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To Be Or Not To Be A CET?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the today's-risky-career-choices dept.

Businesses 86

maxdamage asks: "After reading an earlier Ask Slashdot article and the responses, I am very worried about my future career plans. This fall I am going into CET, which is essentially a cross between a CS and an Electrical Engineering degree. According to these responses, CS majors are doomed to spend their lives waiting tables. Does a computer related engineering degree give hope or should I change to a more general engineering program, before its too late?"

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Hard question (5, Insightful)

pauldy (100083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957677)

Here is the short answer if you are looking for big money IPOs and have little interest in computing technologies above and beyond that then don't do it. If you have a real passion for how computers work both hardware and software then the CET degree is for you. Jobs are to be had but employers are wising up to the flakes that have plagued the industry for the past 10+ years.

I'm assuming your talking about the DeVry University program and as they are local I can only tell you my experiences in the Dallas area. They are profit motivated, the recruiters get paid commission (CET/EET/Bio are the most expensive programs), and they have a few teachers who ought to be elsewhere, their registration system blows rhinos. If you read all that and thought so I just want to learn then I would say don't worry any more about it and just go for it you will be glad you did.

Re:Hard question (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 10 years ago | (#8971766)

If he was talking about the DeVry program, I'll chime in and echo your comments as well. I'm currently in the CET program at DeVry, and while I don't get a lot of background in the pure sciences to head on to that coveted PhD program in the sky (I still could, but I'd not have as much Math or Science as a typical "Engineering" undergrad would), I am finding that generally it's a decent enough program to be in. For me, the system does blow chunks in terms of quality of education, HOWEVER I am a pretty self-motivated learner anyways having taught myself BASIC programming back in HS, not to mention a slew of other disciplines never taught to me directly in a formal classroom setting. So having the "easy" DeVry program does allow a bit more time for self-study into programming and other areas of interest that would otherwise be time taken up studying for difficult math and sciences classes.

If you're currently already full-time working stiff, DeVry is a decent enough program for getting into the computer tech field. Just don't expect to walk out of there the programming genious you may aspire to be. It takes more self-study and experience to gain that anyways, so DeVry at least will give you the diploma necessary to get you job interviews for such positions.

Re:Hard question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8973432)

It takes more self-study and experience to gain that anyways, so DeVry at least will give you the diploma necessary to get you job interviews for such positions.
Except that many employeers (including my previous 3) would rank a DeVry degree about the same as a community-college (i.e. Associates)degree.

This is because it tends to focus on specifics rather then giving a good overall background that can be easily expanded on in the future.

Re:Hard question (1)

pauldy (100083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8992604)

Both you and the AC are speaking in generalities about a University with campuses all over the country and Canada too. I hardly think that you have enough of a scope to speak about anything but the experiences you have had at the particular campus in which you where enrolled.

I think experiences on this can vary due to the fact that DeVry is a for profit organization and I'm sure they fall prey to the ills that plague the work force as well. People often overstate their abilities to "get the job."

I found everything but the administration at the Dallas/Irving campus to be wonderful. I too am very self motivated and I made attempts at degrees from UT, UTA, Richland, TCJC. In the end, I found the program DeVry offered was my speed it allowed for more academic freedom and overall I dealt with less people who thought they knew everything and more time with people who overwhelmingly did. DeVry is the only college I have been to where the question of why this person is teaching was one of wonder and not some disdainful remark uttered in displeasure at the disposition of the instructor/professor.

Do what you really want to do (4, Insightful)

jgardn (539054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957680)

10 years from now, the last thing you want to do is realize you majored in a subject you don't like and you followed a career path that doesn't suit you. Don't major based on the pay scale of job opportunities -- major based solely on what you want to be doing in 10 years. Choose a major and a career path that will make you happy, and you will rise above the pack.

If all you are interested in is money (which some people find an enjoyable pursuit), then you are in the wrong field. Get a law degree, accounting degree, or a business degree. Those tend to work with a lot of money, and they never have a short supply of it. No matter where our world goes, we'll always need lawyers, accountants, and businesspeople.

4H Recruitment drive. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8957887)

"Choose a major and a career path that will make you happy, and you will rise above the pack."

Become a farmer. No one complains about them, and we certainly can't be outsourced. Plus you will be in touch with your roots (so to speak). People will be coming to you, TO YOU, to buy things. And yes farming is a very technical field, despite all the "image" in the media e.g. dumb hicks.

"No matter where our world goes, we'll always need lawyers, accountants, and businesspeople."

The same applies moreso to being a farmer (or rancher if that's your thing). All the above are you. You're your lawyer (within reason), accountant, and you most certainly are a businessman. So come on down, sit a spell, drink some moonshine, and we can talk about your new career.

Re:4H Recruitment drive. (1)

geoswan (316494) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958695)

Doesn't the modern family farm, with land, stock, machinery, barns, cost over a million bucks? Any you thought that student loan was going to kill you?

Re:4H Recruitment drive. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8958773)

That's a modern farm. If you have
The trouble with doing this is that the profit margins are fucking small, really really small. If you don't already own the land, don't bother. If a disaster happens, you'll have a net loss for the year. If you're interested in making profit in cattle farming, then you'll need that million bucks. You'll be feeding your cattle moldy rotten feed and sheep hay to cut costs, and they'll live a miserable life. Cows will die because it's cheaper to let them die than to do something about it. A small operation is the _only_ way to do it right, but it's mutally exclusive with making enough money to live on.

Re:4H Recruitment drive. (1)

Dfasdf (414625) | more than 10 years ago | (#8970210)

profit margins are fucking small, really really small

Yes, yes they are.

Today to be successfull in farming you need lots of money. Most farmers today of pretty much any size are millionaires on paper. Most of their money is tied up in assets tho. Many farmers are strugling to maintain a livable cast flow. Anything today that is small cannot survive. In dairy farming for instance, a standard herd 10-20 years ago was 30 milking head. Today, the minimum you need to have to possibly have a chance in the future is currently around 100 head. In the past few years many smaller farmers are leaving the industry. It is now impossible to maintain a living wage in dairy farming by living soly off the production of 30 milking head of cattle. All farmers I know of this size have a second wage earner in the family.

To successfully enter the dairy industry today in Ontario Canada will require around 4 to 5 million dollars Canadian to purchase everything needed (land, equipment, barns, quota, etc.). This is significanlty up from the approximatly 1-2 million required around 10 years ago. This will give you around 100 milking head. If I were to do this today I would be seriouly looking at another 10 million in expansion within 10 years plus a lot of very hard work.

Of those who made the move 10 years ago from 30 to 100 milking head, even with the added debt load, today are some of the most well off families in my community. Knowing today thay if I can succesfully finance a 5 million dollar farm (pretty small by today's standards [not even close to what some people call factory farms, i'm talking about a standard family farm!!]) I would be very well off in 20 or 30 years with a conservative estimate in 30 years of at least 25 - 35 million in assets and a net cash out of 10 - 15 million.

The point is, today farming at any size is big business. So much so that the next generation of farmers have realized that they require real educations. Many are currently seeking business and technology backgrounds that will be required to be successfull the agriculture industry of today and the future.

You'll be feeding your cattle moldy rotten feed and cheap[sic] hay to cut costs, and they'll live a miserable life. Cows will die because it's cheaper to let them die than to do something about it.

I must take this as a personal insult to both an honorable industry and some of the most ethical people you will ever meet. I will leave the moral and ethical implications of your statement asside due to their pure obsurdity and stick strickly to an economic factor specifically in the dairy industry to which I have been a part of.

In no way shape or form does it make any economic sense to have a dairy cow in any form of miserable condition. The basis for this is very simple: a stressed cow will not produce milk at any rate near her prime efficiency. A large part of the dairy industry is focused on primarily cow comfort and antistress measures. Barns today are designed primarily with cow comfort in mind. (Technology now allows cows to even decide when and how often they would like to be milked in a day)

As has been proven time and time again, you get what you pay for. If you feed a cow cheap and/or rotten food she will not have the nutrients she will require to produce the best quality and greatest quantity of milk. The fact is that most dairy cows in the agricultural industry are fed better than most people in the western world. We specifically tailor our feeding practices to insure that the cows are healthly and capable of their maxiumum production.

The point here is that a sick cow doesn't make money. Just like humans, if a cow gets sick she will been knocked out of production for possibly days on end. It pays to keep your employees/cows in good health.

A small operation is the _only_ way to do it right, but it's mutally exclusive with making enough money to live on.

Small operations tend not only be the best way to do things right. Many farmers prefer to maintain a smaller farm if they can many a decent living on it. Unfortunatly, this is no longer the case and hasn't been for close to 30 years. Constant demands for cheaper and cheaper food have driven the smaller less efficent operations out of business.

One point where larger is better than smaller specifically in farming is for environmental concerns. This is a topic very fresh in the minds of Ontarians due to recent local events. Smaller farms tend to be some of the largest poluters in the province when it comes to agriculture. Small farms typically to not have the economic resources to properly contain materials that are harmful to the environment. Whereas, many of the larger operations have the required resources to build, maintain, and manage the proper containment and disposal of harmfull environmental agents. Many people, especially here, belive that smaller is better, but with new environmental regulations in the works, the only operations that will have any feasible chance of implementing them are the large operations. In fact, most of the large operations have already implemented most of the proposed requirements and new legislation will most likely only effect the smaller operations who will probably leave the industry due to the severe economic strain of such efforts.

The end result is more large farms. Depending on your view this may or may not be good. This is a trend that has been occuring for the past 30 years and quite frankly is too far now to be stopped without a major change in the price and methods we use to grow food.

4H Recruitment drive.-diversify. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8958898)

As I pointed out elsewere. Farmers diversify into other crops, or meats e.g. ostrich meat, strawberries. Heck, some farmers are going into fish farming. I wouldn't recommend the professhion for anyone afraid of hard work. And the answer to your question is yes, but then any suggestion of going into business is going to involve financial risk. The question is how much risk can one handle?

Re:4H Recruitment drive. (2, Insightful)

the morgawr (670303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960022)

yep, and tax law discriminates against you for having a farm that's so small.

Profitability is highly variable and it takes a keen business mind to stay in business.

The best be to make the money is to get paid by agracultural researchers to use you land for researching the viability of new strains of crop as that's gaurenteed to produce a profit.

In short farming is very hard work that you typically get underpaid for.

Re:4H Recruitment drive. (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 10 years ago | (#8962742)

Become a farmer. No one complains about them, and we certainly can't be outsourced.

You haven't looked carefully at package labels lately (or at all), have you?

The US imports a lot of food, from Viet Nam & China (shrimp, fish, crawfish), Central America (fruit, sugar), Argentina (beef, apples), Canada (beef, wheat), Brazil (beef), Mexico ("truck" farm vegetables), and countless other countries.

People will be coming to you, TO YOU, to buy things.

Yeah, like Archer Daniels Midland, General Mills, grocery mega-stores, and any other imaginable food processing giant.

Only he tinyist fraction of food in the US is sold at farmers' markets.

Re:Do what you really want to do (4, Insightful)

Satan's Librarian (581495) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958525)

At the moment your alternative fields are also pretty hard-hit. Last year's graduating law-school classes at many of the top 10 schools had horrible placement rates. Entry-level hiring as a whole is Down as well [nalp.org] .

Reasons range from over-hiring during the boom and cuts during the recession to the boost in the unemployed pool caused by scandals like Enron. There were a few firms who even revoked the offers they made to graduating lawyers - dropping them on their butts late enough in the game to almost ensure they remained unemployed for a while. That's a rather unheard-of event in the legal profession, as reputations are everything - it'll kill those firms' chances of hiring the top lawyers out of law school for years to come. Not pleasant. I know people that graduated high up in their classes from top law schools last year that are shoveling snow and mowing lawns for a living right now. Jobs are starting to come through, but typically they aren't anywhere near what one would have expected three years ago.

Accounting hasn't seemed much better - the major scandals dumped a lot of experienced accountants on the streets, and some of the biggest firms collapsed hard [cnn.com] . There's also a smaller number of startups to pick up individual accountants. And business? You talked to any VC recently?

It's rough out there right now. But I agree with your primary recommendation - do what you think you'll love doing. Hell, it probably isn't a bad idea to extend the college-time a bit trying out different fields to find that love until the economy picks up - if one is optimistic that it will. I think it's starting to, if we can try to avoid starting any more long quagmire-style wars and get our government spending in check before things really go south we might have a chance.

My example (4, Interesting)

jtheory (626492) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959326)

I graduated with a degree in Music composition and performance, which I very much enjoyed. I took other classes all across the board, trying to get everything I could out of college. When I graduated I got a job as a Java developer (based mostly on non-academic programming projects I did). Now I'm doing quite comfortably.

I may get an MBA a bit down the road, since it would make a nice complement to my programming experience (and what I've already learned about how business works, on the job)... but the point here is that if you're bright and hard-working and show some initiative, you can get *something*, which will give you experience, which is what most employers want.

Yes, degrees matter (and can affect your salary), but having or not having one doesn't doom you to failure.

Re:My example (1)

theNote (319197) | more than 10 years ago | (#8971877)

My experience pretty much mirrors yours, except that I got my degree in Jazz Performance. ;-)

One thing that everyone seems to forget is that there is no degree that will make you a success.
You can be a plumber and starve, or you can be a plumber that makes millions of dollars.
It all depends on how you approach your professional life.
People with good work ethics are in extremely short supply (and always will).

I wish people would stop painting the job future so bleak.
If you are professional, imaginative, and hard working, you will do well no matter what.

Re:Do what you really want to do (2, Informative)

grammar nazi (197303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959594)

If all you are interested in is money (which some people find an enjoyable pursuit), then you are in the wrong field. Get a law degree, accounting degree, or a business degree. Those tend to work with a lot of money, and they never have a short supply of it. No matter where our world goes, we'll always need lawyers, accountants, and businesspeople.
I would disagree. If you all you are interested in is making money, then stick with the computer engineering/Physics/Math degree, depending on where your true interests lie. After a M.S. or PhD in such topics, then it is very easy to switch to finance or law and you will have EVERY advantage over somebody who earned a a business/accounting degree. If you choose law, you will likely still need to attend law school, but you will have every advantage over other law school applicants.

These fields compensate handsomely for smart technical people. I speak this from experience as somebody with math/engineering background (B.S. / M.S.) and switched into quantitative finance. It turns out that quantitative finance is much more interesting than engineering ever was. It uses much more applied mathematics than engineering ever did (I was an engineer for a year), and finally, my salary is double what my engineering salary was (after 2 years experience in finance).

My bro-in-law has similar experience with math/C.S. and he switched to creating programs that generate legal documents. He didn't even have to go to law school.

Re:Do what you really want to do (1)

zero_offset (200586) | more than 10 years ago | (#8971915)

I speak this from experience as somebody with math/engineering background (B.S. / M.S.) and switched into quantitative finance.

For someone bearing the actual username "grammar nazi", that sentence is a real mess.

Do you have any experience? (1)

jptechnical (644454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957684)

If you have CS experience than the degree could get you past the resume screening. If not than expect alot of helpdesk (if there are any left in the US).

I would closely consider these articles Here [mac.com] that deal with freelance tech support work. They were posted on slashdot withing the last year. I learned alot from them.

I can speak from experience that in an area with one of the highest IT unemployment rates than I have never been without a job. The last year has shown nothing but success.

Why? Because of my experience and my quality work. I spend a good 30% of my work cleaning up messes from so-called 'computer guys' and college grads that after however many years and however much money cannot troubleshoot a dead powersupply and fix everything with Norton System Works.

If you dont have any experience and you took the classes because of the ITT Tech commercials than you better supplement your degree with something.

Good Luck!

Don't take advice from this guy... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959547)

Really sorry to troll, but I wouldn't take advice from someone who can't quite master the English language.

"than" has been abused more times in this comment than I've seen on slashdot in the past month.

Re:Don't take advice from this guy... (1)

jptechnical (644454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959604)

I won't post at 1 AM anymore. Troll on! My grandmother would be ashamed of me.

No degree dooms you to a life waiting tables... (5, Insightful)

Karora (214807) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957697)


And also, no degree will provide a guarantee of success.

The pluses and minuses have a lot more to do with your ability to get along with other people, your ability to think through problems properly, and your willingness to do the things you are asked to do.

Ultimately, I think that studying and working within two obscurely related disciplines will make your skills more valuable and usable though. Whether that's CS and EE though - the relationship is perhaps too obvious. CS and CE might be a more worthwhile choice right now.

Motivational speech...Join the poverty class. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8957906)

"The pluses and minuses have a lot more to do with your ability to get along with other people, your ability to think through problems properly, and your willingness to do the things you are asked to do."

Hmmm. I guess I can atribute my year and a half of unemployment to...mentally, and physically abusing my coworkers. Getting confused when the boss said to put slot, A into tab B. And not killing my back when ordered to do so.

Yup, I can see waiting tables in MY future.

Re:Motivational speech...Join the poverty class. (1)

Karora (214807) | more than 10 years ago | (#8961944)

Could be, although you have to be pretty good with people to keep a job waiting tables.

Also, remember that if you are an asshole, and I have no way of knowing of course, it is quite likely that people will not tell you so to your face.

I have been unemployed myself, but only for eight months or so, when a series of contracts changed their timetable and I was left without a job at a bad time of year. It's tough, I know, and when I got out the end of it I was extremely motivated to work hard.

I interview most people who come looking for a job at our company, and the hardest ones to turn down have definitely been the ones who are willing to work for nothing for a month or two. In my country it is a significant business risk to take on a new employee because if they are no good it will take the best part of a year to lose them (minimum) and if they are grumpy about that, and you slipped up on the process somewhere, you could well still find yourself facing court action. If we have any doubts now we create a defined short-term contract and try someone out on that - if they do a good job (and that includes fitting in with everyone and dealing with clients OK), we offer them a permanent position.

I've had people through my door who thought the world of themselves, but no matter how good they thought they were I need some sort of proof before I could employ them, and it is certainly tempting to believe those opinions were inflated. I don't tell those people that I think they are up themselves - I simply tell them that we don't have any role for them at the moment...

Re:No degree dooms you to a life waiting tables... (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959942)

Odds are that CET stands for "Computer Engineering Technology".

I've never really figured out if there is some difference between a *ET and a *E degree, tho. I'm not sure if it's just an alternate naming convention or an 'applied engineering' degree...

Re:No degree dooms you to a life waiting tables... (1)

the morgawr (670303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960094)

Engineering is a form of applied Science.

The difference between the *E and the *ET degree is mostly a matter of ciriculum. With the *E degree you focus more on math, science, base theory, modeling, etc. The (IMHO, correct) assumption is that technology changes so fast it's better to leave you get that on your own(at your first job as a Junior Engineer) and to focus on the basic skills and theory that will always apply.

With an *ET degree you get some of the theory but not nearly as much. The focus is more on the current trends and technologies as well as using the latest tools. Typically employers look at the *E degree with more respect then the *ET degree. (Really all a degree amounts to anyway is respect...)

Personally I recomend combination programs that involve heavy theory in the class room with real world experience outside. The Kettering University [kettering.edu] co-op program is a very good example. The advantage of a co-op program is that you get the more prestigious *E degree AND still get the technology expericen WHILE building your resume (by keeping a steady job while in school). It's very hard work but tends to result in MUCH better success (higher employment rates, better pay, faster advancement).

Also, despite popular myth, ANYONE can afford to go to a top level school in this country. You just have to get off your butt and apply for all of the federal grants and need based scholarships.....

Re:No degree dooms you to a life waiting tables... (1)

Karora (214807) | more than 10 years ago | (#8961764)

I meant for "CE" to stand for "Chemical Engineering", but after I posted, and realised the possible misinterpretation it wa s"Oh well... :-)"

Re:No degree dooms you to a life waiting tables... (1)

tpv (155309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8964753)

Heh. I thought you meant Civil Engineering.
That (CS+CivEng) seemed like an intersting combo.

Re:No degree dooms you to a life waiting tables... (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8981885)

Certified Electronics Technician

From the Electronic Technicians Association website [eta-sda.com]

"Since 1978 the Electronics Technicians Association International (ETA-I) Certified Electronics Technicians program has accredited electronics technicians worldwide who excel in areas of electronics equipment service and support. An electronics technician who successfully passes an ETA-I certification exam is professionally recognized as having the necessary knowledge and technical skills to meet international de facto electronics service industry standards."

It's about a lot more than just computers.

If you hope to be making decent money... (3, Interesting)

shfted! (600189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957707)

If you hope to be making decent money in the ensuing years, you've basically got two choices. One is to get a service oriented career -- like a mechanic or a plumber, or anything that requires your presence. Alternatively, you can own a business of some sort. Either way, keep in mind that any job that can be done somewhere else cheaper will be . This does include just about any kind of engineering degree, too, except for maybe onsite work. Your best bet if you're looking for a career with decent money is a trade that requires physical presence or a management/business-ownership path.

Re:If you hope to be making decent money... (2, Interesting)

shaka999 (335100) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958156)

Talk about a pessimistic outlook.

Yes, the offshoring of technical jobs is disturbing but its still a small chunk of the overall jobs available. The people who are out of work, by and large, are because of the economy and increased productivity levels. Not because of offshoring.

Even if your outlook were true, if all the good paying technical jobs dry up there won't be anyone left to pay for the plumbers andmechanics.

Re:If you hope to be making decent money... (1)

shfted! (600189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8961785)

I don't mean to be pessimistic, just realistic. This movement happened to the manufacturing industry two or three decades ago, and it would be foolish to ignore it. I'm an optimist at heart. What I see is a change -- driven by economic forces. With change comes opportunity -- if you are prepared for it -- and disaster if you aren't. Of course, this trend is just an overall happening. It doesn't mean that there will be no residual jobs, just like how some things are still made in first world countries today.

Jobs to increase a lot by 2008 (0, Offtopic)

VersatilePrimate (586181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957708)

According to this link [business2.com] , the increase in number of skilled jobs is going to be really high by the year 2008. I read the actual article when it came out in the magazine and figures it mentioned(not mentioned in the linked article) indicated that the highest job increase in the top 10 cities mentioned in the said article we predominantly tech jobs. Cities like Washington DC and Austin, TX projected a near 100% increase in jobs. So getting into CET may not be that bad after all given the time you would be done with it. Good luck

Hrm... (5, Insightful)

r00k123 (588214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957748)

This fall I am going into CET, which is essentially a cross between a CS and an Electrical Engineering degree
First warning sign you'll have career trouble: no one in your target field recognizes your major.

Re:Hrm... (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 10 years ago | (#8982070)

First warning sign you'll have career trouble: no one in your target field recognizes your major.

Having done an MEng entitled "Information Engineering" (essentially Electronics and CS), I was worried about this. In every CV I've ever sent, I've included the list of courses I took as part of the degree attached as an appendix. Employers love it and I've had no problem finding jobs here in the UK. I don't get bored in my job because I get to do both, and ultimately it lead to my being in a R&D position within the current company because of having both hardware/software skill-sets. My only advice is, if you find it interesting, do it. Job satisfaction counts for a lot.

my advice (2)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957753)

Move to the country, and eat you a lotta peaches.

Short of that, think about what kind of career you want, and what companies hire people that do what you want to do. Call said companies (or e-mail, whatever), and ask the people there what would be most useful.

But trust me on the peaches.

As an Arts major... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8957781)

..please don't steal our jobs too!

I have an EET and CNS degree (2, Interesting)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957831)

I have degrees in both Electronics and computer network systems. Unfortunately, finding a job in either field seems to be rather difficult. Then again, I live in a state that was by far one of the hardest hit in the recession. I'm open for relocation but I haven't had much luck. I'm thinking about starting my own company because between the economy sucking for so long and employers playing games, I'm tired of messing with it.

Re:I have an EET and CNS degree (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8957883)

Hmmm - two 2 year degree programs do not equal a four year degree from a real college/university with a real Engineering program. Wonder if there's any correlation between that and your difficulty in getting a job?

Re:I have an EET and CNS degree (1)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957905)

I'm not in engineering.

Re:I have an EET and CNS degree (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8957913)

My point exactly. Electronics. Got it. See you in the unemployment line.

Re:I have an EET and CNS degree (0, Flamebait)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957933)

When you get the testicular fortitude to post with a real name, maybe I'll take you seriously. Until then, feel free to continue to reply. I won't answer.

Re:I have an EET and CNS degree (1)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 10 years ago | (#9005452)

That has to be the most pompous, arrogant and cocky remark I've ever seen. WHo do you think it is that repairs and troubleshoots electronic equipment, circuits and devices? Electrical Engineers? No. They do the designing. A four year degree doesn't guarantee employment, either. In fact, during the recession, there were engineers who had been in the field for 25 years that were layed off. And to say,"See you in the unemployment line," means that your four year degree isn't going get you a job, either. Oh and one other thing, I'm a double major. And I'm on route to pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree. And for a masters degree, I can do whatever the hell I want. That includes a masters in engineering. And having a technical background and being an engineer is one hell of an asset to any company. Most engineers only know the theoretical aspects of their fields. Even manufacturing people have rolled their eyes at some ideas that engineers have developed in the past. Why? Because putting something on paper is one thing. Manufacturing it is another. And what's ever funnier to watch is an engineer trying to troubleshoot something he designed. He doesn't know how to troubleshoot it because all he knows is the theory and the design. He's doesn't have the hands on experience to know what symptoms mean what. That's the technician's job!

I have an EET and CNS degree-OW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8957924)

"Then again, I live in a state that was by far one of the hardest hit in the recession. I'm open for relocation but I haven't had much luck. I'm thinking about starting my own company because between the economy sucking for so long and employers playing games, I'm tired of messing with it."

Welcome to my boat. You paddle on the left, I'll take the right. My state (Indiana) has been hit hard as well, plus all the games as you've said (irritating ain't it?). Starting a business seems to be a good idea, but which one?

Re:I have an EET and CNS degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960276)

If you're serious about relocating, check out the out of the way places... like this- Network Job at CenturyTel [monster.com]

The "T" stands for technology (3, Informative)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957854)

For things like EET and CET, the "T" stands for technology. It's an Engineering [i]Technology[/i] degree, not an engineering degree. Now you could go up higher beyond a bachelor degree to a masters degree in engineering. Then you could take the test to be a certified engineer in your state. But a technology degree deals with things on a more hands on, technical level. It's applied science. Engineering, on the other hands, veers toward the more theoretical aspect. Example, Engineering Technology emphasizes how to use an equation to solve a problem. The equation's origins are irrelevent. But Engineering would actually derive that equation and seeks its origins.

Re:The "T" stands for technology (3, Insightful)

Slugworth01 (738383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957910)

Very few people who graduate with Engineering degrees actually do the Professionsal Engineer exams for their state. This is usually something that Civil Engineering majors might do, some jobs in the construction industry look favorably on this.

It seems to my a physicist would say something very different than what you are saying regarding applied versus theoretical approaches. Physics in the theorical aspect of science, Engineering is the applied science.

Your equation example is also off the mark. An Engineer would first analyze the variables of a situation that affect a problem, then determine which approach is required that best addresses the variables of the problem. At this point, using an equation to solve a problem is trvial, it's understanding how to set up the problem and how to apply the proper approach that is the differentiator here.

Let's face it, engineering technology degree holders are in competition with the bosses' nephew who needs a job after flunking out of college and says he can "fix computers" or "make a web page". It's a tough market to be in. To be fair, Engineering degree holders are facing competition from the ET people who excel at hteir jobs, and from overseas engineers who will do their job cheaper.

Re:The "T" stands for technology (0, Redundant)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957930)

A technology degree is not the same as an engineering degree. Someone with a technology degree is not an engineer.

Re:The "T" stands for technology (1)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957951)

Tell me something else, why does someone who graduates with a bachelor in engineering have a Bachelor of Science where as someone who graduates with a bachelor in engineering technology have a Bachelor of Applied Science?

Re:The "T" stands for technology (1)

Shaklee39 (694496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8969905)

Gary Gary Gary. Devry is not an accredited program. They can make up all the Bachelor degree they wish, but it is not an engineering degree. I wouldn't be surprised if you did 10% of the work that a 4-year university requires. How do I know? I know someone who goes there.

Re:The "T" stands for technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960198)

About your sig... do you mean "deprecated" ? to depreciate is "to lose value", while deprecate is "to make obsolete"

More food for thought (4, Insightful)

Slugworth01 (738383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957873)

My advice - get the degree in the field you like. CS/EE majors don't need to wait on tables after college - you just need to make sure you are more employable than your peers.

My employer looks at a number of things that are not related your GPA, which school you went to, etc., when looking at new college grads:

1. Work ethic - are you willing to take responsibility for getting your work done, asking questions when you don't know something, willing to contribute when you have a good idea?

2. Ability to work in a team - we don't have any individual projects. Work with the team, try to get along with your co-workers.

3. language skills - do you speak a second language? In the industry in which I'm employed, a second language is very helpful, our customers are from all over the northern Hemisphere. A willingness to travel goes along with the language skills.

4. "business common sense" - like it or not, we're all in this for a profit. The path to this is keeping customers happy while making common sense business decisions.

It's my bet that if you can exhibit a number of these skills after you finish your BS degree, you should have no problem with getting a decent job. So while working through your CET degree, look for opportunities to improve your skills in these areas.

CS/EE does NOT equal CET (0, Offtopic)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957961)

http://www.mwcc.mass.edu/catalog/cet.html

Re:CS/EE does NOT equal CET (3, Insightful)

Slugworth01 (738383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958000)

I was aware that you were referring to a two year associates degree as opposed to a four year Bachelor of Science degree in an Engineering discipline from a college or university. I am also in violent agreement that an associates degree in CET does not equal a Bachelors degree in CS, EE or Computer Engineering.

What's your point? The original question was about whether to get a CET - which was stated as a cross between a CS and Electrical Engineering degree. Maybe I'm assuming the original question is referring to a four year Bachelors degree and you're assuming it's a two year associates degree.

If that's the case, at the risk of pissing off a lot of readers here, I suggest the 4 year Bachelors degree is the way to go. The things that make you employable with a two year associates degree will also make you employable with a four year Bachelors degree. You will have a lot more opportunity with a four year degree. Anecdotally, in the business unit in which I work, we have 4 people with associate degrees and 76 people with at least a Bachelors degree. That ratio probably applies through out the 15,000 people working for my employer.

Re:CS/EE does NOT equal CET (2, Interesting)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959093)

I agree... regardless of the degree type 4 years is the way to go. 2 year or 4 year, you're still going to be a newbie when you get hired, and you may or may not be a brilliant programmer. What the boss is looking for is how you coped with dealing with a 4 year program and if you learned "how to learn."

I went right from highschool to a computer engineering program. After my first year I got an internship, and then I was hired by my employer and I started finishing up my last 3 years of school at an online university. I am just about to graduate and my position is greater then that of the college hires and I've been making a good salary since 19.

In the end, college is only really going to get you in the door somewhere, and after that it's all up to you. Sure, MIT or Devry will judge how good your salary is at that starting point, but that doesn't mean the Devry person is going to be the first one laid off either.

Re:CS/EE does NOT equal CET (1)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960002)

A CET is a two year degree. The "T" is Technology. It's a technology degree. It's not an engineering degree. It's not a cross between CS and EE. That would be ECE -- Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Re:CS/EE does NOT equal CET (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8974129)

A quick google search would find quite a few BS in CET degree programs, about half of which are actually Computer Engineering Technology and half are Civil Engineering Technology. Either way, a 4-year engineering technology program is better than an associates degree, but an actual engineering degree is going to make you more employable, as the focus is really more on how to solve problems in general rather than using specific technologies.

Re:CS/EE does NOT equal CET (1)

Shaklee39 (694496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8969914)

Wow, only 'basic algebra' required to take the whole slew of circuit analysis courses. Something wrong here?

Re:More food for thought (3, Informative)

SagSaw (219314) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958518)

One thing to add to you list: Internships.

Many colleges and universities offer (or even require) internships as part of their engineering degree programs. Even if your school doesn't have an official internship programs, it is in your best interest to find a company to intern for during the summer or even part-time during the school year.

When you talk to potential internship employers, make sure that you find out how they handle their internship programs. You probably don't want an internship where all you do is clerical and go-for work, especially if you're beyond your first or second year. Instead, find an employer who gives their interns actual projects/responsibilities as part of their experiance. "Implemented an automated end-of-line test system for [insert widget here]" looks much better on your resume then "Reorganized storage rooms". While a certain amount of clerical/go-for work is part of almost any internship, it should not be the only thing you do.

Re:More food for thought (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 10 years ago | (#8963533)

Mods, the parent post is interesting.

3. language skills

And where would you learn such a languange? Right, you learn them abroad. Preferably from that beautiful slender sexy french girl or that hot petite chinese, who both love it when you talk linux.

So do what I did and do your majoring in another country. When you apply for jobs, your resume will really stand out. I sure wouldn't have gotten my current job if it wasn't for the time abroad. And since there is no way escaping the offshore experience, you can tell the recruiter bullshit like 'oh yeah, I really have experience working in a team with foreigners'. They love that.

skills matter (1)

Shaheen (313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957959)

Remember the late 1990s? Yeah, those years where the guy with a psychology degree got a $100,000/yr job at a .com company because "his skills were relevant to how the company developed its web site" or some such crud? Those days are gone.

As software and computer engineering matures and the industry grows (yes, this is arguable right now, but over the next 20 to 40 years I have no doubts it will grow), the primary differentiator between you and the next guy for obtaining a job in CS/CE fields will be tangible skills.

That said, just about the only person that can really predict what the economy will look like 4 to 5 years from now (when you look for a job) is Alan Greenspan. There are other posts that say "do what you love" and I tend to agree with this. Money isn't everything.

For the record, I did the same thing you are starting - a CS/ECE double. I also got the job I always wanted.

Oh please.... (4, Insightful)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8957966)

I was discouraged by so many people (even my own Uni!) when I went into IT 125 years ago that it was not funny. All of them were wrong of course.

Look, doom scenarios are normaly wrong, what you read here is mostly innacurate tosh, specially when it comes to outsourcing and levels of unemployment.

Only the bitter and unemployed have the time to rant, all the others are too busy making a living.

Success is combined with a lot of luck, of which you have no control.

So study whatever you want, enjoy it, and drop the idea that what you learn will somehow 100% influence what you earn.

There are people with no education whatsoever who became millionares for having one good idea or for being in the right place at the right time.

Re:Oh please.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960956)

Well, 125 years ago IT was a very precarious field to be in. Maybe the uni had your best interests at heart when they suggested you veer into Equine Harness Engineering instead. Dude, what the fuck? 125 years ago?

Re:Oh please.... (2, Funny)

feronti (413011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8962048)

125 years eh? So you adminned Babbage's Analytical Engine? :)

I have no degree at all (4, Informative)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958005)

I'm happy, I have a beautiful fiancee, I just finished a 4 year term as Art Director for a software company and I'm currently bidding on several large projects while waiting for the right company to find my resume. I've never found it hard to find interesting and lucrative work to do. Having an open and active mind and a willingness to apply found knowledge is all you really need in this world of ours.

If there is one thing you absolutely need to learn early in life is how to learn, how to find the information you need, how to comprehend and apply that information and how to express to others, in a language and terminology that they appreciate, the total of your learning and knowledge.

GO learn how to do these things and get a degree, any degree, if you want to be able to prove that you are capable of them without having to demonstrate them. Then go and apply for jobs you think are interesting or lucrative. If you apply for enough jobs of this sort you will find one that appeals to you. Do you really care if it uses all the skills you learned in college? Most of those skills will be nearly obsolete in 5 years. The skills that won't be obsolete are the ones concerning how to learn. You can always teach yourself how to do any job. Just remember that it will take you a year or two of study to really understand that new job well enough to earn money at it. Plan ahead.

Personally I think people should change jobs significantly every 5 or 6 years. Start in CS, move to Marketing, switch to engineering and manufacturing, run your own business for a while, teach at a community college, buy a farm, fly a corporate jet, become a paralegal... why not. None of them are really that difficult but they do take some specialized knowledge to do them well, probably about 2 years of serious study will teach you what you need to know for any of them.

Re:I have no degree at all (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958377)

Job experience is typically very good to have. As long as it's relevant and you can show some results it may even be better than a typical degree. However, I doubt that you'll be able to find a job which gives you an impressive resume today if you don't have an academic degree to back you up.

But I agree that being flexible and willing to do new things and new areas are very important. It's hard to put that on your resume though.

Re:I have no degree at all (2, Funny)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960269)

If you have lots of flexibility and varied experience that you want to demonstrate, I recommend modeling your resume after this college entrance essay: http://www.meyerweb.com/other/humor/application.ht ml [meyerweb.com]

Re:I have no degree at all (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 10 years ago | (#8961143)

Luckily I already have an impressive resume ;-p and I disagree. Opportunities are all around. The only careers you need a degree for are also ones which require a graduate degree and some sort of State license to work, ie: Lawyer, Physician, etc.

Anything else you really want to do is possible. Now most average jobs will be easier to get with one... only because HR doesn't care enough about the position to take the time to find out anything about the applicants. So granted, your run-of-the-mill white collar job is out... but if you know anything about what you want to do there are plenty of opportunities with small companies who just need to get the job done and frankly don't care about a degree and don't ask either. Then there is always things like getting a real estate license, or general contractor's license or any number of qualifications which take maybe $600 and 6 months to get, pilot's license is about 2 years, scuba license to teach or even just to commercially dive is about a year and a half, insurance is about a year, cpa is about a year... none of these require a degree, just a license. Many programmers just do contract work and make more than a salaried programmer easily and also work at home. Starting your own business is relatively easy as well, pay a few fees and start advertising/marketing...

Most people don't work at a job even related to their degree. How many bio-tech people sell insurance? How many MBA's are car salesman? Don't tell me you need an MBA to sell cars..

It's not what you know ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8958021)

Take every opportunity you can to get to know people in the industry. Start by joining the student branch of the IEEE. Go to the local meetings.

When I was young, being a radio amateur opened doors everywhere.

If your program has a final year project, use it as a chance to work with industry. Talk to engineers. Find a back burner project that someone really wants to do but doesn't have the time.

The posters who suggested that you take something else, like business, were right! People in business generally have better people skills than people in engineering. That gets you jobs. Take a marketing course.

Excellent Combination (2, Interesting)

Geccie (730389) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958167)

I originally earned an EE degree in '87, then returned to school for a CS degree in '92 while working. Even back then, I found that hardware was boring as hell without the intelligence that could be realized through software.

Pure CS folks have a lot of difficulty communicating with HW and EE's tend to write crap code or end up with very tedious jobs.

The combination opens up a whole realm of opportunities such as autonomous vehicles, home automation, simulation. It's F'ing great!

As for a career choice, there is only one answer - Do what you enjoy and be agile. We can only imagine what the next 20 years will bring.

Often, I have to tell my employer that this stuff is hard work, If they knew work was fun, I'de get paid squat! Geccie

Don't knock the waiters (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958408)

Don't knock waiting tables. A good waiter can make good money. Perhaps not quite as much in the long run as the degreed guy, but the waiter starts at full wages earlier. $60,000 a year is reasonable for a good waiter to take home, without working full time. (just get the lunch crowd in a busness area)

It takes the right personality to do it though. I'd never make a good waiter as I don't have the right people skills. People will wait in line to have the best waiters serve their table, even though others in the resteraunt are free to serve now. Note, other countries don't have the same tips system that the US has, I don't know if this applys there.

For many jobs the paper the degree is printed on is worth more than the words on it. That is the company won't hire you without the degree, but it doesn't matter which one you get. So get the one you want, and then find a job.

Re:Don't knock the waiters (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8963366)

Heh, i find your comment funny having watched resivoir dogs last nite...

There's always room for another good engineer (3, Interesting)

nadador (3747) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958636)

> According to these responses, CS majors are
> doomed to spend their lives waiting tables. Does a
> computer related engineering degree give hope or
> should I change to a more general engineering
> program, before its too late?

There is always room for another good engineer. If you take your education seriously and apply yourself, you'll be able to differentiate yourself from your peers. Then you won't be stuck waiting tables.

There is always room for another motivated engineer. If you take a job out of school that isn't quite the job you imagined, but are agressive in pursuing every opportunity at work - you volunteer to finish off that project that no one wants to do, you offer to lead the project thats the opposite of glamorous - you'll differentiate yourself from your peers. Then you won't be stuck waiting tables.

The world is always lacking honest, competent people who will go the extra mile to get work done. If you're one of those people, there will be work for you in the current economy. It might not be the job you want, or even the one you were trained for, but there will be one.

Nothing wrong with CS (1)

Axeling (716395) | more than 10 years ago | (#8958765)

One of my acquaintances here is majoring in Computer Engineering, but he works for the CS department. He's got a MS internship over the summer... Of course he's a damned sellout, but the jobs are out there. Don't pursue another major just because you are concerned about finances.

I'm EE/CS (1)

gooru (592512) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959013)

I'm graduating this year with an EE/CS degree, and I don't think I'd do anything differently except take harder classes and get started earlier. (I used to be CS and switched to EE/CS my junior year.) I personally think that the degree actually affords you more opportunities, because you have both an understanding of EE and CS even if neither is truly in-depth. I personally focused more on CS and garnered most of my skills outside of the classroom anyway. The only huge problem I've run into is explaining what the major is and why I chose to do it. For us, it's extremely flexible, and you can really learn whatever you want in detail. As a result, I know practically nothing about, say, operating systems, but I do not a ton about computer graphics and digital design. And, I do have a good job lined up for after graduation. The opportunities are out there. You just have to work hard finding them. Also, don't limit yourself to just EE or CS-related positions, unless that's all you want. EE/CS majors are high in demand in other fields as well including consulting, management, anything quantitative, etc.

My path... (1)

nitrocloud (706140) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959232)

I love computers, I love tinkering, I'd love to get a part-time IT job while I'm still in my junior year of high-school, but most of all, I'd love to think there is a market for my skill. After observing what my father has done, I've decided that a degree in EE will suffice for a wide range of jobs. My dad's title has changed from Electrical Engineer to Senior Engineer, to Systems Engineer in the last 5 years. If you have a broad skill base, you should be able to find a job of some sort that you like.

No Risk == No Gain (1)

sudog (101964) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959476)

The people in that other Ask Slashdot took the employee, safe route. There was one business degree respondent who was working a help desk. Many of them had "what level salary to ask for" down to a science.

These people are people who will never be anything more than helpdesk or Cobol-cubicle material, especially when their tone suggests they believe they're living "the good life." How about that fellow who thought he was eating $1000/mo on $150 of onions, cheap bread, meat sauce, and melted-down cubes of chocolate!

There is a reason those people can't find better jobs: they expect nothing better, and strive for nothing better, because they're all unwilling to take any risk and make an honest go of opportunity.

Be careful their bitterness doesn't sway your opinion of what to expect in your future career--because you'll get NO MORE THAN YOU EXPECT. You'll NEVER MAKE ANY MORE THAN YOU EXPECT TO MAKE.

You may make less, but you'll *NEVER* make more.

So here's my advice: do what you love. People recognize other people who share a passion, or who are passionate about what they do. It's inspiring to have people like that around.

Consider--would you really want to work around someone who bitches all the time that the "best" jobs are stolen by overseas low-paid workers? How depressing? Would you want to work next to someone who had no ambition, no aspirations, and no willingness to take even the modicum of risk necessary to build and sell something novel on their own?

Makes me sad to see someone claiming that $20/hr is worth making a career out of. But, ah well. I suppose most people can't see past their immediate surroundings.

I'm graduating with a BS / MS Comp. Engr / EE and (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959599)

In two weeks I will earn the first part of an accelerated Masters degree in Computer and Electrical Engineering from The University of Oklahoma [ou.edu] .

I would recommend something similar, instead of the pure CS route, personally. I may be getting a EE degree, but my Masters Thesis will be the design of a software application.

As for my employment opportunities, while I'm waiting for the Fall semester to start, a very large company in the IT Hardware / Software design field has hired me for a summer job that pays 25 dollars and change per hour, with overtime, which works out to be a little over $50,000 per year. After graduation from OU, it's pretty much guaranteed that I'll join that company in a system-level engineering role.

Maybe it's just me, but I've had a VERY easy time finding a job with that combination of hardware and software engineering skills.

Now, I'm not sure what "CET" stands for, but I sincerely hope it's not some sort of tradesman degree. Engineering, or rather system design and implementation, is where the money is, because this is where the difficult problems are solved. I'm going to guess that "T" might stand for "Technology" or something similar -- in that case, you might just as well stick with your normal Bachelor's of Science classes and go get a 2-year degree from ITT Tech, and watch it become obsolete in 5 years.

With engineering, you might (depending on the quality of your school) learn about the underlying principles of a given problem, and how to apply certain solution methods and thought processes to different situations. This, I think, is the most valuable part of the degree. With these skills, you can keep up with the pace of the technology, so when the new PCI standard, for example, comes out, you can bring yourself up to speed on how it works, rather than clinging to what's currently out there.

I hope this made some sense to you. This was posted anonymously to protect the identity of my employer.

Choose your college and classes wisely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960366)

I have a BS in CET from a unsystem like college network in NY. If you already have your associates degree in CS or EET, keep an eye on what classes transfer over and what you have to take. When I transferred to the college, I ended up taking classes I already had. I should fought to get out of those classes and taken a lot more electives that would have broaded my background. My biggest mistake was that I could have finished off a CS degree with additional 20 credit, but I wanted the hell out of the place and some of the people. Ooops.

As to what I do now, I am computer baby sitter for a company where users have pc skills if them can play soliataire and find the printer icon. Going is all the embedded knowledge I gained after 7 years. The one big advantage to the place I work is that I have junk equipment that I tinker with and have learned most of what I know about Linux, Solaris and *BSD. Boss doesn't care unless I bring down the network and I get to be the obscure technology guy (non Microsoft) on the staff.

Just be careful and think with each class. A few prayers that things pick up wouldn't be bad either

Accreditation is the name of the game (3, Interesting)

matthewcharlesgoeden (764440) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960493)

Make for damn sure your program is accredited by ABET [abet.org] . Also, I found most degrees that end with the word "technology" are not near the realm of a cross between EE and CS.

Anyways, my point is, Be Careful; otherwise, you are just another lamer with a fake engineering degree.

CET? (2, Informative)

pertinax18 (569045) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960906)

My advice to you would be to drop the whole CET idea and get a real CS or a real engineering degree. They will be worth a whole lot more in the long run. Or do a dual major with CS/EE and NOT a CET. A CET will cover the basics for CS and EE, but nothing more, you will have lots of general concepts but little hard core, real knowlege. Most high ranked Universities don't offer CET programs, the only ones I know that offer things like CET are 2 year programs, mid-low ranked state schools or ITT Tech trade school type places. A real technical institution like MIT [mit.edu] /RPI [rpi.edu] /CMU [cmu.edu] etc will only offer REAL enginneering and REAL computer science. Not some strange cross CET that really doesn't explore the nuances of either.

Personally I have a dual major with CS and Electronic Art/Communication. Again, I would highly reccomend a dual major over a major that claims to combine two others. It will be more work but it will pay off in the long run.

Any real engineering is good (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 10 years ago | (#8961173)

People may talk about the market being bad, whatever. Any real engineer from a real university will get a job if he has some work experience and some common sense. I'm sorry, but most people I know that whine about not getting jobs should choose another field as they're not qualified. Notice I said "most" not "all." In any event, they tell you the different engineering disciplines are different. Really, it's just a facade to get you to come to "their" program. Granted, you will learn different things. However, engineering programs are all about applying the same math and physical sciences to problems in a specific discipline, be it electrical, chemical, or mechanical. That doesn't mean some programs are harder than others. Typically, electrical and chemical tend to be up there as far as difficulty. That's OK, a lot of them fail out anyway. As we say at Rutgers [rutgers.edu] , "If you can't hack it, pack it." That refers to the fact that sadly, Rutgers actually has a Packaging Engineering program. So sad, it doesn't even have a website.

Thanks (1)

maxdamage (615250) | more than 10 years ago | (#8962382)

Thanks for all your advice. Probably should have mentioned that I already have a CCNA and am A+ certified.

Re:Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8968639)

So you're saying you don't know much? I don't get it.

Re:Thanks (1)

maxdamage (615250) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085146)

I got those certificates in high school.

The degree doesn't matter - you do (1)

boldDeceiver (774444) | more than 10 years ago | (#8967993)

You already have 'IT' experience / qualifications - what do you want to do? I believe that a strong understanding of software is a lot harder to get than a strong understanding of hardware.
I am cautious of hybrid degrees - I would be concerned that they water down the content to pack it into the time available.
If you're passionate about hardware, go EE. If you are passionate about software, go CS. If you want a foot in both camps, you could do what I did - CS, and then buy a copy of Horowitz and Hill "The Art Of Electronics". It's got enough content to start you on your way - and there are a truckloads of books in any library that will take you from there!

Get a good, general education (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 10 years ago | (#8982733)

Any course of study you follow with an aim of making piles of money in a single area of limited scope puts you at risk of failure because of some cyclical swing or technology shift. Diversifying your knowledge will prepare you to deal with anything that life throws at you. This is the way it works in the animal kingdom, and I think in human society as well.

This is not a put-down of engineering or of any other course of study. I majored in Spanish and endured a lot of jokes about how I would have to work in McDonald's (long before Spanish became the dominant language there). But I've survived so far.

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