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What's so hard about Electrical Engineering?

insecure101insecure101 Posts: 563Registered User Member
edited December 2013 in Engineering Majors
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)..?
Post edited by insecure101 on
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Replies to: What's so hard about Electrical Engineering?

  • rocketDArocketDA Posts: 1,565Registered User Senior Member
    Bode analysis, Fourier Transforms, Anharmonic/Harmonic Oscillators, Optocouples, Magnetic Flux Calculations, RF Intermediate Processing, Systems Integration, Elementary Computational Gate Combinations, Power Regulation, Hardware-level Video Processing Algorithms, Understanding various junctions (JFETS, OPAMPS, QMOS, Gunn Diodes, Zener Diodes, MOSFETS, LASER Diodes, all sorts of PN's PNP's NPN's NPNP's)
  • aibarraibarr Posts: 4,248Registered User Senior Member
    ...and remembering what colors correspond to what numbers on all those little tiny resistors.
  • rocketDArocketDA Posts: 1,565Registered User Senior Member
    lol..yeah, that took me a couple years to remember. don't worry, i'm not specifically EE
  • ronty007ronty007 Posts: 2,498Registered User Senior Member
    remembering those color codes on the resisitors is very easy...
    its...
    B B Roy Great Britain Very Good Wife ;) then Gold Silver
  • rocketDArocketDA Posts: 1,565Registered User Senior Member
    i just think.... black brown red orange yellow green blue violet gray white. gold silver none. i like my way better... lol.
  • w1ckedw1cked Posts: 1,634Registered User Member
    Ok so I can strike electrical from my list of possible majors.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    Actually, I don't think that EECS is hard because of the curriculum. For example, I don't think that EECS concepts are inherently more difficult to understand than, say, concepts in philosophy.

    Heck, 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.
  • Lancer78Lancer78 Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    I don't think you can really say Math is harder than EE or other branches of engineering.

    It 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.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    It 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.

    There 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.
    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. .

    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.
  • rtkysgrtkysg Posts: 598Registered User Member
    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.

    I 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.
  • cherrybarrycherrybarry Posts: 918Registered User Member
    I have to agree. Eventually, you reach a level where it doesn't matter how long you think, but simply how you think.
  • rocketDArocketDA Posts: 1,565Registered User Senior Member
    umm... i don't believe so, necessarily. there are no analytical solutions to fluid fields, thero fields, gasodynamics, etc.. you limit engineering to applied engineering and not research stuff. there is a $1 million prize for a signifcant breakthrough in the mathematical discription of fluid motion. in addition, continuum mechanics is a pretty darn challenging subject matter. second moment of inertias are not easy to derive.

    the 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.
  • im_blueim_blue Posts: 2,142Registered User Senior Member
    I double majored in Computer Engineering (which is basically EE) and Math, and I would say math is harder than EE, but definitely doesn't take as much time, since I worked about 4-5 times harder on EE than on math. Also, while a math class may be straight up harder than an EE class, the typical math curriculum only requires a handful of advanced proof classes. For example, at most colleges you can get a math degree by simply taking real analysis, abstract algebra, and a whole bunch of much easier applied math classes like ODE, PDE, numerical analysis, etc. but no one gets a EE degree without taking almost all of: circuit analysis, circuit design, analog signal processing, digital signal processing, semiconductor devices, digital design lab, electromagnetism, electromagnetic waves, several advanced EE project electives, a senior project, and maybe a couple of CS classes.
  • CitanCitan Posts: 2,287Registered User Senior Member
    let's just say that EE is more interesting than applied math, doing proofs etc. lol
  • Dave_BerryDave_Berry Posts: 33,400CC Admissions Expert Senior Member
    To some degree, trying to decide which is harder: Math or ECE, is about the same as deciding which color is better: cyan or magenta.
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