College Majors: CS, EE, etc. (Advice)

I was wondering what type of college degrees the people on here have, and what type of jobs they’ve found go with the degree.

This question arises as I’m considering majors for college. I’m really looking between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering right now. (Math is a slight possibility, but I’d need a little more convincing to go that way. I’m not sure what I’d do with it when I get out of school, other than just keep going back to school! :rolleyes:) Obviously, what degree I pursue will be dependent on what type of job I want after I get out.

I could go one of two ways very easily:

  1. Electrical/robotic work: I enjoy robotics and robot competitions. I like creating sensor systems and writing programs to respond to the sensor input. I could be very happy in a controls programming job. Or, I could be happy in a job that dealt with programming robots/microcontrollers. I just got an Arduino for Christmas, and I’m enjoying figuring out basic circuit design.

  2. Math/Computer Science work: I also really like math and theoretical stuff. I’d also be perfectly content as a number theorist working in cryptography or a computer scientist developing new algorithms of some kind.

I know I don’t want to just end up writing some computer application (for example, I would find writing a part of Word or Internet Explorer incredibly boring)–I enjoy using computers for math/science purposes, rather than just creating software. If this is what CS jobs tend to turn into, maybe EE (or even math) is more what I want to pursue. :slight_smile:

So, I guess I really have two questions:

  1. What degree do you have, and what jobs have you seen be made available with that degree?
  2. What could a “day in the life” of a person with your degree look like? (e.g. are you writing Word, or are you designing a control system, or are you coordinating meetings, or…?)



Although I cannot speak about a degree I have, I can give you some advice based on what I have found. You sound to be very much like me, but perhaps a bit more towards the hardware side than I am.

Computer Science doesn’t sound like something you would want, at least not at most schools. My advice is to definitely get into Engineering. If the Computer Science degree isn’t in the Engineering school at the college you go to, most likely it is not going to be as good. However, if I end up going to Carnegie Mellon University, I will certainly be going into Computer Science, because they have an entire school dedicated to it.

Electrical Engineering didn’t seem like the right thing for me, as I am definitely more interested in software than hardware, but I, like you, wanted both. Robotics, with plenty of programming, is really what I would enjoy.

So, what I have found is that Computer Engineering seems to be the way to go for myself, at most colleges. Computer Engineering is like a combination of both Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and at MIT, they even have a Computer Science and Engineering major (which is exactly what I want…).

I’m not sure if Computer Engineering would be what you’re looking for, but it sounds to be. It really kind of depends on the college, though, and what programs they offer for the different degrees.

Anyway, hopefully this was at least some help to you.


I’m looking into a 5 year electromechanical engineering … because who wants to just do one :slight_smile:

In “another life” (20+ years ago), I earned a BSEE and MS Bioengineering. I worked for 2 years in a university research lab that was in the early stages of developing a cochlear implant, which came to market years later. We worked closely with the university’s EE dept, which was designing electrodes that could measure signals in individual brain cells. My role was developing mathematical models (equations) and writing simple computer programs that simulated the processing and output to the brain. I also wrote programs that were designed to collect and analyze the data that we measured from actual brain signals. I enjoyed and learned a lot at that job, but if I wanted to stay, it was clear that I would need to get a Ph. D. in neurophysiology or perhaps EE, and I didn’t really have the drive or talent for that. Also, we routinely pulled late hours – until 8 pm at least weekly, and until 2 am (yes, 4 hours before sunrise) at least monthly. I wanted to have a family at some point, so I knew my days there were numbered.

I discovered that I liked teaching, so I got an MA in math and have used it to teach at a junior college. When my kids were very young, I could teach as little as 3 hours a week, and gradually have increased to 2/3 of full-time as they became more independent.

One thing I’ve been cautioning my son (a college student majoring in ME) is that if he chooses a risky “high-flying” career, he should also have an “end game” career in mind. Just as pro-ball players often become coaches, managers, or sportscasters after an illustrious career, cutting-edge engineers and computer scientists might find themselves transitioning to management or a slower-paced company as they lose the ability to be productive on caffeine and 2 hours of sleep.

Family reasons may or may not impact what you choose. These days, I try not to make any presumptions, as my son has told me that a number of his fraternity brothers have (independently) remarked, “I wouldn’t mind marrying a career-minded gal and being a stay-at-home dad.”

1 Like

Personally, no College Degree. I have College Classes in Computer Science/Data Processing, from 25 years ago and Engineering Classes from 3 years ago.

Re: Outside of Vex? ( Post #06 )
Re: What VEX Has Done For Me ( Post #02 )
Re: What made you join/form your VEX robotics team? ( Post #35 )

I recommend you follow each of those Threads, from the Beginning… 1] 2] 3]

Engineering Classes and the Sciences, Like Chemistry and Physics teach Critical Thinking, something that is needed in many different jobs…

Also, Robotics and Control Systems are a combination of Computer Science/Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering… For example, my 15 year old Daughter, ( the one who was 9 when I started with Vex ) is on FRC Team 957, and is working on the Programming Team, but has an interest in taking Mechanical Engineering in College.

The Arduino is a great little Embedded System, lots of support, very easy Tool-Chain, low cost… You might want to get a Raspberry-Pi too…

Some of the Challenges of the Future will require Cool New Algorithms, in Robots or Control Systems. So you could combined both #1 and #2

When I graduated High School, my local Community College had Data Processing Classes, basically Computer for Business purposes… Not very exciting in my book, but I learned some good skills…
When I was 35, I got a job doing Control Systems, on Recreational Vehicles, that is when I knew I found what I wanted to do for a job… ( better late than never… )

Here is My Resume. I have been doing Control Systems for the last 11 years, in One form or another:
RV’s ( CC )
RV’s ( SLE )
Look for me at end of video with Hat!

Just realized I never said thanks for the suggestions/input/help!

Thanks for the responses, everyone–it’s a great help to have input from others when making decisions… :slight_smile:


That’s OK… It is easy to overlook this forum.

The Chit-Chat / Rumor Mill does not get Promoted to the Portal Page, so if you are not Looking at the Community Page, or getting email notifications, you won’t know that any one responded…