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I want to study Electrical Engineering in university, but one thing that I have doubts about is the software side of things. I absolutely love electronics, but electronics engineering is not a widely available course where I live in Australia. I looked around online but everyone seems to be saying that quite a lot of EE's are or have switched to the software side of things in their career.

How much software do you learn in an EE course at uni? I am pretty into things like Arduino, and I really enjoy coding. I haven't really experienced analog electronics all that much, but I do like it. Is an EE course for me? Or would I be better off with something else?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you looking for a masters or bachelors? \$\endgroup\$
    – Joren Vaes
    Mar 15, 2018 at 9:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Joren Vaes Bachelor \$\endgroup\$
    – skillz21
    Mar 15, 2018 at 9:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you considered looking at the course catalog at potential universities and reading the course descriptions for core and elective courses for different specializations? These days even fintech can be part of engineering or engineering science/engineering physics. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2018 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Spehro Pefhany Thanks for the info, I'll look into that. \$\endgroup\$
    – skillz21
    Mar 15, 2018 at 9:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bear in mind that on any course you will be learning not doing. There is no time to do "proper" projects of the kind you might encounter in industry, taking months. On an EE course you should expect to learn one Assembler and C. Possibly also C++, but not to any great depth. Also maybe one Hardware Description Language \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2018 at 12:14

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It is hard to make any general conclusions, since this depends a lot on the university.

In my university, all students electrical engineering start with a shared bachelor (the first half of this is shared between all engineering fields. The student then picks a major and a minor for the second half of the bachelor, eg electrical engineering and computer science).

Note that after this bachelor you still have a lot of options. Also note that by the time you are at the end of this bachelor you might have changed your mind. When I went into my bachelors, I thought I wanted to do either mathematical engineering or high level computer science (machine learning, numerical computing, etc). By the half way point in my bachelors, I shifted a bit more to digital electronics and embedded software, and chose electronics as my major and CS as my minor. I ended up doing a masters in electrical engineering, thinking at the start I would go for embedded systems, as this was a nice mix between electronics and CS. I shifted again during my first year of the masters and decided to go for integrated circuit design instead, focusing on digital electronics. But after doing that for a while I fell in love with analog circuit design, and am now a Millimeter wave researcher working on dielectric waveguides and analog circuits at 100-200 GHz or higher.

I have many friends who started out with me in the bachelors, and many of them had similar shifts in what we thought we wanted, and ended up doing something different than what we started out thinking we would.

What I'm trying to say is, don't kid yourself and make yourself believe you know what you want. If you know you like electronics and such, perhaps going for an engineering program is a good choice for you, but keep in mind that (especially in the bachelors) you will spend most time on things that are not electronics, and you really will have a brutal amount of math(s) and physics. But keep an open mind, because who knows, after half a year you might realize you love mathematics or chemistry and want to become a chemical or mathematical engineer instead.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Would computer science and computer engineering be better suited to my interests? \$\endgroup\$
    – skillz21
    Mar 15, 2018 at 9:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @skillz21 I can't make that call based on half-a-dozen lines you typed on stackexchange. What I am trying to say is to not constrain yourself too much at the beginning - perhaps find a univeristy that offers a wide bachelor programme so you can discover what you like. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joren Vaes
    Mar 15, 2018 at 9:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ The core problem is that starting your bachelors, you don't know anything. It's harsh, but it's the truth - they will likely cover everything you have seen in your primary, middle and high school education in half a semester. Hence, you can also not know what you really like - you haven't familiarized yourself with the field. That is why you always need to remain open to changing your mind, knowing that it is ok to do so, and keep options open. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joren Vaes
    Mar 15, 2018 at 9:40

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