Need help picking electives

Thread Starter

StrongPenguin

Joined Jun 9, 2018
287
Let me start by saying, I plan to work in the realm of embedded and/or electronics, hopefully.

I am beginning a bachelors degree in marine engineering this summer, but only the "top part", meaning it will only take a year (however I will spend longer time on mine, since I will be doing it while I'm sailing)

A little background on the marine engineering education. It has a lot of electrical circuit analysis courses, 3-phase, one electronic course/project, direct current circuit analysis, AC circuits, voltage drop calculations, electrical machines (transformers, generators, motors..), and calculations on electronic circuits with transistors, diodes, op-amps (I think). We had a fair share of electrical and electronic work. This is many years ago, before the education a bachelor degree.

Now, fastforward to today. Most of the courses are fixed, but I will be able to pick about four electives. I think I can pick almost anything. Almost.

1) I picked electromagnetism because it sounds so manly, and just so fundamental. Correct my if I'm wrong.
2) Electromagnet sensors and DSP - https://kurser.dtu.dk/course/2020-2021/62739
3) Measurement and control with microprocessors - https://kurser.dtu.dk/course/2020-2021/62752 (I need one programming course)
4) Analog Design - https://kurser.dtu.dk/course/2020-2021/62737 (Continues on the work I have done up until now)

There is a rather big course called Intro To Embedded, which I thought about replacing something with, since it sounds very fundamental, too.

Thoughts?
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
1,826
I don't know if you have programming in your background, so just throwing this out there- You need to take some programming courses as well- most micro-controllers use C (which is the best language for such things because it has no limits- conversely, your fully responsible for all that power and using it correctly). If you don't want to do real programming, dabble with Arduino, which will get you 'introduced' to embedded things and IoT possibilities.
 

Thread Starter

StrongPenguin

Joined Jun 9, 2018
287
@BobaMosfet I have done some programming with "real" MCU, so to speak, but not much. I am definitely going to pick one. Was thinking about doing a MCU programming course, since there are a couple to pick from.

I guess the core of my dilemma is, that my backing is neither/or. And with this bachelors degree and 30 points electives I get to pick, I can focus more on a specific path. I just can decide if it should be electronics or embedded. I can only imagine focusing on EE would be silly, because I doubt I could get work as an EE with my background, even though I would closely have what amounts to a full EE bachelors degree.
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
1,826
Ask yourself why you are attracted to these fields of interest, and consider the reality of the choice of going down one pathway or the other- will the end result be what you want? Ultimately that is what you are trying to decide. Don't decide for a possible employment opportunity- decide for what you have a passion for. If you have a passion, you will find a pathway and you will be happy.
 

Thread Starter

StrongPenguin

Joined Jun 9, 2018
287
I would not say I have a passion for either of them, but rather when I decide to switch carrere lanes, It will be either embedded or electronics, because I enjoy very much working with those and I am fascinated by both topics, though limited experience.

One issue is that both are completely foregein worlds to me. I would just like to educate me so, that I would fit them both. I live in a country with very limited job oppertunities, so I have to think in broad terms.

I have the impression that if I go with electronics focus, I could still work in embedded, but not the other way around.

Embedded is, though, a bit more interesting for me.
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
1,826
You can move from either to the other. It's just that if you want to do both- do both. Electronics doesn't require embedded. Embedded however, requires electronics. Understand what 'embedded' means in the career context- it means you can write firmware, put it in an MCU, and then design a circuit around that MCU. Electronics means- you can design electronic circuits, but it doesn't mean you know how to write firmware. You could connect an MCU to your circuit that somebody else has programmed, if you have a datasheet explaining how their MCU works (no different than connecting your electronics to any other semiconductor). But if YOU want to write firmware and do custom things with your own IC, and the create a circuit around that, you need to learn how to do embedded programming.

Just some thoughts--

As for career path- Don't tell people what you can do or show them a piece of paper- they expect you know something if you have the piece of paper (degree). What is more impressive to people is to show them working projects you have completed, because not only does it demonstrate actual knowledge & experience, not just academia, it gives you a chance to impress them because you can talk about how you did something better than normal because you understood the datasheets and were able to (for example), operate a circuit for half the current that is normally required, because you did X, Y, and Z.

Honestly, in today's world- if you can do it, forge your own road. Learn for you, get some business education- learn how to do accounting (not book keeping, but _accounting_). Book-keeping is just tabulating information in a set of financial ledgers. Accounting is learning how to look at and evaluate and use those numbers. People shy away from accounting, but if you want to be successful, understanding how to read a P&L statement, understand balance sheets, and understanding how to leverage that information makes it far, far easier for you to be successful doing your own thing with any skill set you possess (or multiples- the more you know, the broader your reach).

Don't consider what you're learning now, where you will end up. That isn't how life works. Few people ultimately wind up in the career they may have a degree in. In the USA, in colleges and universities, we have counselors to talk to. And one of the resources they have available is Career Outlook information. Basically an A to Z of all the current careers, what they make, what the work is like, and the requirements. If counselors in your insitution can provide this- get a copy and peruse it. You will learn more about what is out there and what is going on job-wise, quicker than any other way.

Don't be afraid to look at job openings in fields you may never have thought of- marine, railroad, geologic, law enforcement. And tailor your educational path to help you get in to something like that. You may discover untold possibilities to develop technologies with what you know that have never been addressed- and are needed.

IMHO
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,929
I have the impression that if I go with electronics focus, I could still work in embedded, but not the other way around.
I wouldn't be overly concerned about which classes you take. College is more to teach you the fundamentals and how to think. Most of what I do I didn't learn in school (personal computers hadn't been invented, there was no internet or email, and C was still a curiosity at Bell Labs). I spent 3 decades doing software development at a microprocessor company and a number of things I learned on the job aren't in books yet.

When I was working as an R&D technician in the late 70's, I was doing IC layout on a computer using a stylus (the mouse hadn't been invented yet). University students working on MSEE degrees were still cutting ruby; as were some semiconductor companies.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubylith
 

Thread Starter

StrongPenguin

Joined Jun 9, 2018
287
@BobaMosfet You helped clear things up for me, thanks a whole heap. I am going to pick embedded for my electives, as they are harder to come by where I live, and I find it a very interesting subject.

@dl324 Yes, totally agree. Most important thing is getting a job in the field you enjoy, and sticking with it, in my experience. You learn a lot that way.
 
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