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killer5247

How to choose the perfect major for college?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So I am basically a tech guy since grade 8th(first year of junior high),

Now I am in grade 12 (final year of highschool)will graduate in 2021,

And I am looking to work in fields of CPU chips designing and architecture of its I was told that I should follow the path of Electrical engineering but I also like the field of electronics (seriously in love with PCBs).

I was able to find a major (a double major) it's BE in Electrical and Electronic engineering while I was happy with this choice but at an instance I was told that this is a double major degree and you can also end up extending one year of college or have a overall low GPA,

This is scaring me since yesterday I just wanted some honest and mature advise as I am looking at UK universities and have a couple of them shortlisted because of this particular course,

I cannot take risks as I will be an international student and will be going on study loan.

Ps: I am from India. 


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Sounds kinda like you want computer engineering, or maybe electro-mech. I know when I got my bachelors in CE I did a lot of courses on computer architecture and microprocessors. If that's your thing and you want some software with a little IT sprinkled in it might be right for you.


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i know financially it is scary, but in the long run it is definitely best to do something that you will enjoy doing. if you love working with electronics (pcb as you mention in your post), then i think that is worth pursuing. talk to an advisor at the school you are going to attend, they may be able to point you to a program at the school that can scratch both itches

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Read through what every course offers and see what you think you will enjoy doing - personally I think that the more general the engineering major is the better for your future, as you get to taste different things and maybe find what you will want to do for masters - also with the rapidly shifting job market it will allow you to be more mobile. Also, remember that finishing a given major does not mean you are destined to work in that field to the end of your life ;)

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For UK universities undergrad is very flexible and you will be able to steer your degree in later years in a specific direction. For more technical areas like electronics design that is more post grad level of specialisation. 

 

Another aspect of UK universities that many people will tell you doesn't matter, but absolutely does is where you go matters. There are a lot of Universities in the UK, but there are two categories of picking a good one:

1. A University that is so good it barely matters what you do and even a mediocre degree will take you a long way.

2. A University that is highly specialised and renowned in the field you are interested in.

 

If you are lucky you can get both. For 1 it can be harder as sometimes good reputations are harshly guarded so the academic rigour is fairly extreme and not necessarily very practical. For 2 sometimes you get pigeonholed by the level of specialisation so getting out of that area later can be tough if it isn't what you want.

 

So generally a vaguely in the right field degree or something more generic such as Electrical Engineering or Physics from a good Russel Group university will set you in good stead for future workplaces and then potentially post graduate work. Particularly as a good University can let you skip the need for an MSc which usually aren't funded, before doing a PhD which in the UK are generally funded.

 

Working out what universities have the best reputation for a particular field requires a bit of research, you need someone in the field to tell you that for example Chemical Engineering is best at Strathclyde etc. Also will avoid you being directed into a University where the degree course isn't designed for what you want as at undergrad there is a wide variation in what is in scope of a subject and what it can look like.

 

P.S. GPA isn't a thing in the UK at all, and Colleges are things IN Universities or non-university education facilities. UK uses something call common marking scheme which isn't GPA friendly, its something to not be surprised about as an A under the US style grading system with GPA equates to between 60%and 70% in a UK institution which is a 2:1 or Merit. A Major also isn't something that is a thing as there is no such thing as a minor in a UK university in the same way as in US style universities.

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32 minutes ago, killer5247 said:

I cannot take risks

Find an internship now before you commit to anything.

When I graduated I saw electrical engineering jobs ask for either a physics degree or EE. I think you cannot go wrong with either. There are hundreds of graduates for every graduate position. Competition is high. You need good grades + honours or a post-graduate diploma + an internship. Otherwise you will end up like me working in a call center.

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
37 minutes ago, Theguywhobea said:

Sounds kinda like you want computer engineering, or maybe electro-mech. I know when I got my bachelors in CE I did a lot of courses on computer architecture and microprocessors. If that's your thing and you want some software with a little IT sprinkled in it might be right for you.

The Electrical and Electronic courses do teach computer architecture while CSE teaches on advanced but I was thinking of taking a major with number of things so that even if I don't get a job in computers I can atleast be employed with my skill and knowledge


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Posted · Original PosterOP
26 minutes ago, Konrad_K said:

Read through what every course offers and see what you think you will enjoy doing - personally I think that the more general the engineering major is the better for your future, as you get to taste different things and maybe find what you will want to do for masters - also with the rapidly shifting job market it will allow you to be more mobile. Also, remember that finishing a given major does not mean you are destined to work in that field to the end of your life ;)

Well I won't be doing my masters for atleast 5 years because I will be already having student loan of around 60k pounds on my neck


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Posted · Original PosterOP
31 minutes ago, mr195 said:

i know financially it is scary, but in the long run it is definitely best to do something that you will enjoy doing. if you love working with electronics (pcb as you mention in your post), then i think that is worth pursuing. talk to an advisor at the school you are going to attend, they may be able to point you to a program at the school that can scratch both itches

My school does not have any that sort of counselor tho I did try to talk to some counselors but they weren't helpful


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Posted · Original PosterOP
25 minutes ago, warriorscot said:

For UK universities undergrad is very flexible and you will be able to steer your degree in later years in a specific direction. For more technical areas like electronics design that is more post grad level of specialisation. 

 

Another aspect of UK universities that many people will tell you doesn't matter, but absolutely does is where you go matters. There are a lot of Universities in the UK, but there are two categories of picking a good one:

1. A University that is so good it barely matters what you do and even a mediocre degree will take you a long way.

2. A University that is highly specialised and renowned in the field you are interested in.

 

If you are lucky you can get both. For 1 it can be harder as sometimes good reputations are harshly guarded so the academic rigour is fairly extreme and not necessarily very practical. For 2 sometimes you get pigeonholed by the level of specialisation so getting out of that area later can be tough if it isn't what you want.

 

So generally a vaguely in the right field degree or something more generic such as Electrical Engineering or Physics from a good Russel Group university will set you in good stead for future workplaces and then potentially post graduate work. Particularly as a good University can let you skip the need for an MSc which usually aren't funded, before doing a PhD which in the UK are generally funded.

 

Working out what universities have the best reputation for a particular field requires a bit of research, you need someone in the field to tell you that for example Chemical Engineering is best at Strathclyde etc. Also will avoid you being directed into a University where the degree course isn't designed for what you want as at undergrad there is a wide variation in what is in scope of a subject and what it can look like.

 

P.S. GPA isn't a thing in the UK at all, and Colleges are things IN Universities or non-university education facilities. UK uses something call common marking scheme which isn't GPA friendly, its something to not be surprised about as an A under the US style grading system with GPA equates to between 60%and 70% in a UK institution which is a 2:1 or Merit. A Major also isn't something that is a thing as there is no such thing as a minor in a UK university in the same way as in US style universities.

Well I have some Unis on the list-

1. University of Warwick

2. University of Bristol

3. University of Surrey

4. University of Southampton

5. University of Birmingham

And also I want to ask what do you think of Electrical and Electronic engineering?


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Posted · Original PosterOP
8 minutes ago, foldingNoob said:

Find an internship now before you commit to anything.

When I graduated I saw electrical engineering jobs ask for either a physics degree or EE. I think you cannot go wrong with either. There are hundreds of graduates for every graduate position. Competition is high. You need good grades + honours or a post-graduate diploma + an internship. Otherwise you will end up like me working in a call center.

 

Well I had a internship in my town building computers and stuff I also did some basic work over OEM motherboards as they had no warranty and customers wanted the same thing repaired so yeah I do have the experience...


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Posted · Original PosterOP

The only drawback I am having if I don't choose computer system engineering are-

1. Not getting to study advanced architecture of processors

2. Not getting to learn advanced C++.

Advantages of Taking EEE-

1. Better job chances 

2. Getting to study much more widened course and much more practical work with projects and internships also as companies like Intel/AMD/Nvidia prefer Electrical and Electronic engineers

Disadvantage of taking double major rather than a single major like Electrical or Electronic in particular:-

1. Too much homework and classes.


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21 minutes ago, killer5247 said:

Well I have some Unis on the list-

1. University of Warwick

2. University of Bristol

3. University of Surrey

4. University of Southampton

5. University of Birmingham

And also I want to ask what do you think of Electrical and Electronic engineering?

Of your list Surrey is the only one I wouldn't go to, Redding does have a good Electrical/Electronics department though from feedback from a colleague on my Doctoral programme(at least they did a few years ago) if that particular area is important.

 

The Scottish Universities are also pretty good, Edinburgh has an Electronics and Comp Sci programme and a great Physics programme, Glasgow does the same for both programmes although not as good at Physics.

 

Warwick is a pretty good technical uni, it's more in the boutique category than some of the others and is a bit remote(edge of Coventry). Bristol is decent place, but has gotten a lot more expensive as a place to live which isn't something to sniff at. Southampton is ok, but can be a bit of a rough place, and middling reputation for some things.

 

I would look at the individual programmes offered and see what suits you at each place as a start. Then compare that to their respective rankings and if the two lists don't match decide which one looks best.

 

In terms of reputation Bristol is probably the best one on your list for a large University, followed by Birmingham. There are obviously even better ones at the UK.

 

There is a few places that do rankings for particular fields in the UK which can be useful.

 

You also might want to consider where you want to live for three years.

 

PS to the points you made in another post: Work load is the same regardless of what degree you pick. You will learn whatever coding you need for the work, but Computer Systems in the UK is more IT based in a lot of places. Electrical/Electronics is safer as that is harder to learn practically or in your own time.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
6 minutes ago, warriorscot said:

Of your list Surrey is the only one I wouldn't go to, Redding does have a good Electrical/Electronics department though from feedback from a colleague on my Doctoral programme(at least they did a few years ago) if that particular area is important.

 

The Scottish Universities are also pretty good, Edinburgh has an Electronics and Comp Sci programme and a great Physics programme, Glasgow does the same for both programmes although not as good at Physics.

 

Warwick is a pretty good technical uni, it's more in the boutique category than some of the others and is a bit remote(edge of Coventry). Bristol is decent place, but has gotten a lot more expensive as a place to live which isn't something to sniff at. Southampton is ok, but can be a bit of a rough place, and middling reputation for some things.

 

I would look at the individual programmes offered and see what suits you at each place as a start. Then compare that to their respective rankings and if the two lists don't match decide which one looks best.

 

In terms of reputation Bristol is probably the best one on your list for a large University, followed by Birmingham. There are obviously even better ones at the UK.

 

There is a few places that do rankings for particular fields in the UK which can be useful.

 

You also might want to consider where you want to live for three years.

 

PS to the points you made in another post: Work load is the same regardless of what degree you pick. You will learn whatever coding you need for the work, but Computer Systems in the UK is more IT based in a lot of places. Electrical/Electronics is safer as that is harder to learn practically or in your own time.

Surrey is actually my last point if I don't get into those listed the decent one's,

Also I don't go out much not much of a guy who has a lot of friends and stuff I keep a small friends group and ignore going out most of the time,

Also yes Warwick is actually nice the Electrical and Electronic course is really fascinating out there while Scottish universities you said about don't actually take my board in I am studying from RBSE state board of Rajasthan those mentioned here accept my board and I can't do A-levels and stay back one year.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
36 minutes ago, killer5247 said:

Well I have some Unis on the list-

1. University of Warwick

2. University of Bristol

3. University of Surrey

4. University of Southampton

5. University of Birmingham

And also I want to ask what do you think of Electrical and Electronic engineering?

Btw these unis are also choosen on the basis of which of them gives me the best curriculum and placement,

Intel comes in these universities to give placements for people of the course Electrical and Electronic engineering.

(Also I am not very sure right now I will be applying in them with my 1st term and predicted grade marks for finals)


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4 hours ago, killer5247 said:

Surrey is actually my last point if I don't get into those listed the decent one's,

Also I don't go out much not much of a guy who has a lot of friends and stuff I keep a small friends group and ignore going out most of the time,

Also yes Warwick is actually nice the Electrical and Electronic course is really fascinating out there while Scottish universities you said about don't actually take my board in I am studying from RBSE state board of Rajasthan those mentioned here accept my board and I can't do A-levels and stay back one year.

In terms of area it isn't so much night life, just general quality of life that matters, students will be students anywhere. The best time I had at University was a post grad in Newcastle where the cost of living allowed a significantly more comfortable lifestyle.

 

Warwick is pretty good though, as I said more boutique which can be good as it offers something more bespoke and it's strong on technical subjects especially.

 

Acceptance criteria is a toughy, the better the University the unfortunately more exclusive they are in what they accept. The Oxbridges, Edinburgh, Durham and St Andrews being particularly snobby about essentially only accepting baccalaureate, US & British qualifications and even then they can be picky. That being said it is worth noting you can transfer Universities in the UK after year 1 pretty easily, particularly Russel Group if you already have the credits for a full year.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
9 hours ago, warriorscot said:

can transfer Universities in the UK after year 1 pretty easily, particularly Russel Group if you already have the credits for a full year.

I don't think I will be doing that I was also looking at Nottingham and Bath,

But intel doesn't comes to Nottingham and Bath is ranked too low


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Wouldn't doing Nottingham, would do Bath as it is a lovely place to spend 3 years and one of the nicest places in the UK. Bath University though is in the unenviable position of being exclusive, but not really for the merits of its academic reputation like Oxbridges and Edinburgh are.

 

As a Newcastle Alumn myself I can fully recommend it,albeit I was on the Civil Engineering side so limited contact with the sparkies and faireys(British military slang for Electrical and Electronics). My time at Newcastle was some of the best of my life, I loved the University and the city is a fantastic place to be a student. I don't know about Intel on campus, but ARM guys were up on the regular and a lot of the bigger software/hardware outfits were also out in force, most of the Comp Eng guys ended up at Red Hat or Google.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 hours ago, warriorscot said:

Wouldn't doing Nottingham, would do Bath as it is a lovely place to spend 3 years and one of the nicest places in the UK. Bath University though is in the unenviable position of being exclusive, but not really for the merits of its academic reputation like Oxbridges and Edinburgh are.

 

As a Newcastle Alumn myself I can fully recommend it,albeit I was on the Civil Engineering side so limited contact with the sparkies and faireys(British military slang for Electrical and Electronics). My time at Newcastle was some of the best of my life, I loved the University and the city is a fantastic place to be a student. I don't know about Intel on campus, but ARM guys were up on the regular and a lot of the bigger software/hardware outfits were also out in force, most of the Comp Eng guys ended up at Red Hat or Google.

Well bath doesn't teaches computer architecture in Electrical and Electronic course doe Warwick and Southampton do 

I will check out Newcastle as your suggestion thanks


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If your in a country other than the USA (one with a subsidised uni system) do something your interested in, courses are more about how you sell/advertise your skills to an employer. Otherwise you'll get it right to second time or during a post grad degree. I work in the area I did my masters in, my undergrad not so much and (at least in Australia) that's rather common, most undergrad course outside of  education and engineering (mechanical/civil) end in student unemployment (stats say roughly 25-30% 18-25 year olds with UG) 


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