Advice on my career

Hello guys, I am currently a freshman taking a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. The first time I got into programming I fell in love with it and never stopped learning ever since. I also joined a robotics competition and love being technical sometimes. I did not choose computer engineering because I want to become a computer engineer, I chose it because I want to know more about how technology works and be a part of the evolution of it especially computers. Am I making the right decision in taking BSCpE?

Sure, if you like it, it seems to be the way to go.

and if you want to be part of sth that “changes the world”, you need to find yourself a project which has a promising impact where you can contribute and play an important role.

I have build a remote communication & collaboration solution with some “missing links” for helping “the machine” to better understand human communication - and in the very near future this/such a solutions will

  1. help the locally distributed teams with their work

  2. collect all data from communication & collaboration

  3. analyze the situation of the project, the team, the individuals - and identify the great ideas and solution so they can be suggested to others being in comparable situations.

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Back when I was younger I was looking into the type of careers I could get into when I was older. I knew I liked technology, and understood that technology was the future. So I looked around a few degrees and careers to get an idea of what was out there. I eventually broke things down to basically 3 categories, each with their own pros and cons.

  1. Computer Engineering - focused more on the hardware and lower level, closer to the machine.
  2. Computer Science - focused more on the software and higher level, closer to the user and further from the machine.
  3. IT - focused more on the “human interaction with computing”.

Those three essentially are all required to bridge the gap between a computer’s hardware to the end-user. There are generally a lot more steps between, and more careers within each category.

I personally ended up going the Computer Science route, as I found the concept of learning more about how the software side works more intriguing. As to me, it seemed the most “magical”.

The question if your “making the right decision” ultimately comes down to where on that spectrum you find things most interesting. If you like the hardware concepts, the hard problems faced with building hardware now, such as limits on More’s Law, then your probably in the right bet.

If your finding what your learning to be cool, but might like the idea of software, being more your tastes, then maybe I’d look into switching to Computer Science.

Or, if you like the idea of dealing more with the whole system from a user perspective, and managing it at a “human level”, then general IT, and all its sub-categories might be something worth looking into.

The good news is it sounds like you like what your learning about and find it interesting enough to stick with it. You could change majors to something more align to your tastes, or stick with what you have.

I highly recommend talking with your counselor at school and bring up any concerns you have about your major and what you like, its still early switching shouldn’t be much of an issue. Regardless they are they to help you with these sorts of things and walk you through the process, be sure to leverage them.

Regardless of what you end up doing, good luck, keep building, keep learning!

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@florian.s thank you for your advice. The projects that you have made are really inspiring. Keep up the good work. I also have a big dream and a big project I want to accomplish in the near future. It only does not involve me but also my country since we are a bit left behind in technology compared to other developing countries. I don’t know what it is yet but I believe this path could lead me closer to my goal.

@bradtaniguchi thank you for this information. I did a lot of research about those three courses a few months ago before entering the university and computer engineering took my attention. I did want to choose computer science but I thought to myself that I don’t want to stick in the software side only, I want to know more about how things work on the hardware too. Being able to apply my code to a machine, robot or something is a really rewarding feeling. It just makes me sad that I can’t take the full advantage of learning in college because it’s all online and I am always at home.

I will try to take your advice in talking with my counselors about concerns of my major. I still hope I don’t think about switching because I don’t want to waste any precious time.

All three of those majors (or similar) have a lot of overlap, so odds are you wouldn’t have to repeat almost anything and should be able to re-use your coursework between them.

This is still pretty “high level” stuff, until you start getting into the lowest levels where you start talking about the actual hardware, IE the logic gates, and physics of the actual hardware. The sort of code you’d write here would be low-level code that acts more as a bridge between the hardware and higher levels.
Examples I can think of would be something like learning how to build a calculator from the actual hardware to the interface buttons. In this scenario there is no actual “code” per-say, it’s all engineering.
Another would be writing assembly code that directly interacts with the system and is a near translation to the actual 1s and 0s running on the hardware. From there you could be writing code that ends up as a driver or some kind.

All three have some overlap, so you’d get an idea of how the entire process works, but you only end up focusing on some areas of it later. This is why I can give a rough idea of how the lowest levels work, even though I’m not a Computer Engineer. I had roughly 3 classes dedicated to “low levels” of computing. The rest focused more on the higher levels, math and theoretical theory underpinning programming. I assume Computer Engineering would focus more on the actual engineering of computers instead.

Due to this overlap between the multitude of majors, you could stick with your major and still get a “programmer job” later, if that is what you desire. As long as you understand how computers work, and how to program you should be ok.

Regardless of what you do, your right to think “computers are the future”.


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