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Electrical/Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science Undergrad Degrees

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  • Jul 4th, 2012 2:06 pm
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JK400 wrote: He said CS is part of the math department at Waterloo so I guess that's why (different from UofT St.George where it's part of the arts and science department).

ISTM, the "Math" versus "Science" or "Engineering" thing at UW is just administrative in nature. Likely, the CS profs didn't want to be part of the EE or CompE department.

I know at my alma mater CS used to be a part of Engineering in the 1970s/1980s, but the seperation accelerated when a CS professor (who owned a lot of guns and was an avid hunter -- also quite well known as a researcher in his field) got in a fistfight with an EE professor (who was the Dean for a while). Quite a colourful story, but in that case, the administrative seperation had practically nothing to do with whether the CS program was "Science", "Engineering", or "Math" -- but was rather based on some "personnel" issues.

Strange things happen when guys who are pulling in million dollar grants end up getting into arguments in academia, that's for sure (which is why they both weren't fired -- they were superstar, contributing researchers with huge economic impacts!).
TodayHello wrote: ...The Banks are smarter than you - they have floors full of people whose job it is to read Mark77 posts...
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Nice... it seems like I've drawn the ire of the whole ECE community here :lol:

Let's examine the point I made. For an average joe, say he isn't particularly good at anything, but he's willing to work hard. I am saying that it is easier for him to get higher marks in ECE than CS.

Did I say CS students are smarter than ECE students? Nope
Did I say we take the same number/types of courses? Nope
Did I say we focus on APPLIED mathematics? Nope (although some choose to)

CS is more focused, much more theoretical and less applied, and yes, if you don't try to do something useful on the side such as internships or coding stuff on your own, a CS degree is quite useless. I'm saying that less people can do well with that kind of curriculum compared to ECE, which is more applied, broad, and the focus is to prepare you so that when you graduate, you can immediately contribute to a real-world project. You know what a CS degree prepares you for? Research.

I think more people would do better in a curriculum focused on 'real-world' problems than a curriculum focused on theory and research. If you disagree, fine, I am only speaking from the very limited experience that I have. But stop putting words in my mouth.

@Mark77: Before you ridicule me, how about you crawl out of your mom's basement, find a job where you can apply what you learned, and 'add some value'? I'm not the one spending all my free time bitching about how the world is colluding against me with this degree that I have (that is so much better than a CS degree of course).
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resu wrote: @Mark77: Before ridicule me, how about you crawl out of your mom's basement, find a job where you can apply what you learned, and 'add some value'? I'm not the one spending all my free time bitching about how the world is colluding against me with this degree that I have (that is so much better than a CS degree of course).

Why don't you grow up? I have a CS degree, BTW, so you obviously don't know what you're talking about. The jobs do not exist, and I do not live in a basement.
TodayHello wrote: ...The Banks are smarter than you - they have floors full of people whose job it is to read Mark77 posts...
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resu wrote: Nice... it seems like I've drawn the ire of the whole ECE community here :lol:

Let's examine the point I made. For an average joe, says he isn't particularly good at anything, but he's willing to work hard. I am saying that it is easier for him to get higher marks in CS than ECE.

Did I say CS students are smarter than ECE students? Nope
Did I say we take the same number/types of courses? Nope
Did I say we focus on APPLIED mathematics? Nope (although some choose to)

CS is more focused, much more theoretical and less applied, and yes, if you don't try to do something useful on the side such as internships or coding stuff on your own, a CS degree is quite useless. I'm saying that less people can do well with that kind of curriculum compared to ECE, which is more applied, broad, and the focus is to prepare you so that when you graduate, you can immediately contribute to a real-world project. You know what a CS degree prepares you for? Research.

I think more people would do better in a curriculum focused on 'real-world' problems than a curriculum focused on theory and research. If you disagree, fine, I am only speaking from the very limited experience that I have. But stop putting words in my mouth.

@Mark77: Before ridicule me, how about you crawl out of your mom's basement, find a job where you can apply what you learned, and 'add some value'? I'm not the one spending all my free time bitching about how the world is colluding against me with this degree that I have (that is so much better than a CS degree of course).

Nah resu I'm an ECE alumni and I'm with you, at least you make sense. Those guys whose "ire you drew" are notorious around here for spouting off nonsense left and right. I mean you know there's something wrong when they're bragging about their programs like 10 years after they graduated.
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JK400 wrote: Nah resu I'm an ECE alumni and I'm with you, at least you make sense. Those guys whose "ire you drew" are notorious around here for spouting off nonsense left and right. I mean you know there's something wrong when they're bragging about their programs like 10 years after they graduated.

Nonsense, hardly. You're notorious for being pretty out of touch yourself JK400....
TodayHello wrote: ...The Banks are smarter than you - they have floors full of people whose job it is to read Mark77 posts...
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Hey, Mark77 is back! I addressed some comments to you in the 2nd page of this thread, and I am still very interested in hearing your explanation and take on them!
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Mark77 wrote: If CS is 'math', then why don't 4th year CS majors know anything about digital signal processing, fourier transforms, or even bezier curves and 3D mathematics?
I cannot speak for all universities and it was a long time ago for me. But if I remember correctly, those were taught in one of my 3rd year course. But that was long time ago.
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JK400 wrote: All of those items you listed are applied topics in engineering. By 'math' I think Resu meant pure math topics like analysis and courses with a lot of proofs and derivations and the like. He said CS is part of the math department at Waterloo so I guess that's why (different from UofT St.George where it's part of the arts and science department).

Actually, CS at UW is part of the math faculty while at UofT it's part of the CS department which is under the arts & science faculty. There is no math faculty at UofT, only a math department. Administratively, CS and math are on the same level under arts & science. Speaking of algorithms, CS people are definitely better than CEs seeing as how all the famous algorithms and protocols CEs and CS people learn were created by computer scientists.
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Grrrrrrr I'm an engineer and my penis is larger than everyone's! Combined!
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resu wrote: Nice... it seems like I've drawn the ire of the whole ECE community here :lol:

Let's examine the point I made. For an average joe, say he isn't particularly good at anything, but he's willing to work hard. I am saying that it is easier for him to get higher marks in ECE than CS.

Did I say CS students are smarter than ECE students? Nope
Did I say we take the same number/types of courses? Nope
Did I say we focus on APPLIED mathematics? Nope (although some choose to)

CS is more focused, much more theoretical and less applied, and yes, if you don't try to do something useful on the side such as internships or coding stuff on your own, a CS degree is quite useless. I'm saying that less people can do well with that kind of curriculum compared to ECE, which is more applied, broad, and the focus is to prepare you so that when you graduate, you can immediately contribute to a real-world project. You know what a CS degree prepares you for? Research.

I think more people would do better in a curriculum focused on 'real-world' problems than a curriculum focused on theory and research. If you disagree, fine, I am only speaking from the very limited experience that I have. But stop putting words in my mouth.

@Mark77: Before you ridicule me, how about you crawl out of your mom's basement, find a job where you can apply what you learned, and 'add some value'? I'm not the one spending all my free time bitching about how the world is colluding against me with this degree that I have (that is so much better than a CS degree of course).

I disagree with that. At UW, people in the CS programs have tons of electives they can choose. What that basically equates to is choose the bird/easy courses and get high marks to boost your GPA whereas there are next to no electives in ECE at UW and probably most other universities. Furthermore, in ECE, your forced to take courses that you're not good at which often lowers your mark. I'd say for the programming courses in ECE, they are equivalent in difficulty to the exact same CS course, but the heavier course load and less electives in ECE makes it a more difficult program.
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^That's what I thought. As I stated in the first post, at McMaster the first year CS student only has 15 mandatory units + 15 electives, vs the Engineering student who has 31 mandatory units + 6 electives. And I would imagine for anybody that's considering CS or ECE, their academic strengths revolve around math and computers. For myself I struggle somewhat with Chemistry and don't always grasp the concepts in Physics. That's what lies ahead in Engineering which is what I'm concerned about, whereas in CS I'm only expecting to deal with Math and Computer-related curricula
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May 29, 2012
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I'm in CS. I wish I went into EE or CE.
The latter pays more, is less theoretical and more applied, and I like hardware more.
Personally I love applied stuff a lot more.
However, it is a more difficult program.

I'd switch if I still could, but I'm already in Year 3 and it'd suck to start over.. Unless someone knows of such a program that'd allow me to retain at least 2 years of my present degree.
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Apr 10, 2011
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Im doing EE at UW right now. Althought this is an extremely biased opinion(i apologize for that) but from the numerous coops students i met throughout my work terms, the CS students said that they were allowed to take electives from first year (allowing them to take easy courses). On the other hand, ECE have no electives til 2B and some of the courses that we take may not necessarily be average courses. Because of this, i would feel ECE is slightly harder than CS.

P.S. Sorry if someone posted this already, i did not read the previous posts.
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Chintu92 wrote: Im doing EE at UW right now. Althought this is an extremely biased opinion(i apologize for that) but from the numerous coops students i met throughout my work terms, the CS students said that they were allowed to take electives from first year (allowing them to take easy courses). On the other hand, ECE have no electives til 2B and some of the courses that we take may not necessarily be average courses. Because of this, i would feel ECE is slightly harder than CS.

P.S. Sorry if someone posted this already, i did not read the previous posts.
That's generally the case -- much more leeway in CS, while EE/ECE/CE programs must be fairly rigidly structured to meet CEAB requirements. Certain courses are pretty much mandatory for Professional Engineering licensure requirements (ie: economics, verbal and written communications, ethics, etc.) in an 'engineering' program per se, but optional in CS.

In short, if one wants to take a more well-rounded program that's not quite as technical -- the opportunities to do so will probably be greater in CS than in ECE.
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To add to the above comments, yes, EE/CE has little electives compared to CS.

In CS roughly 1/3 - 1/2 of your degree is electives, depending on your school. Of course you can use those towards a double major if you like. That's how I ended up in CS because I used to be a business students and 1 1/2 of my business degree transferred over perfectly for credit. I wouldn't had been able to do the same for EE/CE.

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