Which course to choose in university

Hi Logan,

In a couple of years I need to choose whether to specialise on Electrical/Electronical, Mechanical or Computer engineering or Computer sciences; could you please explain what the difference between them is and what each one consists of.

Thanks in advance

This is a complicated question.  I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and will give you a high level explaination and some real world examples.

Electrical Engineering is a broad field.  For certain you will learn electrical curcit theory.  This is an enormous amout of complicated math.  Lots of differential equations, convolution integrals, imaginary numbers, etc.  There is also a fiar bit of programing too but more related to system operation rather than software.  Hardware things like PID circuits.  Porpotional Integral differential circuits are your thermostat in your house for example.  My friend who are EE's have gone into electrical power generation, machine electrical/software control.

Computer Engineering has a more focused embeded systems feel than EE.  CE will do more hardware design, coding and software coding.  Instead of circuit theory you learn software theory.  I did not have as many friend in CE because the program was new at my college but they have generally gone into some sort of programming job.

Mechanical Engineering focuses on the mechanisms (obviosuly).  Thing you can look forward to learning about how machines function dynamically, loads in a structure, thermodynamics of a car engine, how the water moves in the pipes in your house, etc.  ME's have the benefit of learning little bits of EE and CE as well.  I took two circuits classes, a programming class, built and coded a robot using a arduino.  ME's do thing that make computer cases feel solid and ridged, make silent but high flowing fans, and design the function of just about anything metal or plastic you can think of.  I had alot of fun.  My friends have gone on to work in the hydro turbine industry, work for large lawnmower company, elevator systems, agriculture machines.  Personally I work on stress analysis and data acquisition.  I place many sensor on a machine in areas of interest to design engineers and run tests on the machine while collector data on the stress of metal, pressure of hydraulic lines, accelerations, rotational speed of equipment, loads from hydraulic cylinders, etc.  The information gets compiled and we do fatigue analysis to determine if a part will fail before X number of cycles is completed.  

Mind you this was the setup at my school.  Your milage my vary depending on university.  Our EE/CE students Mostly worked on the IGVC competition as their Senior Design project. The ME's worked on the Formula SAE racecar (its what I did) for their Senior Design project.  Some schools are more hands on than others as well which is something to take into consideration.

I hope that gives you a better overall picture of what each of those majors does.  If you have any more questions don't hesatate to ask.  

Thanks for your reply, say I wanted to be the kind of guy who creates factories, you know the kind in 'how it's made', which course would apply most?

I would guess mechatronics, electro-mechanical or maybe industrial engineering.

Depends on what part of the factory you are talking about.  Industrial Engineering will cover the layout and installation of product lines.  If you wanted to design the machines that make the parts best to start with Mechanical Engineering and got to a school that:

1: Has a very good internship program and is connected to companies that do that sort of work.  This is the single most valuable way to learn your way into the field.  A degree gives you the basic knowledge but actually working for the company as an intern will fast track you into a position.

2: Has a hands on focus with projects that involve design, fabrication, and robots.  As previously stated courses in electro mechanical devices will be helpful.  It is very helpful to be knowledgeable of current technology and manufacturing practice.  Designing components takes skill in being able to see the part as well as understand how it is manufactured.  The best design engineers know as much about tooling and milling as the people actually making the parts.