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overdose
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#1
15th May 2006
Old 15th May 2006
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Electrical Engineer Or Computer Engineer

Currently in school completing all my bull classes, trying to decide on what option to choose. I want to design music equip in my spare time, but will probably try to get a job with the Gov. I want to make sure we don't miss.
For those of you that are engineers what would you suggest? Both are considered BSEE degrees.

I would love to Co-op with a company like Manley, Aurora Audio, or any top notch equipment maker. I love music gear. I'm a slut with no money to buy.
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15th May 2006
Old 15th May 2006
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I'd say electronics engineering. Historically, electrical engineering has included power and power transmission (and distribution in factories and things like that).

Computer engineering will be all about digital and fairly narrow in scope (and won't include much that can be applied to musical electonics - unless you're "in the box").



-tINY

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15th May 2006
Old 15th May 2006
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What jobs?

Huntsville?

There aren't any government jobs in Huntsville.







[note: the smiley face means I'm being facetious]

Last edited by Jimbo; 9th February 2008 at 07:33 PM.. Reason: Added 'note' because at least one person thought I was serious
#4
17th May 2006
Old 17th May 2006
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Electrical engineer.

But you need to check school. I don’t know about your part of the country.
But everyone that is looking for “qualified” engineers for audio design are finding
out that “analog” classes are no longer being offered at most schools here in California.
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#5
17th May 2006
Old 17th May 2006
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Depends on whether you like coding in assembly or C better
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17th May 2006
Old 17th May 2006
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Just checked the course schedual again.
They Have Analog Circuits I with a lab
and Analog Circuits II with Analysis.
Looks good.

Not sure about the coding. I probably will not like coding in either
I think writing code is boring and should be left to the computer scientists.
A small amount of coding to understand what needs to be done, but writing line after line is not for me.
#7
18th May 2006
Old 18th May 2006
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Quote:
Depends on whether you like coding in assembly or C better
Reminds me of an old joke: a good electrical engineer can write FORTRAN (all caps because that's how it's spelled, not for emphasis) in any language.

Quote:
Not sure about the coding. I probably will not like coding in either
I think writing code is boring and should be left to the computer scientists.
A small amount of coding to understand what needs to be done, but writing line after line is not for me.
Then the computer engineering major might not be a good fit. Most computer engineers wind up doing computer design work in programming languages like Verilog, which is used to design custom computer chips. From my limited experience with it, Verilog looks a lot like C.

My recommendation: take the first analog design classes, as well as the first digital design classes (you'll need both to graduate anyways, right?). At that point, pick which one you prefer. Either way, take a path that gets you into the "signals" portions of the cirruculum, and learn (very likely on your own) how to make that apply to audio.

Byron Jacquot
#8
18th May 2006
Old 18th May 2006
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I would go with engineering management. At the speed they are off shoring EE's and CE's, you may not find a job unless you move to India.

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18th May 2006
Old 18th May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overdose
I would love to Co-op with a company like Manley, Aurora Audio, or any top notch equipment maker.
You might try contacting the HR dept (or one of the engineers) of these companies, tell them you're an undergrad and ask them which course of study they would recommend. Ask them about GPA requirements, internships, etc.
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#10
26th January 2008
Old 26th January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overdose View Post
Currently in school completing all my bull classes, trying to decide on what option to choose. I want to design music equip in my spare time, but will probably try to get a job with the Gov. I want to make sure we don't miss.
For those of you that are engineers what would you suggest? Both are considered BSEE degrees.

I would love to Co-op with a company like Manley, Aurora Audio, or any top notch equipment maker. I love music gear. I'm a slut with no money to buy.
You'll make more $$ in software. Where I work Software pays between 80k - 120k
EE's make between 70 - 100k per year. With exceptions if your a manager or something.

I was an ME for years until I switched to SW in 1997. Eventually EE's may become scarce and it may increase the salaries but I think software is the way to go.

The funny thing is 75% of EE's I know can write code. But for some reason the industry pays less. I think it's because SW engineers with CS degrees are far and few between. But there are many more attending school for CS degrees so it may change. But I find most EE's write C or asm. Very few can develop GUI's with MFC , Cocoa or Swing. Maybe that's the difference?
#11
26th January 2008
Old 26th January 2008
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I'm also from a southern engineering school, and studied Computer engineering... didn't graduate, mind you, but that hasn't slowed me down much.

In both CE and EE (not CS!), you'll start off with passive electricity (called Networks) and move to Electronics which is all about semiconductors.

The difference comes into play when you want to take the upper level classes. You'll have choices of things like signal processing (great stuff), communications theory (also deceptively titled... really filter theory), operating systems, and VLSI design.

Anyway, in EE, you don't have any choice but to study things like power transmission (just power transformers and high voltage) and control systems (what makes manufacturing work) and that stuff sucks. In CE, you have more choice to mix and match computer programming courses with analog theory classes and then learn to make them work together in DSP.


good luck...

-s
#12
27th January 2008
Old 27th January 2008
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<begin tirade mode>

OK, there are a number of competing issues here. Start with your desires in life. Most people seem to design their careers based upon perceptions of what the big corporations and government offer. Phrases life "career path" come to mind. Also ideas like "eventually get into management" stuff like that. What you don't hear is anything approaching passion for the subject matter. It becomes the part of your life by which you make the money to do the stuff you really want to do. Which is fine, so far as it goes, but is also limiting.

Then you get the problems that beset the modern university engineering courses (including computer science) where there has been significant emphasis on dumbing down in order to keep enrolments up. This leads to some very short sighted choices.

Think about how long your career is likely to be. 40 plus years. In that time the technological pointy end is going to change out of sight. 40 years ago the fastest computer on the planet was a CDC 6600, which was hand crafted out of discrete transistors. Most universities only owned one computer, and electrical engineering was all about power distribution and conversion, electronic engineering all about RF design. Now, in your lifetime, where are things going to go?

The point? Get the fundamentals right. Which means getting the mathematics. This doesn't change. Look at audio. If you are interested in design for audio, especially the recording side, you need underpinnings. Much of what you need to know isn't taught as core curriculum subject matter. You won't find undergraduate stuff on ultra low distortion amplifier design for audio. But think about what is relevant. You need signals, if you don't know Fourier you can't reason about distortion, sampling, DSP, etc. If you want to design the next big thing in compressors you had better have a firm grasp of control theory. Even if only to understand what has gone before. In your career it won't matter what the latest and greatest technological marvel is, it will obey these fundamental mathematics and physics.

The danger I see now is that many students are leaving universities with poorer and poorer grounding in these fundamentals at the expense of sexy subjects that have transitory value. It is these graduates that see their jobs vanish offshore.

So, computing versus electronics. Well my background is computer science. Heck, I have a PhD in it, and taught CS at university level for some years. My main regret in course selection at undergraduate level. I didn't do the EE stuff. I am largely self taught. Now I work at an EE design tools house. But in software. But even in CS the fundamentals are being ignored. When I was an undergraduate numerical methods and numerical analysis were fringe subjects, regarded as not really CS, and largely disliked by the students (including me.) Now with the passage of time I can see the extraordinary folly of this. We have entire generations of graduates who write numeric code that is not credible. Issues you see in DAW code can come under this heading too. Ironically I almost ended up teaching the numerical methods course a few years ago. Partly because I was one of the very few who was passionate enough about its importance. Again, no matter what the changes in technology, the underpinning mathematics don't change.

So, go the EE route. Pick the core subjects, see what really grabs your passion. Don't just think in terms of a nice easy career path. If you commoditise yourself, you will be treated as a commodity. Big government and big corporations regularly treat their employees as commodities. Outsourcing your job is always on the cards. Middle mangers are always the first to go in a crunch (sales guys are the last sadly) and a 50 year old unemployed middle manger usually never finds another job in the field. But if you have the passion to pursue a particular area there is vastly more about. Somehow I can't imagine Eveanna outsourcing Manley's design team to India.

<end tirade mode>
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#13
27th January 2008
Old 27th January 2008
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I don't know jack about either EE or CS.

I don't know how to draw either and I animate for a living. Self-taught on software. I went to school for film.

So...

You want to build gear right?

What does it take to build 'gear'? Find out.

What kind of gear fascinates you. Find out.

You're dealing with what in high school is called a vocational study. Analog circuits sounds like sound design to me.

Make this applied science your practice and philosophy, your form and function, and you will find at the end that you're doing what you want to do.

Queue gong.

dfegad

...and peeing monkey squirrel.
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#14
28th January 2008
Old 28th January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
Huntsville?

There aren't any government jobs in Huntsville.


NASA
#15
28th January 2008
Old 28th January 2008
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Let me illustrate this way. I have a friend a shade or two more obnoxious like myself. He has an EE degree. He like to go through the IT department and tell people "I can can do your job, you can't do mine." Almost any IT job will accept an EE or Math degree as much as a CS degree.

Plus, I will tell one thing for sure. Many of the best of us out here in programming hold no degree whatsoever. That includes me. I get paid the same as the degreed folks due. And I actually make a good part of my living completed or fixing the job someone with a degree, including Masters and Doctorates, failed at.

Get your EE. Any programmer worth hiring should be able to figure out how to write code in any language without a teacher. The profession existed decades before there was a degree for it.

But if you really want to do both, the University of Florida offers a dual major EE/CS program.
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#16
29th January 2008
Old 29th January 2008
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I took computer engineering, which is actually handy. I leaned more towards hardware when I was going through school, however, and landed a mostly hardware job. I think, however, that an EE program with a few CS courses would be more useful.

Operating systems (a course I had to take) was totally valuable for me as an embedded designer - hardware and software. Even though I may not write OS code, the concepts of deadlocks and resource management are critical to the real-time code I do. I would suggest an EE program with an introductory OS program (and whatever prereq's are required).

I would have liked to take not just DSP theory but also DSP implementation. EE's had the option of doing that - the CompE program did not have enough options for that unless you wanted to stay an extra term or two. I almost wished that I did that now.

After you get out of school, maybe get a textbook or two on courses that you missed that you would have liked to have taken, then learn them on your own before you get burnt out or loose the desire to learn a big subject. I started doing that on DSP's but I never really got a great handle on them.

-Dale
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29th January 2008
Old 29th January 2008
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'When I was an undergraduate numerical methods and numerical analysis were fringe subjects, regarded as not really CS, and largely disliked by the students (including me.) Now with the passage of time I can see the extraordinary folly of this. We have entire generations of graduates who write numeric code that is not credible. Issues you see in DAW code can come under this heading too. Ironically I almost ended up teaching the numerical methods course a few years ago. Partly because I was one of the very few who was passionate enough about its importance. Again, no matter what the changes in technology, the underpinning mathematics don't change.'


I started out in school in Aerospace engineering but switched to a non-technical major after living through (but only barely) all of the math and physics. I've since become a programmer and I've found that all of that math is actually pretty cool and useful and now it's what I'd like to do (as well as make recording gear). I think math, above all else, is the final frontier when it comes to software and hardware design. Anyways, for those who may be interested there's a great series of books, The Art of Computer Programming by D.E. Knuth:

The Art of Computer Programming

I found a copy of Volume 2 in a used book store for $20, a real steal. While the math in these books is geared towards computers and programming, there's a whole bunch of useful stuff for anyone who likes or needs to crunch numbers. I say nobody can go wrong by learning more math.
#18
29th January 2008
Old 29th January 2008
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RE: music gear jobs in Huntsville

Actually, Hear Technologies, the makers of the Hear Back and other studio-related items are located in Huntsville.

A studio I work at has some of their gear...the boss sent me out there to have one of his units updated. I found the Hear-guys very cool. They actually let me tour the technical lab and see the unit get worked on.

http://www.heartechnologies.com/

There's JMK Audio in Birmingham, which makes some killer pres.

Point is, you may not have to get Californicated or holler past the Mason-Dixon line to get schooled.

Don't even get me staated on Tennessee...
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#19
3rd February 2008
Old 3rd February 2008
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As others have stated, I think it really depends on the school and the program. At my university, other than EE requiring 9 hours of power and controls combined, the CpE/EE degrees are very similar in requirements and both highly customizable.

Of course, you want to have a solid understanding of analog electronics such as transistors & op-amps ("Electronics 1 & 2" here) and passive circuits ( Circuits 1 & 2 ), but I think it's also really helpful to know quite a bit about linear systems as well. The knowledge that I gained in my linear systems courses and labs has given me a much greater understanding of how a lot of basic audio equipment works (and how simple it can be, depending on how extreme your specifications are) , why it works, and how to analyze, interpret, and actually understand spectrum data.

Honestly, I think that for designing audio equipment, as boring as it is, it could certainly be helpful to be familiar with power systems... I can't help you with the controls stuff, although it does reinforce some of those linear systems concepts.

In either case, you have to suffer through about 9 hours of stuff that it seems you don't really need to know, but I'd say that's pretty fair given that a degree program is going to be at least ~130 credits.

For what it's worth, I just graduated as a computer engineer (and am now in a CpE M.S. program) with a pretty strong emphasis on linear systems and signal processing, and I would really like to work with audio whenever I finally get out. My biggest regret is that I didn't take the analog electronics courses in my undergrad, but my knowledge of software design and signal processing might get me a job writing plugins or something, which is cool with me.
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#20
3rd February 2008
Old 3rd February 2008
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Most audio manufacturers can't afford electrical engineers.

My friends who took EE are still very much in demand. My friends who took CS have all been forced to find another career.
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#21
5th February 2008
Old 5th February 2008
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UF engineering

"the University of Florida offers a dual major EE/CS program"...woot woot! UF EE student here. Go Gators. thumbsup OK..sorry about the shameless plug....

I agree with some of the other replies, focus on the fundamentals: the math, the physics, and imo the analog. Get involved with AES.

I also think that programming can be learned from practice and books...some people seem to really have a knack for it; analog electronic design seems to be more tough to learn without the guidance from those with experience.

But what do I know?....other than some co-ops I don't have any real-world experience, just advice from others (still a student myself..but very close to the end).

-Chris
#22
5th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironinthepath View Post
Get involved with AES.-Chris
I can't agree more. Joining while a student has lucrative advantages over trying to join later as an industry professional.

I used to live in Middle Tennessee, and was introduced to AES through a student chapter, in fact, the student chapter was heavily involved with the Nashville AES folks.

AES can get you face to face with real industry people and faculty.

Unfortunately, I live in Huntsville too, and I am not aware of a Huntsville chapter.

Does anyone know if AES chapters do satellite memberships..?
#23
5th February 2008
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The Nashville chapter is utterly awesome. If I lived in Huntsville, I wouldn't hesitate to drive up!
#24
5th February 2008
Old 5th February 2008
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I am finding this post very enlightening and would like to chime in with my personal experience. As a recent CE graduate I tried getting a job as an audio engineer for a while, and I have to say that landing a job with a degree in engineering is just as difficult as getting it with a 9-month technical degree (i.e. Full Sail, SAE), and maybe even harder, since they probably look at you more like a technical person and not so much as an artistic or creative person. Why would I go to college for 4 years so I can serve coffee and clean the studio's toilets, and not even get paid for it? lol, I don't get it either. On the other hand if you really are a techie you could get into design and r&d, and there are opportunities going on these days, a few large companies like avid, steinberg/yamaha, apple, sony, mackie(loud or whatever), to name a few and maybe several dozen small plugin and analog companies are worth working for. As for me, well, I've given up on my audio/music dreams for the moment and I am currently working as IT-consultant/programmer. Gotta pay the bills, you know, and it actually pays better

btw, in my opinion, a CE degree is a bit more well-rounded than EE since you get both the hw and sw backgrounds.
#25
5th February 2008
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The only thing you get from any school is an internship and connections. I'd pick a music school over a recording school because many of the folks you'll meet will be the ones hiring engineers.
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5th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boxymoron View Post
I am finding this post very enlightening and would like to chime in with my personal experience. As a recent CE graduate I tried getting a job as an audio engineer for a while, and I have to say that landing a job with a degree in engineering is just as difficult as getting it with a 9-month technical degree (i.e. Full Sail, SAE), and maybe even harder, since they probably look at you more like a technical person and not so much as an artistic or creative person. Why would I go to college for 4 years so I can serve coffee and clean the studio's toilets, and not even get paid for it? lol, I don't get it either. On the other hand if you really are a techie you could get into design and r&d, and there are opportunities going on these days, a few large companies like avid, steinberg/yamaha, apple, sony, mackie(loud or whatever), to name a few and maybe several dozen small plugin and analog companies are worth working for. As for me, well, I've given up on my audio/music dreams for the moment and I am currently working as IT-consultant/programmer. Gotta pay the bills, you know, and it actually pays better

btw, in my opinion, a CE degree is a bit more well-rounded than EE since you get both the hw and sw backgrounds.

Good luck getting a job doing power distribution systems with the CE degree. EE prepares you for all aspects of electrical and electronic system design. But then I don't know where you got the CE degree from. Doesn't seem like they would be spending much time on rf equipment, AC power systems, analog amplifiers, etc., but the world is full of surprises. I have worked back and forth for decades in both software and hardware (with NO degree to boot!) and have seen a lot a EEs in software and zero CEs in electronics.

As to a degree for audio, where, when, and in what universe (since the old days at the BBC) did a degree in anything make a studio want to hire someone? I would agree that a music degree is definitely a plus, but studio engineering is not about the technology, its about the art. There are some amazing engineers who couldn't tell you squat about what is inside. And very, very few of the ones that did could tell you how to design the software that dominated recording today. A technical degree is what you get to go to work for Sony designing studio equipment.

I use to live in Florida, spent a lot time at Full Sail as a musician helping out students in their live, video, and studio programs. I know quite a few people who graduated. Few of them had a career in audio, some actually had no skill whatsoever! A couple have become very successful, the training helped, but the fact that they graduated from Full Sail factored in zero. Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule) doesn't check your resume. You start out small and gain a reputation, that is all that matters, just as if you were a guitarist or drummer.
#27
5th February 2008
Old 5th February 2008
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A little bit in defence of CS too. Whilst it is true that you can teach yourself to program a bit out of a book, and probably enough that you can do useful things, this is not the same as the background that you get out of a CS course. We pretty much figure that teaching you to program is done by the end of the first year of the degree. Indeed we never do much beyond the first semester.

One of the most important problems a manager of a software project has to deal with the is range of productivity between programmers. IBM did a study that determined that there was a 9 to 1 difference in productivity between the best and the worst programmers they had. I know virtuoso programmers who can produce staggering amounts of good code in very short order. And I have worked with dullards who seemed to be glacial in comparison.

Further, people who simply regard CS as programming are at risk of simply not even knowing what it is that they don't know about the course contents. Beyond learning to write code there is a good couple of years of theory, mathematics, engineering practice, and study of specific areas and paradigms that many people simply don't know exist. A well rounded and experienced CS major should be able to be highly productive in an environment that calls for much more direct theoretical and design capability than simply the need to write code. Sadly there are a lot of jobs that only require simple coding skills (I used to joking term these jobs as "cannon fodder" jobs.)

These ideals are the same in all cases: EE, CE, CS. What is important is to get the background in deep theory and mathematics well beyond what you might think the demands of your first job might be. It will be your ability to shine when the going is tough, and cookbook, cookie cutter style answers are not enough, that makes your career.
#28
5th February 2008
Old 5th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I would go with engineering management. At the speed they are off shoring EE's and CE's, you may not find a job unless you move to India.

Jim Williams
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What Jim says is true, but those of us that know analog and power electronics will be in demand for the forseeable future, since there are few places teaching it anymore and few people learning it.

John
#29
5th February 2008
Old 5th February 2008
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Further, people who simply regard CS as programming are at risk of simply not even knowing what it is that they don't know about the course contents.
Yes! So true. And there lies the problem. I was originally appalled at the very lack of programming instruction in CS programs. But then it became clear. Much like any engineering course, you get an overview of a very wide field of which programming is just a small part. One reason why I recommend EE for people is that if they want to be programmers, a degree is next useless to begin with, like a degree in playing guitar. If they have the knack, they will mastering on their own. The EE degree will fill the requirement of virtually any HR wonk and they end up with an even greater overview than still encompasses digital electronics and math. If they want to get into microprocessor design, they likely will need a masters or PhD and then they go with a CS maybe. The problem stems from Human Resources in corporation who erroneously think a computer degree makes someone a programmer. Coding as skill, if taught, should be done so in a technical school much like a technician learns. And some of the technicial schools like ITT did start doing that.

I have been in software for about 12 years now. There is a butt load of worthless people with degrees - a staggering amount! Those of us without the degree who are employed professionally are virtually all smoking - how could be possibly be competing with people with advanced degrees if we were not? Now I am sure that if you get into the design of OSs or relational database engines, you are going to find a lot of lettered folks and very few of us. When it comes to applications development, creating the solutions on the front lines for end users, I have yet to meet a "trained" programmer who was better than any of us. In fact, I have been on a number of mixed teams and we more often than not ended up the leads. And I have mentored many those college kids who couldn't get it themselves even with the degree.
#30
5th February 2008
Old 5th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan View Post
One of the most important problems a manager of a software project has to deal with the is range of productivity between programmers. IBM did a study that determined that there was a 9 to 1 difference in productivity between the best and the worst programmers they had. I know virtuoso programmers who can produce staggering amounts of good code in very short order. And I have worked with dullards who seemed to be glacial in comparison.
Very true!!!
Yesterday I was working on a board tester that needed to talk over an odd communication bus (Freescale BDM). I need to know digital hardware, programmable logic devices, and software. Plus, since I have a coprocessor involved in the communication, I need to ensure that the main and coprocessor do not interfere with each other. All of those items were covered (briefly) in my CE program, and I'm very comfortable working with PLD's, code, and board layout. I can't imagine trying to get this going without a good background in both hardware and software.
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