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EE educations, worldwide?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by [email protected], Sep 25, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    Let's say for instance that you have a friend or co-worker who has a
    son/daughter who's interested in studying abroad (outside of the USA),
    in electrical or computer engineering.

    Where are the better schools?

    I'm guessing that schools in Germany and France would be superior to
    schools in the UK, but that's just a guess (mostly from the idea that
    just about anyone can call him/herself an "engineer" in the UK).
    True? False?

  2. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Nah, most EU foreigners I work with in the US came from UK schools.
    Pretty darn good, I'd say. Solid theoretical background.

    Germany has good ones as well but they are also tough. They had (have?)
    the two-strike law: Fail a test twice and you are out, in my days banned
    from any university there for the same career path. Maxwell's stuff
    almost got me. About 75%-80% of students at my university (RWTH Aachen)
    did not make it into engineering because they either threw in the towel
    or got "weeded out".

    Also, while this is an excellent way to become multi-cultural and all
    that, if they ever want to eye a job that requires a P.E. I guess you
    can pretty much forget the whole thing. Advisers rarely tell people that
    but I believe it can become a huge obstacle. So for civil engineering
    I'd personally not do that. Unless you want to work abroad since that
    kind of red tape doesn't exist in most other countries.
  3. Guest

    Well.. calling oneself an "engineer" and having a BEng degree are two
    completely different things. Indeed, I have a BEng degree and people
    call me "programmer".
    quality of engineering graduates from UK universities are quite good.
    This generally applies to any institution in the UK that has the word
    "university" in its name.

    I went to Essex University myself (I'm from Malaysia by the way). The
    EE department there is good.

    For top ranking engineering schools in the UK off the top of my head:

    - Imperial College London (I just love the fact that they actually
    maintain a live nuclear reactor for research purposes. How's that for
    claim to fame!)

    - University College London
    - Manchester
    - Nottingham
    - Essex
  4. In France of course. Well, I must admit that I'm french so may be you should
    take this answer with caution. Anyway, in a nutshell in France the education
    system is quite original, with two different parallel systems : university
    and engineering schools. As engineering schools are more selective they are
    usually graded higher, but a good university could be better than a low
    range engineering schools. More specificaly the EE area the schools that
    come first in mind are ENST, SUPELEC, ENSEEIHT and ENSEA, you will find them
    easily on google. But there are tens of other. Three of the four are in or
    near Paris, the third one in south, in Toulouse.

    A french EE guy.
  5. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    On more remark, and this is important to consider: The local language.
    You need to be pretty fluent. Near borders (or what used to be borders)
    and in bi-lingual countries that can be a challenge. The local folks
    speak several languages and happily switch back and forth. So they don't
    mind if, say, one lecture is held in Dutch and the next in French. But
    that can frustrate a foreigner. Universities in Europe often have 10% or
    more foreigners so one also needs to get used to thick accents, accents
    in a foreign language. Yep, including accents that some professors have.

    Then, join an informal circle of friends who study together and have fun
    together as well. Preferably not a group with lots of other expats of
    your language zone but locals. They are very helpful and understanding
    when it comes to difficulties grasping a text.

    Dialects: Can be severe. I lived way in the south of the Netherlands.
    When a group of us were up north and talked too fast amongst ourselves
    the people (in the same country!) wouldn't even understand what we were
    talking about. And that was less than 100 miles away.

    Before departing, way before, start listening to local radio and read
    papers or magazines. The Internet makes that very easy, no need to
    become an expert in shortwave reception, no need for expensive

    Get involved: We had a "deal" with a guy from Panama. He taught us
    Spanish for one hour, then we taught him German for the next hour. Local
    brew helped as well :)
  6. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    I wonder if all that rigor is conducive to producing good design
    engineers. Engineering design is not analysis, and being good with
    divergences and curls is not much of a predictor of electronic design
    skills. Seems to me they'll wash out the occasional brilliant maverick
    who's just not good at, or interested in, that sort of math.

  7. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Not likely. Circuit design is an art.

    ...Jim Thompson
  8. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yeah, and they almost washed me out on account of Maxwell. Me, the guy
    who (quietly) pointed out numerous blunders in some professor's scripts,
    who designed industrial control gear before we were tought about it, who
    was told by the control theory prof that I didn't really understand
    loops while having built tons of them etc.

    I think the philosophy is similar to what it was back in the army where
    they told us "As civilians you came, as tough men you will leave". And I
    have to admit that it all does make you tougher and more able to face
    huge hurdles.
  9. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Not according to one prof back then. He said that by the time we are 40
    discrete design would be obsolete. It'll be all chips. I had a major
    ROFL episode when he said that.

    The sad part is that many students believed such guys. So they migrated
    towards computer science and so on. The result is that one client needed
    1-1/2 years to find a useful analog engineer (from outside the country).
    Yesterday I had a chat with a head hunter about a similar situation and
    it looks a lot more dire there because nobody wants to move into the Bay
    Area unless they are paid a Rockefeller level salary. I hope they'll
    wise up and consider consultants bacause chances are they'll sit there
    two years from now and still stare at the walls.

  10. LVMarc

    LVMarc Guest

    If I would choose schools for engineering. I wold pick based upon following:

    2)Fullness and use of LABS

    Location because you do have to live for 4-5 years to obtain BS and
    longer for MS PHD. So you may as well live in nice environment. If this
    includes Europe, fine.

    Given the artisitic nature and ability to create something, as a
    real-world engineer, the LABS ad the ACTUAL USE OF THE LABS, is
    critically important. So beyond volt meters and low frequency
    generators ans scopes, I wold like to see:

    Spectrum analyzers
    High voltage (tube or advance DC power)
    Anechoic chambers

    Make your own "points" system and score in excel sheet to compare
    several opportunities. Most folks have cos as #1 priority and then
    usually go to the State or participating schools nearby. Thats OK to,
    as you learn as you go, so in ten AFTER you graduate, and you are paying
    attention, you have earned 2.5 times as much as yo did the day yo
    graduated.. Hopefully, this trend continues and you can do good work,
    irrespective and despite :) where you received your formal training.
    BTW, there is a lot of similarity in the basic courses and supporting
    math to obtain a BSEE or other BS hard engineering degree..

    Best regards,
  11. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    Given the housing prices and awful commutes, they probably aren't even being
  12. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Not only will I not move, I insist on off-site operation (*)... I do
    the designing in my office, with my tools, with occasional visits to
    the customer's location.

    (*) Right now I'm consulting "Z" using NoMachine's virtual remote
    desktop into "Z's" Cadence tools (gag me with a spoon ;-)

    ...Jim Thompson
  13. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Nice. I only saw that once here when a business visitor linked to a
    mainframe overseas. Pretty cool. Then again at a client. Me doing my
    analog stuff, suddenly the big monitor behind me became live, beeping,
    the cursor moving around and all that. Spooky.
  14. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    + lots of good pubs and Greek restaurants. Local brew should be of high
    quality and not give headaches after intense imbibing :)

    Solder irons.
    More solder irons.
    Nuts, bolts, pliers, good machine shop.
    Analog scopes or at least the Tek 2465 level.
    Impressive stash of thin sheet metal.
    Lots of sheet metal scraps in recycle dumpster behind lab.
    A nice pile of BNC jacks is also a good sign.
    Stack of Vector Boards, _with_ ground plane.
  15. Guest

    Fail a test twice? Do you mean, fail any two tests, and then bye-
    bye? Or do they actually give you a re-test when you fail a test? (I
    can't remember the last time they did that at my school.)

    Yep, that's for sure. And did you know, there's a distinction between
    Structural and Civil engineering?

    Thanks for all the input, guys. I appreciate it.


  16. Fail the repeated test means bye-bye. Applied to all tests.

  17. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    As Rene said if you fail the repeat test that's the end of it.

    You didn't have repeats offered? So people had to drop out after failing
    just one? We had to pass all the tests, no exception, else no degree.
    Yeah. But all this licensing, what good does it do? It's red tape. The
    Europeans don't have it and they sure see less bridges collapsing over
  18. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Horse pucky! How about some numeric facts?

    ...Jim Thompson
  19. Guest

    Let's see... at UC Davis for my engineering courses (I was in chemical
    engineering, so that's all I know), we'd get two (or sometimes just
    one - Thermodynamics!) midterm, then a final exam. Midterms typically
    25-30% or so each, final maybe 35-40% each, and the difference might
    be homework ~10%. You could fail a midterm and still pass the class,
    if you did ok on the other midterm and final. They don't do re-tests.

    If you fail the class, you take the class again next year (typically
    upper division engineering classes are only offered once a year). Or
    you could drop out on your own, your choice. You have to maintain a
    2.0 GPA overall in your engineering courses, otherwise they throw you
    out of the engineering program.

  20. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    How about some facts the other direction? "To safeguard and protect the
    public ... yada, yada, yada.." Where's the proof that it does?

    As for bridge failures I don't have any statistics for Europe but if
    there was a spat of major events like the above it would have been on
    the news there and it wasn't. Ok, maybe I missed one but the only
    failures I remember were metal girder issues way back in the 70's, and
    pre-stressed concrete bridges where inspectors found corrosion (but
    before anything happened).

    When you travel over there you can cross bridges that were built by
    <gasp> unlicensed Roman engineers more than 1500 years ago and they hold
    up just fine. So, show me a credible news report from the last few year
    about a major bridge collapse in Europe, of the seriousness we have seen
    this year, and I'll stand corrected.
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