Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More on choosing a major

A few months ago, I wrote a little bit about What to Study, but I want to come back to that topic for a bit.  In my plan of study for my first high school, I had intended to take a keyboarding class in my Junior year.  As I recall, that was a recent change, the course used to be just Typing.  When we moved to Indiana, and I found myself at the local public school for my Junior year, the closest they had to Keyboarding was a Computer Skills course.  So I took the Computer Skills course, and to this day I am glad that I did

The Computer Skills class did start out with basic typing practice, probably some Typing Tutor software.  We also worked with a variety of graphic design / newsletter-making software, word processing, spreadsheets and databases.  Then we got to programming.  It was a very simplified Pascal thing, but it was a start, and I enjoyed it.

Towards the end of the year, we had to write a paper using three other types of media.  One was an online encyclopedia, but since this was before both the World Wide Web and Wikipedia, that was something the teacher pulled for us.  Another was from the library, and I don't recall how I got the third.  Apparently, for this assignment the teacher didn't care if the three different articles related to each other, but I did my best to make it a solid research paper.

I remember that one of my sources talked about neural networks, and another talked about parallel processing. 

As a Freshman Engineer at Purdue, when I was trying to decide what to enroll in, I looked back at that.  I remembered what I'd been told in junior high, the recommendation to either do Electrical or Mechanical engineering (both were considered broader in scope, easier to find jobs with than Aerospace Engineering).

I remembered that I wanted to know more about computing, neural networks, parallel processing, even the computer programming.  All of those were more Electrical than Mechanical.

So I chose to major in Electrical Engineering.  I didn't like *everything* that I had to study to become an Electrical Engineer.  But where I had a choice, I was able to pick out classes that I found exciting and cool.