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Thread: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    I've been looking into engineering for a while now but I'm not sure which field is right for me. I've considered almost every discipline (still have Civil at the back of my mind) and at the moment I'm torn between EE and SE. I like the idea of working as a software developer but I'm not sure what I'll think of the job after years in the field and I don't want to be stuck in a "narrow" field. EE seems to offer broader opportunities.
    Would someone with a degree in EE and programming knowledge still be able to work in software development or is a degree in SE or CS necessary?
    How difficult are EE and SE compared to each other? What are the usual weekly hours outside of classes that you spend studying?
    Is Software Engineering a better option than Computer Science? I know there are SENG workshops and compulsory work experience but apart from that which would be more suited for software development or does it not matter?

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    Loquacious One turntaker's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    EE seems to offer broader opportunities.
    Not true. Both fields offer broad opportunities. I would say SE actually will give you more flexibility after graduating, whereas in EE, you generally have to specialize in a field.


    Would someone with a degree in EE and programming knowledge still be able to work in software development or is a degree in SE or CS necessary?

    Yes, a person with an EE degree can certainly work in the software industry, provided they spend time and learn the skills necessary. A CS/SE degere would obviously be better as they equip you with more relevant skills (e.g Algorithms, Data Structures etc).
    Employees don't really care about your degree, provided you have the knowledge/skills for the position.

    How difficult are EE and SE compared to each other?

    Both can be difficult and easy at the same time. It really depends which you enjoy more. If you enjoy EE, it will seem easier. Same with SE.

    What are the usual weekly hours outside of classes that you spend studying?

    EE usually has a few more contact hours, meaning you will be in class more for it. Otherwise it really depends on what marks you are aiming for. You could spend 2 hours or 15 hours. Really depends on the person.

    Is Software Engineering a better option than Computer Science?

    Personally, I prefer Computer Science as 4th year is optional and it is more flexible. At UNSW you can pick many electives and this can be really helpful. Essentially, they are very similar in terms of subjects.
    In the industry, there is no difference between these degrees. Both are considered equal.

    The SENG workshops do help, but are not essential. You can still gain relevant experience doing CS if you search carefully.

    Hope this helped.
    Good luck!
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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Thanks for the quick reply!
    I'll have to think it through a bit more.

    Do you happen to know how the EE and SE programs at UNSW compare to the ones at USYD. I know that UNSW is generally regarded as the stronger engineering school but is it a significant difference? I ask because I'll be living closer to USYD.
    How would you describe the atmosphere of engineering at unsw? Are the lecturers approachable? Is it organised? Are the facilities modern? What's the general vibe?
    Under normal circumstances I'd check this for myself by visiting the campus but I'll be in Europe for the rest of the year so I won't be able to do that.
    Anything you have to say about either institution will be valued

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Why does anyone want to do SE it's beyond me. CS is more flexible. Don't lock yourself into an extra year. You probably need to do more research into the field if you think a software engineering degree is > comp sci degree. It's never the better option, unless you are doing it by itself, and like less freedom in your degree (being told what to do). MOST people at UNSW who do seng always admit they want to transfer to comp sci.


    Or how about you just double degree it and come out with a comp sci degree AND electrical eng degree (people might suggest mechatronics eng, but if you're worried about employers not thinking you have the skills because of your degree, do an extra year and get both)?

    Check out the handbook which has all the information about degrees, e.g. comp sci / eng:

    http://www.handbook.unsw.edu.au/unde...2016/3772.html
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by clementinez View Post
    Thanks for the quick reply!
    I'll have to think it through a bit more.

    Do you happen to know how the EE and SE programs at UNSW compare to the ones at USYD. I know that UNSW is generally regarded as the stronger engineering school but is it a significant difference? I ask because I'll be living closer to USYD.
    How would you describe the atmosphere of engineering at unsw? Are the lecturers approachable? Is it organised? Are the facilities modern? What's the general vibe?
    Under normal circumstances I'd check this for myself by visiting the campus but I'll be in Europe for the rest of the year so I won't be able to do that.
    Anything you have to say about either institution will be valued
    I don't think many people here will be able to tell you that, since they haven't attended both unis, only one.

    22+% of UNSW students are in engineering, and it's 10% for USYD. Rankings seem to put UNSW generally above USYD in eng, but USYD isn't too far below mostly.

    I think the electrical eng building is actually really old and ugly lol, I dunno you can go to UNSW any time and check it out. Check both schools out.
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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop21 View Post
    Why does anyone want to do SE it's beyond me. CS is more flexible. Don't lock yourself into an extra year. You probably need to do more research into the field if you think a software engineering degree is > comp sci degree. It's never the better option, unless you are doing it by itself, and like less freedom in your degree (being told what to do). MOST people at UNSW who do seng always admit they want to transfer to comp sci.


    Or how about you just double degree it and come out with a comp sci degree AND electrical eng degree (people might suggest mechatronics eng, but if you're worried about employers not thinking you have the skills because of your degree, do an extra year and get both)?

    Check out the handbook which has all the information about degrees, e.g. comp sci / eng:

    http://www.handbook.unsw.edu.au/unde...2016/3772.html
    I just assumed that the SENG program would be more tailored to software engineering than the CS program seeing as SENG is like a subfield of CS and the program has SENG workshops.. idk.. I'll think about it.
    When it comes to doing combined EE and CS, I didn't really want to go down that road since I plan on combining my degree with Commerce or Arts. I've considered mechatronics before but EVERYONE keeps saying don't do it, do a traditional field and then branch in to mechatronics.

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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop21 View Post
    I don't think many people here will be able to tell you that, since they haven't attended both unis, only one.

    22+% of UNSW students are in engineering, and it's 10% for USYD. Rankings seem to put UNSW generally above USYD in eng, but USYD isn't too far below mostly.

    I think the electrical eng building is actually really old and ugly lol, I dunno you can go to UNSW any time and check it out. Check both schools out.
    You mean the EE building at USYD?
    I can't check them out because by the time I get back from Europe offers will have come out already which is why I ask :P I'm going to have to choose without visiting the campuses.

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    USYD EE building is ugly af, imagine your typical public high-school building but a bit bigger and more depressing.

    EE is probably the broadest imo (will have heaps of programming), and software engineering is more about optimising and developing software packages whilst CS is slightly more theoretical.
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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Sausage View Post
    USYD EE building is ugly af, imagine your typical public high-school building but a bit bigger and more depressing.

    EE is probably the broadest imo (will have heaps of programming), and software engineering is more about optimising and developing software packages whilst CS is slightly more theoretical.
    lol three times now (twice from you but still)

    I like the sound of SE more than CS. I'm so torn on this. When it comes to UNSW SE and CS seem pretty similar with the exception of SENG workshops.
    I have friends who've graduated with EE and are doing really interesting work in the US which is what's making my decision slightly more difficult because they get to work with MRI's and other medical devices as well as drones and renewable energy. I don't want to miss out on opportunities like that but I feel I'd do better in SE/CS.

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    Supreme Member Flop21's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by clementinez View Post
    You mean the EE building at USYD?
    I can't check them out because by the time I get back from Europe offers will have come out already which is why I ask :P I'm going to have to choose without visiting the campuses.
    Why can't you check them out? How are you doing your HSC if you're in Europe?

    And I mean the EE building at UNSW. But don't mind that too much since classes are taught in all different buildings, e.g. I didn't have one class in the CSE building this sem at UNSW haha (doing comp sci).

    Quote Originally Posted by clementinez View Post
    lol three times now (twice from you but still)

    I like the sound of SE more than CS. I'm so torn on this. When it comes to UNSW SE and CS seem pretty similar with the exception of SENG workshops.
    I have friends who've graduated with EE and are doing really interesting work in the US which is what's making my decision slightly more difficult because they get to work with MRI's and other medical devices as well as drones and renewable energy. I don't want to miss out on opportunities like that but I feel I'd do better in SE/CS.
    If you're willing to lock yourself into a whole extra year, workshops, industrial training, just for a name... then that's silly. Because it is just the name you're talking about right? Not the actual "sound" of the degree program? But if you were already planning on doing the thesis/extra year, then I guess that's fine.

    Did you not hear me say you can do 2 degrees? Why not do both? Another pro of comp sci, you can double it with engineering! And I would suggest you really think about doing so, either way you will have to fill your free electives with something, and you come out with 2 degrees!

    You can literally look at ALL the subjects you must take as an undergraduate for your degree in the UNSW handbook. I'm not sure why people don't do this before asking these questions (you can compare the subjects yourself and see yes they are the same except for workshops).
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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop21 View Post
    Why can't you check them out? How are you doing your HSC if you're in Europe?

    And I mean the EE building at UNSW. But don't mind that too much since classes are taught in all different buildings, e.g. I didn't have one class in the CSE building this sem at UNSW haha (doing comp sci).



    If you're willing to lock yourself into a whole extra year, workshops, industrial training, just for a name... then that's silly. Because it is just the name you're talking about right? Not the actual "sound" of the degree program? But if you were already planning on doing the thesis/extra year, then I guess that's fine.

    Did you not hear me say you can do 2 degrees? Why not do both? Another pro of comp sci, you can double it with engineering! And I would suggest you really think about doing so, either way you will have to fill your free electives with something, and you come out with 2 degrees!

    You can literally look at ALL the subjects you must take as an undergraduate for your degree in the UNSW handbook. I'm not sure why people don't do this before asking these questions (you can compare the subjects yourself and see yes they are the same except for workshops).
    gap year? lol

    I meant the sound of the program not the name..

    I have researched this a LOT but the reason I'm asking on a forum is because I want to hear what students undertaking the programs have to say. I know about pretty much every course combination at USYD and UNSW because I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on anything.

    The reason I don't want to double in EE and CS is because I want to do a double with Arts or Commerce (still haven't decided). I think doing EE and CS would be too much and I have other interests outside of engineering.

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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop21 View Post
    Why can't you check them out? How are you doing your HSC if you're in Europe?
    Also you do realise there are students completing their HSC via DE either from rural areas or overseas due to any number of reasons. There are distance education high schools in Australia.

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by clementinez View Post
    gap year? lol
    lol

    Quote Originally Posted by clementinez View Post
    I meant the sound of the program not the name..

    I have researched this a LOT but the reason I'm asking on a forum is becauseI want to hear what students undertaking the programs have to say. I know about pretty much every course combination at USYD and UNSW because I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on anything.

    The reason I don't want to double in EE and CS is because I want to do a double with Arts or Commerce (still haven't decided). I think doing EE and CS would be too much and I have other interests outside of engineering.
    And well there you go, I've said what I have to say. You asked, and I answered.
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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop21 View Post

    And well there you go, I've said what I have to say. You asked, and I answered.
    SENG = CS - SENG workshops, got it.. and you believe the SENG workshops are not worth the extra year..

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by clementinez View Post
    Also you do realise there are students completing their HSC via DE either from rural areas or overseas due to any number of reasons. There are distance education high schools in Australia.
    Sorry I didn't realise you took a gap year, I'm not a mind reader. Maybe you should have checked out the universities before you left.

    Quote Originally Posted by clementinez View Post
    SENG = CS - SENG workshops, got it.. and you believe the SENG workshops are not worth the extra year..
    You probably know exactly what the programs consist of (checking the handbook), as like you said you've researched this a LOT.

    From what I've heard from peers. No the SENG workshops are not worth any time. The industrial training, meh, get an internship instead.
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop21 View Post
    Sorry I didn't realise you took a gap year, I'm not a mind reader. Maybe you should have checked out the universities before you left.



    You probably know exactly what the programs consist of (checking the handbook), as like you said you've researched this a LOT.

    From what I've heard from peers. No the SENG workshops are not worth any time. The industrial training, meh, get an internship instead.
    Yeah I should have but I was supposed to be back with plenty of time to do that.. not anymore.

    I do..
    Ok, this is very useful to know. I might consider doing CS then. I'm probably going to end up doing the 4th year honours anyway but I like the idea of being able to graduate without it.

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    If you're doing a double degree go with computer science, you will have a much better time.

    Also whoever says EE can be a replacement for CS doesn't know anything about CS.
    Just cause they do some MATLAB doesn't mean its anything like computer science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katsumi View Post
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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by turntaker View Post
    If you're doing a double degree go with computer science, you will have a much better time.

    Also whoever says EE can be a replacement for CS doesn't know anything about CS.
    Just cause they do some MATLAB doesn't mean its anything like computer science.
    I agree. Just based on the courses taken EE has a completely different focus and I doubt anyone doing EE will learn how to think like a computer scientist unless they specifically learn CS as well. The fields are related IMO but one can't substitute the other which is why I was a bit skeptical when some of my friends mentioned doing EE as it "covers both fields" when it really doesn't.

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by turntaker View Post
    If you're doing a double degree go with computer science, you will have a much better time.

    Also whoever says EE can be a replacement for CS doesn't know anything about CS.
    Just cause they do some MATLAB doesn't mean its anything like computer science.
    EE and CS and SE overlap heaps.
    At USYD EE, you will have to do a least at least 3 semesters with core programming subjects with the option to do more with stuff ranging to object orientated to data structures and unix.
    The MATLAB is mainly integrated into calculation subjects.

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    In the end, its your decision, we can't decide for you. A guy I know started in SE and transferred to CS. He now works at FB after spending a winter there for an internship.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katsumi View Post
    lol

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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Sausage View Post
    EE and CS and SE overlap heaps.
    At USYD EE, you will have to do a least at least 3 semesters with core programming subjects with the option to do more with stuff ranging to object orientated to data structures and unix.
    The MATLAB is mainly integrated into calculation subjects.
    keeping in mind that when doing a combined degree there is less room for electives so I'm guessing the program would be more fixed if I were to take it..

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    Junior Member clementinez's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by turntaker View Post
    In the end, its your decision, we can't decide for you. A guy I know started in SE and transferred to CS. He now works at FB after spending a winter there for an internship.
    I know.. it's a difficult one. It's good to hear that SENG = CS when it comes to job prospects so I don't feel forced to take SENG.

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Elec eng is very broad and the skills are applicable in many areas of engineering and science.

    However, elec eng is completely different. If you want to avoid hardware, avoid comp eng. If you want to avoid circuits and hardware and more physical applications in real life, avoid elec. If you don't think you will find any interest in circuit design, avoid elec.

    In saying all this, having a solid understanding in the fundamentals of electronics and circuits is a very great skill and opens you up to many more possibilities in the future. My recommendation is the following. Understand what each program entails and find out if it is something that you consider interesting enough to possibly do in your future career.

    In terms of universities, it's best you look at other factors as well (campus life, campus geography, etc). UNSW elec has a lot of great equipment in laboratories (which I can imagine would be found at many universities, especially for elec eng) and the building will be renovated within the next few years. School of computing has a nice building and there is an abundance of computers available for students enrolled in comp courses (but I can imagine this may also be the case at other universities).

    Your best bet is visiting the unis and checking them out yourself, or ask those who have directly been at that university doing the programs that you are interested in.

    Also, have a look at what interests you enough to think that you may want to make a career out of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop21 View Post
    Or how about you just double degree it and come out with a comp sci degree AND electrical eng degree (people might suggest mechatronics eng, but if you're worried about employers not thinking you have the skills because of your degree, do an extra year and get both)?
    This is very very different. Mechatronics is quite different to comp sci or elec eng and is definitely not a combination of both. Make sure you check what each program entails and whether that program consists of what you would like to study.

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by clementinez View Post
    keeping in mind that when doing a combined degree there is less room for electives so I'm guessing the program would be more fixed if I were to take it..
    They're actually 'core electives' that may be counted as core subjects (e.g. you can pick a computing elective or an electromagnetics elective and whichever you choose will count towards your degree as an core-subject), both USYD and UNSW do this.

    Generally, just have a look a the course handbooks and you should have a general understanding and outlining of the differences between SE and CS.

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    Re: Electrical Engineering or Software Engineering/Computer Science

    Quote Originally Posted by turntaker View Post
    If you're doing a double degree go with computer science, you will have a much better time.

    Also whoever says EE can be a replacement for CS doesn't know anything about CS.
    Just cause they do some MATLAB doesn't mean its anything like computer science.
    They're both completely different what.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Sausage View Post
    EE and CS and SE overlap heaps.
    At USYD EE, you will have to do a least at least 3 semesters with core programming subjects with the option to do more with stuff ranging to object orientated to data structures and unix.
    The MATLAB is mainly integrated into calculation subjects.
    That's like saying all engineering programs overlap heaps because first year is common.

    Past first year, elec absolutely diverges from all other programs and degrees.
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