Not sure which second major to choose?

Thread Starter


Joined Sep 6, 2011
So I'm entering my 3rd year of an Electrical Engineering degree and we're required to choose a second major from the following:
1. Control Systems
2. Power and Energy Systems
3. Signal Processing
4. Telecommunications

And I'm unsure which one to go for because I have interests in all fields! I'm fascinated by electric motors, generating electricity and developing methods to transmit that energy wirelessly, but I'm also interested in transmitting and receiving data. I'm also drawn to the hardware aspect that Control Systems would offer, since I would like to focus my future career in the hardware/electronics side of things and somehow combine it with telecom/signal processing, but also include generating electricity in that too...crazy I know :rolleyes:

I know that going with 2. will definitely guarantee me a job in Australia and anywhere else in the (Western) world. But from what I know, this type of role seems to be more of an office work based job? Since the power plants are usually so far from the major cities. I'd rather have an even combination of practical and office type work. I think I'd prefer to work in a research type of company/institution with regards to this discipline then.

I know that I can combine at most, two of the disciplines/majors in my future career, so I can narrow it down that way. I've looked through the course structure for each major and their electives, and I've seen that a lot of the electives cross over into all the other majors so I can still broaden my scope that way.

Right now I'm leaning towards either Control Systems or Telecommunications. Anyone care to offer some advice? What it's like in the industry and such?


Joined Feb 19, 2009
4 will often cover/overlap a lot with #3

With your desires, control theory would be a better fit and offer the most opportunities post college. Lots of people need PLC systems designed/upgraded/fixed.

This is assuming you already plan on the second option, and want to pick two.


Joined Oct 26, 2011
I would suggest Robotics which would probably be covered best by control systems--that will be the wave of the future.


Joined Apr 13, 2011
For what it's worth, I've heard a lot of people who market themselves as telecom experts losing their jobs overseas. Regardless of what the overlaps are and what each field entails, that seems to be the psychology. For that reason, I would avoid telecom for that reason. Other than that I know a handful of people in Signal Processing jobs who really enjoy their work.


Joined Apr 25, 2008
Telcom never went out of business,they changed the name.They were

doing most of the governments work,too big to fail.The government

agengies had to communicate. A lot of people lost every thing,but the

government had to keep communicating,that the new world we live in.


Joined Mar 24, 2008
Hate to disagree, but long distance telecom as we know it is gone. It was absorbed by the internet. I worked 24 years with Rockwell (Collins Division), and then Alcatel. Alcatel survives, but not in the USA manufacturing telecom stuff, which was all internet related equipment. The .com bust killed that division, and hurt a lot of other companies that were in the field.

Collins Radio, before it was bought by Rockwell, used to make anything radio related. When I joined the company they made AM/FM commercial broadcast transmitters, HAM equipment, long distance telephone, government radios, that sort of stuff. The HAM gear was considered top of the line long after the company disappeared.

Basically fiber optics has taken over most of the functions that were done with racks of microwave equipment. Most of the legacy equipment, such as satellites, have gone digital and now support the internet. The fibers carrying the information (as in internet) stay the same, but the equipment keeps improving and getting faster and faster. When I was pushed out the fibers that started by carrying a couple hundred megabytes of data were carrying 40 channels of 40 gigabytes each, and that was over 10 years ago.

It was a good living while it lasted, and I miss it.
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