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Computer Engineering Degree

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  • College
  • Computers
Last response: in Work & Education
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June 11, 2011 4:50:35 PM

Hey, I wanted some advice on my plan for when I get out of the military in December. I'm planning on paying out of pocket to go to a community college for 2-3 years then using the GI Bill(a VA benefit) to go to college through my Master's Degree in computer engineering.

For the first part, I will have about $20k saved up for the two years of community college to pay for school, housing, food, etc. etc. Basically everything. I am open to holding a part time job during this time.

The GI Bill will pay for most everything for the last 4 years.

I chose comp eng because I like math, computers, and perfecting a code seems like something I would be interested in. I have a computer background(more like a systems administrator) in the military. I am very interested in computer hardware, computer building, new technology, and obviously I would like a career that would net me a decent income.

Thanks for your advice/critique.

More about : computer engineering degree

June 20, 2011 8:07:31 AM

^ What career do you wish to pursue?
June 20, 2011 7:22:03 PM

While you are at it you might want to consider A+ net+ net +security and ms certs.
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June 20, 2011 7:29:18 PM

If being a sys admin is what you like doing, you'll want to go the Information Technology (IT) route rather than Comp Engineering. Comp Eng you will focus on digital signal processing, circuitry, embedded systems, robitcs and other things like that. Info Tech will be geared more towards everything you'd do in a data center, like being a sys admin. Things like Unix/Windows system administration, SAN infrastructure, LAN/wireless security, network device configs, complete network infrastructure of your employer's site and other things of the sort. There's plenty of coding to be done in either degree program though.

Like christop says, certs can be helpful. However, look into the respective field into which you'd like to find a career before spending too much money on certs. Some environments couldn't give a flying f*ck about certs, yet other environments will place much faith in them.
June 20, 2011 8:39:34 PM

dogman_1234 said:
^ What career do you wish to pursue?


Thanks for your reply. I am not sure what I want to do. That is sort of what I am trying to figure out as I go, but I believe computer engineering would get me opportunities I would enjoy.

Quote:
While you are at it you might want to consider A+ net+ net +security and ms certs.


I will definitely consider sec+ and ms certs. Luckily, I already have A+ and Net+.

Quote:
If being a sys admin is what you like doing, you'll want to go the Information Technology (IT) route rather than Comp Engineering. Comp Eng you will focus on digital signal processing, circuitry, embedded systems, robitcs and other things like that. Info Tech will be geared more towards everything you'd do in a data center, like being a sys admin. Things like Unix/Windows system administration, SAN infrastructure, LAN/wireless security, network device configs, complete network infrastructure of your employer's site and other things of the sort. There's plenty of coding to be done in either degree program though.

Like christop says, certs can be helpful. However, look into the respective field into which you'd like to find a career before spending too much money on certs. Some environments couldn't give a flying f*ck about certs, yet other environments will place much faith in them.


Actually, I hate being a sys admin. I do that in the Marine Corps currently. I only mentioned that as a computer background. Even how you just described comp eng, it makes it sound more and more attractive. I like to tinker and create.

Maybe I dislike sys admin because I do it in the military where I can be expected to fix an issue with which I have no training. I'm open to alternatives but I really think I want to do computer engineering.

As a comp eng, I could code chips for a wide variety of applications, right? I could design a video card, and...other stuff? I'm not really sure. Can anyone expand on this for me?
June 20, 2011 9:04:06 PM

^ I would recommend working for someone like Oracle, Apple, or Microsoft.
June 20, 2011 9:17:14 PM

Yes, sounds like you want to be a computer engineer to me also. You'll code chips, design circuit boards, even hardware level language coding. You'll still get into software level languages too, but computer engineering is very much on the hardware level. I work for the IT Dept at a state university in Georgia and our Computer Engineering program delves alot into building entire robotic systems too so I think that's the route you want to take. Just make sure you check into the schools you have available to see that their Computer Engineering programs are accredited by their state.
June 20, 2011 9:27:30 PM

If you want to work for Intel, IBM, TI, AMD ect...get an Electrical Engineering's degree.
June 21, 2011 2:38:14 AM

Quote:
^ I would recommend working for someone like Oracle, Apple, or Microsoft.

I would love to work for any of them. I originally had Google in mind, but I am not too picky.


Quote:
Yes, sounds like you want to be a computer engineer to me also. You'll code chips, design circuit boards, even hardware level language coding. You'll still get into software level languages too, but computer engineering is very much on the hardware level. I work for the IT Dept at a state university in Georgia and our Computer Engineering program delves alot into building entire robotic systems too so I think that's the route you want to take. Just make sure you check into the schools you have available to see that their Computer Engineering programs are accredited by their state.

So, what is hardware language? I would assume there are a variety. Is C/C++/C# used in hardware? Or is it something completely different?


dogman_1234 said:
If you want to work for Intel, IBM, TI, AMD ect...get an Electrical Engineering's degree.

How would the work I do differ between being a Computer engineer and an Electrical Engineer?

Thanks.
June 21, 2011 2:50:04 AM

You could go to a college that has a dual system of EE and CE integrated into the program.
June 21, 2011 3:55:21 AM

I'm sorry, technically it's called low-level languages. Low-level languages would be machine code or assembly. It's code that lives directly on the processor and you code using instruction sets and registers from the processor's architecture. Low-level languages require minimal or even no abstraction to be converted to machine code. As in it requires no compiler or interpreter for the processor to run the code directly, like high-level languages such as JAVA or C and all it's variants require for the processor to understand and run the code.

CE and EE programs in many schools are almost identical actually. There might be a semester worth of classes of a difference between the two in most cases and many students will double major in both. Many EE graduates that I know have went into the Telecommunications industry designing or maintaining telecom systems after graduating and CE grads I know when into corporations like AMD and Intel.

EE is an older program and CE was created as kind of like a very large subset of EE once computers came about. EE and CE are both fields of digital electronics and CE just focuses a little more on microprocessors and other computing technologies.

You can google EE vs CE and you'll find alot of information. I can't really explain it to the degree you'd probably like as I've not done either program. And I've may have even kind of contradicted or repeated myself in ealier posts. EE is a very broad field that really encompasses CE to a very large extent is about the best way I can say it.

So, for all intents and purposes, if you're debating between those 2 you could just really start one and get a feel if you'd rather stay or switch to the other major after a year or so and probably not even lose a single credit hour.
June 21, 2011 9:46:25 PM

arson94 said:
I'm sorry, technically it's called low-level languages. Low-level languages would be machine code or assembly. It's code that lives directly on the processor and you code using instruction sets and registers from the processor's architecture. Low-level languages require minimal or even no abstraction to be converted to machine code. As in it requires no compiler or interpreter for the processor to run the code directly, like high-level languages such as JAVA or C and all it's variants require for the processor to understand and run the code.

CE and EE programs in many schools are almost identical actually. There might be a semester worth of classes of a difference between the two in most cases and many students will double major in both. Many EE graduates that I know have went into the Telecommunications industry designing or maintaining telecom systems after graduating and CE grads I know when into corporations like AMD and Intel.

EE is an older program and CE was created as kind of like a very large subset of EE once computers came about. EE and CE are both fields of digital electronics and CE just focuses a little more on microprocessors and other computing technologies.

You can google EE vs CE and you'll find alot of information. I can't really explain it to the degree you'd probably like as I've not done either program. And I've may have even kind of contradicted or repeated myself in ealier posts. EE is a very broad field that really encompasses CE to a very large extent is about the best way I can say it.

So, for all intents and purposes, if you're debating between those 2 you could just really start one and get a feel if you'd rather stay or switch to the other major after a year or so and probably not even lose a single credit hour.


I've read up alot and I think EE sounds pretty interesting. I'll probably do EE and just take a few CompE classes. How would I find out how many years it would take me to get a MS in EE? I assume it is dependant on the school, but if someone could tell me how long it is for any school they know of, I would appreciate it.
June 21, 2011 10:07:27 PM

Also, I think I will try to do my Master's from start to finish in 5 years. I will not need to work if I can do it in just 5. So I will have $20k to support myself and pay for school for a year, and then the GI Bill will pay for the last 4. That is feasible, is it not?
June 21, 2011 10:24:49 PM

Undergrad programs take 4 years usually and Master programs take about 2-3 years. So if you don't have to work during the course of your programs, you might be able to do it in 5 years. It'll be alot of work constantly for 5 years but it might be possible. Also, tuition varies too much from one school to another and having been graduated for a few years now from my undergrad I can't tell you how much it is now. However, I can tell you that tuition inceases every year, at least here in Ga and I can't imagine it would be any different in any other state. The $20k should be enough for a year, but that just depends on where you go. Prestigious colleges cost much more than smaller schools with even more prestigious of a degree program if that makes sense. It's all about where you go and I couldn't emphasize that enough. You'll have to check with the schools individually to even get an accurate estimate honestly. Just make sure you stay on top of the policies with your financial aid because most colleges will financially suck you dry if given the oppurtunity.
June 22, 2011 1:30:33 AM

I would use the GI Bill to get a bachelor's degree and then sign on with a company that will pay for your master's. That way you come out $20k ahead.
June 22, 2011 10:28:16 PM

cuecuemore said:
I would use the GI Bill to get a bachelor's degree and then sign on with a company that will pay for your master's. That way you come out $20k ahead.

Is that common for a company to not only hire someone with only a bachelor's in Electrical Engineering, but also pay for their graduate's degree?
June 22, 2011 10:32:22 PM

6 If you prove yourself innovative, they may let you go to graduates school for free, at their expense.
June 23, 2011 12:04:08 AM

It's not the degree so much as what you can do. Sure, some places won't hire you without a degree, but that's their loss if you're a talented individual. So if you have a bachelor's and a good head on your shoulders, you should have no problem getting a good job. And I'm not sure exactly how common it is to find an employer who will pay for higher education as all my experience with this is personal/anecdotal. But, based on that experience, I'd say it's not hard at all.
June 23, 2011 12:40:48 AM

I think I have my plan. I will go to the junior college for a year towards a B.S. in Electrical Engineering while living with a family member(to save money), and transfer to a university after a year. I will be able to complete the B.S. in 2-3 more years, and I will use the GI Bill only after transferring to the university. As such, I will have credit saved to use towards a Master of Engineering degree(2 years).

I will be able to browse the job market after completing the B.S. to see if I have any options of employers funding my graduate's degree.

The reason I do not want to just use the GI Bill right away is that I have a terrible high school transcript, so I will have to start at a pretty mediocre school. I would rather pay for that part of it out of pocket as I would expect it to be cheaper.

edit: typo
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