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What Is The Difference Between These Closely-related Careers?

I am presently majoring in Computer Science and planning on going to graduate school. My passion is for figuring out stuff. Although I enjoy figuring out a wide range of stuff (especially social, psychological, and human-related issues), I am limted in terms of application of this passion in a career, since I am already on the science/technology track in my university and I am almost done. It is very important that whatever job I have constantly challenges me to analyze/figure out stuff. In computer science, I have found out that only programming caters to my intellectual desire. However, I do not want to be limited to programming in the future. For reasons such as financial benefits, prestige, and potential of more professional fulfillment, I am considering graduate study (most likely PhD ) in areas such as software engineering, computer engineering, and electrical engineering. I need advice on what these areas entail both in the industry and in graduate study and what aspects of them demand regular use of analytical skills.

Your help will be highly appreciated.

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Hey, Thanks Wallie.

This is definitely a good starting point.

I talked to a PhD student over the weekend and he suggested that I should concentrate on control systems for an EE graduate degree. What do you think abou this? Also you mentioned something about a " CS person might run into problems when dealing with the math heavy theoretical stuff ;" that is actually the kind of academic work I am most natural and successful at. What aspects of, say, EE really demand this? I am reading up on control systems but I will appreciate an insider's knowledge on other aspects of EE.

And yes, I actually thought Ajanlekoko was being tongue-in-cheek. lol.

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@OP – Don’t really blame the previous posters for focusing on one of the equally-emphasized-enumerated-qualities that you outlined as being important to your graduate study. Next time, it is a whole lot easier to clarify your post than to be “brusque.”  Kudos to you for apologizing; you’re already a step ahead of most people! 

With respect to your question, I will say it depends on if you don’t mind the additional year of schooling (prerequisites) that will probably be required for an EE program. You might have to take calculus based physics, more calculus classes, electronics, and circuit theory.

Assuming you can be admitted to all three programs, I will say go for EE because it gives you the most flexibility and latitude. With EE, you can do/learn what a CE or SE does, and it even becomes easier if you choose software related electives to satisfy your MSEE degree.

CE is just a combination of EE and CS.

You seem to suggest that you’re interested in a program that allows you to “analyze/figure out stuff” while also employing your “analytical skills”? The programs you listed can fulfill those needs depending on the level at which you work (being spoon-fed or feeding yourself).

Imagine writing codes to decipher the RSA algorithm used in cryptography, or to analyze some frequency spectrum (phone tap), or programming an autonomous vehicle to navigate an obstacle course etc. These examples can be accomplished by any of the fields you listed; although, a CS person might run into problems when dealing with the math heavy theoretical stuff (probability, calculus).

I think it might be a little difficult to combine CS, CE, or EE with “human-related issues” in Nigeria as your employment opportunities will be very slim. But since you want to go all the way (PhD level), you can very well blaze your own trail. Biomedical Engineering allows you to combine human physiology with EE. 

My advice is for you to figure out what you REALLY like doing because that is what you will be best at, which means that you’re likely to succeed.

PS: You might have thought Ajanlekoko was being tongue in cheek about getting a law degree; he’s not. The practice of law checks all your enumerated qualities. It is funny how people start using “sir” when they realize that I’m an attorney, which never happened when I was “just” an engineer.

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@OP – Don’t really blame the previous posters for focusing on one of the equally-emphasized-enumerated-qualities that you outlined as being important to your graduate study. Next time, it is a whole lot easier to clarify your post than to be “brusque.”  Kudos to you for apologizing; you’re already a step ahead of most people! 

With respect to your question, I will say it depends on if you don’t mind the additional year of schooling (prerequisites) that will probably be required for an EE program. You might have to take calculus based physics, more calculus classes, electronics, and circuit theory.

Assuming you can be admitted to all three programs, I will say go for EE because it gives you the most flexibility and latitude. With EE, you can do/learn what a CE or SE does, and it even becomes easier if you choose software related electives to satisfy your MSEE degree.

CE is just a combination of EE and CS.

You seem to suggest that you’re interested in a program that allows you to “analyze/figure out stuff” while also employing your “analytical skills”? The programs you listed can fulfill those needs depending on the level at which you work (being spoon-fed or feeding yourself).

Imagine writing codes to decipher the RSA algorithm used in cryptography, or to analyze some frequency spectrum (phone tap), or programming an autonomous vehicle to navigate an obstacle course etc. These examples can be accomplished by any of the fields you listed; although, a CS person might run into problems when dealing with the math heavy theoretical stuff (probability, calculus).

I think it might be a little difficult to combine CS, CE, or EE with “human-related issues” in Nigeria as your employment opportunities will be very slim. But since you want to go all the way (PhD level), you can very well blaze your own trail. Biomedical Engineering allows you to combine human physiology with EE. 

My advice is for you to figure out what you REALLY like doing because that is what you will be best at, which means that you’re likely to succeed.

PS: You might have thought Ajanlekoko was being tongue in cheek about getting a law degree; he’s not. The practice of law checks all your enumerated qualities. It is funny how people start using “sir” when they realize that I’m an attorney, which never happened when I was “just” an engineer.

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Yes, you are right.

I apologize.

Folks on NL are quick to insult so I have learned to be on the offensive.

I guess I got it all wrong this time.

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@VPersie;

Well I do not know you nor any of other posters but I have surely read posts from the poster whom you are at "logger posts" with and I really do not think he deserves your post that sparked his annoying response.

My suggestion is let's not because internet forum allows for anonymity then we should throw away decorum, I mean what happens if by chance you eventually meet this guy somehow in future.

You may reactivate your initial post so people can contribute and then we all learn.

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If you like figuring things out then i don't see why you still feel Programming is not good enough.

Programming can be highly challenging intellectually especially if you are trying to build a medium to complex software system. So i don't think i get your point here

Never do a PHD if all you want is prestige or financial benefits because u are going to be dissapointed.

Do a PHD only if you want to work in academia or u want to be a professor or you like a particular topic so much that you want to spend 3-4 yrs of your life messing around with sometime no other person will care about but you

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Funny.

So I am supposed to come online to impress Ajanlekoko, whom I have never met before, do not know, and will probably never meet in life.

Very smart of you. When I grow up, I want to be like you, sir.

Its also funny how you always evade the issues I raise - whether in my original post or subsequent replies - and engage in wild-goose chases and ad-hominem attacks. Really classy.

I am not very smart, and I am still waiting for a sensible reply because I am sure you have better to offer.

By the way, I was not sure about the meaning og "brusque", but instead of "accussing" you of being smart of telling you to "get off your high horse, my friend. We're not impressed by the grammar. Try something else," I just checked my dictionary.

You may want to imbibe that practice. It could be very useful.

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My guess is you do not understand the meaning of the word "crux"

"Prestige" is only of passing interest to me and that is why it takes up less than 1% of my post.

The main thesis of my write-up is what the afore-mentioned careers enatil on the graduate level and in the industry. If that is too complex for you to grasp/not sensible enough for you to understand, do not hide under the cloak of my honest admission of a desire for prestige in my job.

And the general repsonse to this thread may be symptomatic of a more prevalent problem on NL: no one wants to take time to UNDERSTAND and THINK about an issue before hitting the keyboard. It is much more easier to sit on high horses and pretend to have a quick-and-simple solution to a complicated probelm or say the problem is not sensible because it is too difficult to think through. It is intellectual chicanery at its worse and it seems to be the most popular charcateristic on nairaland.

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Waiting for sensible replies,

Please read the original post before replying. The crux of the issue is job-fulfillment not prestige-or-no-prestige.

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Actually you are correct. yes.

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what sort of prestige exactly are you looking for in a career doing your undergraduate?

Is it the type where you tell someone(a nigerian) you are doing a PhD and they go ahhhhhhhhhhhhh phd

is it the type where people 'assume' you are really smart cos you are doing software engineering

Go invent something yeye or better still go look outside the window oloshi ma lo pass exam ko ma decieve ara ni be

ode

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In think I may have my head in he clouds. Whenever, I try to discuss a futture career with colleagues, I end up talking idealistically about fulfillment and joy that must come from a job. I say stuff like I will take a 50% pay-cut to move to a job that will give me happiness and other such feel-good emotions. I really believe what I say but I fear that I will not back up my words with actions when I finally get into the job market and have significant bills to pay.

My question is am I naive to insist on getting into a job/career that does not just pay the bills but gives me fufillment. For example, say I could study well and be very good at computer programming ( good enough to work for a tier-B company, say Cummins Inc., Black $ Decker, or Chevron), but I find computer programming very boring and will rather like to do something more fulfilling and personally satisfying for me ( like say work in the non-profit sector), which career move will be better if computer programming will always on the long run pay more than non-profit sector work?

Am I being unrealistic? I know my parents did not think about job fulfillment when they were working hard to put food on the table. I also know that they are so many people that willing to do any job to make ends meet. This makes me like an ingrate when I consider something like "love for what I do " as a factor in choosing a job. Is it notthat doing what you love is the sure gurantee for success or is it working hard at anything you do

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Na by force to talk? Dey swear give you chop? Abi craze miss road enter your head? E be like sey u wan receive email from devil! See dis useless maga.

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@OP,

You should have studied law.

There's no prestige in a tech career, unfortunately.

I advise you go back and study law when you're done with your undergraduate degree. With your computer science degree, you can specialise in information technology law. That should fetch you the prestige you desire.

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