, is EE going to be HARD for him, given that he's motivated etc (and can not have a life when he wants)..?

Post edited by insecure101 on

This discussion has been closed.

## Replies to: What's so hard about Electrical Engineering?

1,565Senior Member4,249Senior Member1,565Senior Member2,498Senior Memberits...

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1,565Senior Member1,634Member14,759Senior MemberHeck, personally, I think the most difficult major to complete is math. After all, upper-division math is basically all about proofs and logic. This is especially so if you are pursuing a PhD in math. You either have that special mental insight that allows you to do proofs, or you don't. So if you think EE is hard, try opening up an advanced math textbook and see if you can understand even a few chapters of it.

Personally, I think that the reason why EE is hard is not because of the content. It's really because of the grading, and secondarily also because of the workload. The truth is, many (probably most) EE departments just seem to delight in giving their students lots and lots of extremely bad grades. Contrast that with certain other majors in which you can do very little work and barely even show up to class, and get a good grade anyway. This is why you have the contrast between engineering students slaving away in the library and never having free time to do anything whereas students majoring in other subjects are conspicuously partying and lounging around, doing nothing.

103Junior MemberIt truly is subjective and depends on the person. Just like an engineer would have trouble getting proofs or logic, a Math major would have trouble getting circuits or thermodynamical/structural/aeroelastic issues to design/build a space shuttle.

And I think it is a misconception to say that in order to excel in Math you need to already have had the unique insight. Math, like everything else is practice. The trick is that insight in a subject matter comes much easier if you have a sincere interest in it. If you don't have a sincere interest in the subject matter, learning it would seem like a herculean task indeed.

14,759Senior MemberThere is a big difference between STUDYING engineering and actually WORKING as an engineer. Let's face it. Some people who do really well in engineering classes will not do well as actual practicing engineers.

The truth is, engineering classes (except for senior-level design classes) are mostly just applied math. It's just equation after equation after equation. Heck, I have had numerous engineering lectures in which the entire lecture was just spent deriving a bunch of extremely complicated equations. That's all that happened for the entire lecture. No discussion of practical considerations. Just - here are you first principles, and then let's derive out a bunch of huge calculus equations to come up with something. The math studs in the class obviously ate it all up.

That's not to say that all math majors would do well as practicing engineers. Far from it, in fact. However, they would probably do extremely well in engineering classes. Again, it's really just math. It may be fancy math. But it's still just math.

I'm afraid I don't see it. I think that upper-division math really is all a matter of insight. That is why you have famous math problems that don't get solved for decades, sometimes centuries, until somebody comes along who has a brilliant insight and manages to solve it. There are people who get their PhD's in 1 year because they manage to proved a problem that has never been proved before. Surely all of those other mathematicians who tried to prove the problem and failed were all well practiced. But they still didn't manage to prove that problem. Hence, that is why I believe being a math major, at the end of the day, really does come down to insight.

598MemberI would second Sakky on that. Pure Physics or Math are inherently more difficult than Engineering, eventhough it doesn't necessarily mean that getting an EE degree is easier than getting a Math/Physics degree.

Advanced Physics/Math requires ingenuity and abstract thinking, it's very different from high school's or even IMO's curriculum where practice is the answer. Engineering on the other hand is about solving physical problems given a number of constraints. While you might generally see longer/more complicated equation in EE than in math major, it's actually often harder to prove a simple conjecture in advanced maths. Research in EE for PhD level is more theoritical and has similarity with advanced applied math problems, the difficulty lies on the formulation of the problem/constraints instead of on proving theorems. Engineering requires much more lateral thinking.

918Member1,565Senior Memberthe supercomputer was invented to provide computational approximations to thermo-gas flow. come up with a better mathematical of turbulence and you have yourself $1 million and an honorary phd... not to mention that it your breakthrough will be considered one of the biggest math/science breakthroughs of the century.

i may go so far as to say that engineering holds some of the most difficult problems. unfortunately, these problems are so freaking difficult that no one has come along smart enough to solve them.

2,142Senior Member2,287Senior Member32,298Senior Member