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Communication vs Electronics

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by magnetoxic, Aug 13, 2015.

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  1. magnetoxic


    Aug 13, 2015
    Hi everyone,

    I am currently doing bachelors in electrical and electronic engineering and in my third year I have to choose between electronics and communication which i don't have broad idea about. I tried to google but all i could find was electronics and communication merged. I would like to know about the scopes, research opportunities, which one has better chance of being dominant over another in coming decades, difficulty level (from your point of view) and any other things. I have few ideas about each one of these but still confused on choosing one (both seem interesting to me). Here are the courses I'll have to take in each group:

    1. Random Signals and Processes
    2. Digital Signal Processing
    3. Microwave Engineering
    4. Optical Fiber Communication
    5. Digital Communication
    6. Mobile Cellular Communication
    7. Telecommunication

    1. Analog Integrated Circuits
    2. Processing and Fabrication Technology
    3. VLSI
    4. Compound Semiconductor and Hetero-Junction Devices
    5. Optoelectronics
    6. Semiconductor Device Theory

    Please give me your recommendations and help me decide which one to take.
    Thanks in advance, :)
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    you really need a good background in general electronics before getting too deeply into comms
    magnetoxic likes this.
  3. garublador


    Oct 14, 2014
    I only really have experience in taking a few of those classes ~15 years ago, but from what I remember about the classes:

    Communication - lots of statistics (i.e. random variables, modeling noise) and multi-variable calculus (modeling electromagnetic waves).

    Electronics - more quantum mechanics and circuits (understanding voltage, current, complex impedance, etc).

    My experience is that in your undergrad years you'll only be scratching the surface of the theory behind this stuff. You'll have to go to grad school or learn on the job for most of your education that will be practical.
    magnetoxic likes this.
  4. AnalogKid


    Jun 10, 2015
    With nothing to go on but the lists of courses, Electronics is much more hands-on-the-hardware stuff - components,circuits, test equipment, etc., while Communications is much more about the information or data, with a higher-level awareness of the characteristics of the various media structures without getting down into the dirty details of how they work.

    The two work hand-in-hand. You can't move the data without the circuits, and you don't need the circuits without the data.

    But other people need circuits for things other than communications. Electronics training is useful in many more disciplines than just communications theory. For example, if you really want to work in the high-end audio or oil well instrumentation or medical devices fields, a full spectrum electronics background can serve any of them. Communications systems will continue to be a huge part of the tech world forever, but never more than a part.

    Full disclosure - I'm a full-blown circuit design geek, with no regrets.

    davenn and magnetoxic like this.
  5. magnetoxic


    Aug 13, 2015
    Thank you for your replies davenn, garublador and analogkid. I'm inclined more towards electronics now since it seems to be broader than communication and developing its understanding will be better first but I'll also be waiting for more people to comment. :)
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  6. Merlin3189


    Aug 4, 2011
    Just to add a divergent view. I was faced with much the same choice 15 yrs ago (though there was also a programming option) and went for the Comms. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it a real eye-opener, particularly the Digital Comms and DSP. I thought I had a pretty good general knowledge of both electronics and comms technologies, but these two courses really woke me up to the things you don't know you don't know. Of course there may be things in electronics I didn't know I didn't know, though 15 years later I still haven't discovered them.

    The one electronics module I wish I could have taken was the optoelectronics. Optical comms left me with the feeling that there has to be a better way of using these frequencies than just flashing your torch on and off, but I still can't work out how to do it.

    Obviously my own choice makes me biased and the fact that I know people working in networks but no one working in electronics, doesn't help me to get any balance.
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