no ogl .. just a real life help request....

hi everyone… im kind of new in opengl … and bla bla… ok

first of all… thanks for nice replies about questions, you know who you are… and my big thanks for you helpers!

My question this time… is a real life question… here it is
i’ve done my exams in school… and i’m about to do a big decision in my life about the “where to go” in university.
there are two options

-> “engineering (computer)” or “computer science”

my contry is “Portugal” and i’m really a bit in… “what to choose” dilema…

to all of you, that may have knowledge about this, or experince, or have passed the same… please advise me
as i have done tons of research about this in about all the universitys in the country…
and i have to decide this in the next few days … many thanks


well, that really depends on what you enjoy, doesn’t it? which makes it impossible for someone who doesn’t know you to give good advice. the only safe thing to say is, “research both, and decide which interests you more”.

or you could double major, if you like hard work.

and this is just a guess (because i’m cs), but i don’t think those ce guys do much coding…

General advice:
First of all, you DON’T have to decide right now! That’s right, no-one says you have to declare your major when you first enter the University system (at least, that’s how it is in the US). You’ll spend the first year or two taking the same basic courses no matter which program you choose. If you choose a school with a decent program in both CE and CS, you’ll have some time to look around and really get to know people in both departments, which might help you decide.

Specific advice:
Since you’re reading the message board, that means you’re probably a programmer, so my hunch is that you would find CS more interesting. CS majors tend to write a lot of programs and learn a lot of theory. If you decide on CE, you’ll spend a lot of time learning about hardware, especially very low level hardware. At many schools, computer engineers are required to take the same core curriculum as all other engineers, meaning that you would spend a lot of time taking classes are aren’t even remotely related to computers. Strange, but that’s just the way it works.

Caveat emptor:
But then again, I’m a 4th year CS/Math major, so I’m biased

If you already haven’t done so… find out the difference between CS and CE. I had to do it junior year in highschool, and I am probably going to end double majoring in both . Or atleast a minor in CE and a major in CS. I think that’ll work out nice =).

With most of these people being CS majors I’ll give you the opinion of a CE that will be graduating with his BS next year.

It is definently true that CS people do more programming, but CE students do alot. With what I’ve learned in school from being a CE I have a great background in computer programming, numerical methods, and algorthm stuff. But CS people will definently get more of this in school than I am. However, I’ve also done more of this stuff on my own cause it intrests me so that helped me catch up to CS people.

Now the real advantage to being a CE is that I understand what makes computers work better than most CS students. In one of my classes I designed a simple microprocessor from scratch. I have a good understanding of how intel makes their processors( and how complicated yet simple) it really is. The thing I have to warn you about is that before you get to understanding cool stuff like microprocessors, cacheing, and system bus systems you need ALOT of boring EE theory. I had thought I made a mistake being a CE cause I hated the EE part until some cool courses used all the EE knowledge I had gained to make computer systems.

From my experience it is much much much easier to learn about extra CS info outside of school compared to EE info. I personally think that the EE stuff is much more important to learn in school cause it would be difficult to put all the pieces together on you’re own where as I feel I could pick up a book on algorithms and learn it from there. Don’t get the idea I’m saying the CS part is easy it’s just that once I got the basics of it down the rest it seems can be learned from books.

What does all this hardware experience bring you when it comes to writing code? I feel that understanding the basics behind hardware gives me an advantage to writing efficent code, especially asembly. Something that intrests me alot is writng video games and it brings me much joy to hear that the PS2 still uses a lot of low level programming that requires an understanding of it’s internal workings. This is the kind of environment that I think a CE can thrive in.

In the end it is definently up to you. But definently take a good look at both before choosing.

Originally posted by ribblem:

What does all this hardware experience bring you when it comes to writing code? I feel that understanding the basics behind hardware gives me an advantage to writing efficent code, especially asembly.
In the end it is definently up to you. But definently take a good look at both before choosing.

Very true. If you know just win32 programming, you can write Win32 programs. If you know a little more of how the software actually works, you can write more efficient win32 programs and throw some assembly in there safely too. If you have knowledge ANOTHER level down (hardware), you can write more efficient assembly code, more efficient win32 code and use more hardware based knowledge to solve problems by applying a wide range of knowledge to a new situation (problem)

I am doing first year IT and we have only started doing simple hardware study after doing a semester of Java programming. I have found it so much more easier to understand the Java language because I already have very simple knowledge of hardware and just a bit of assembly along with a larger knowledge of C, so I was better off than others that ONLY knew how the operating system worked.

It just depends. Do you want to specialize in software, or do you want to tackle programming problems that involve keeping hardware in mind?

[This message has been edited by drakaza (edited 07-21-2000).]

Well, here’s one for you. I graduated with a EE but my junior and senior year fell in love with graphics programming. Developed a cool senior project that used as much programming as possible and then went to work at a software company. I am glad I have the EE back ground becuase I am very strong in math and theory but I realize it really doesn’t matter what your degree is, what matters is that you do what you love and you do it well. Just make sure your lining yourself up for a job that you will really enjoy doing.

I didn’t bother going to school for either field. I find it more intuitive to seek knowledge by your own desire to learn. Why is it you need these diplomas and proper formal documents to declare your worth? Bah I said… Learning because you want to is much cheaper than going to schools. I make enough money at my current job to live happily. More than happily I must say. I took the chance at blowing school off and I must say, I am not sorry. I am not saying that is what you want to do, I am merely throwing in another variable. It’s your choice to make the decision that best suites your needs. But take it from me, learning on your own rewards a better feeling of accomplishment than learing from some old crusty professor blah blahing to you day in and day out. High school was enough of a joke for me to see it like that. Of course I am probably lucky to get where I am, so i’d have to say take CS because you get to be more geeky there than in CE. Being a geek is always much more fun!

Originally posted by fenris:
I didn’t bother going to school for either field. I find it more intuitive to seek knowledge by your own desire to learn. Why is it you need these diplomas and proper formal documents to declare your worth?

I wish it worked this way. I knew a hell of a lot 4 years ago, but it still didn’t get me a job. It was only until this February that I was lucky enough to stumble on a job (through an interesting set of circumstances no less) that was willing to take me on, at first as a low-risk co-op, but with the intention of full time, which I happily am now. Mind you, I still need 15 credits of coursework to complete my BS in CS. It came down to the fact that I am but one semester away from graduating that got me this position anyways.

Now, keep in mind, it took me 3 1/2 years of actively looking for a job like this before I found one. Everywhere I went the reaction was the same, no funny letters after your name, no job. High School dimplomas mean squat these days, its no longer the 50’s and 60’s. An associates degree (which I’ve had for 2 years now) is pretty much the equivalent of the high school diploma as well. So moral is, if you want money, go to school. If you want to get anywhere in life and this world, go to school.

And to answer the original author’s question, do whatever your heart leads you to do. If you think that you’ll enjoy programming more than engineering, go CS. Otherwise…

Just remember, world wide these days, most people have a tendency to stay in the career/field that they initially choose for about 15 years. Then, well, its back to school.

I wish you good luck in your studies no matter what you choose, and I’ll stop blathering now.


hi everyone!

first -> since this is personal… i really must say > THANK YOU ALL < for you all to take some time to help me and advise me.

my decision will be CS.

And i want to say why, its because i’m more into programing right now… and i feel i like it - probably i would like to take both (CS + CE) who wouldn’t … and if i want to take both… i think i should start with CE… but right now i feel i need to get into something i like and will enjoy more, and thats why i choose CS, knowing that CE is as well very important.

once more a very big “thanks” to you guys for your opinions, really thank you very much.


Just a detail:

At Unicamp (Brazil), the CS course is offered only at night, and the CE is a full-time course (also it is a 5 yr course against 4yr of CS).

But the CE course is divided in two areas (which you choose in fifth semester) : “Information Systems” and “Systems & Proccesses” (sp?). While the second is the default CE course offered elsewhere (some hard coding and some EE stuff), the Information Systems speciality is a “well-fed” version of the CS course. It features all of the CS subjects, plus some more topics in coding (some extra advanced topics, and, of course, some basics of EE.

That made my choice MUCH easier (as Unicamp is the best computing university at Brazil…), I entered at CE, and although at the beginning I was very CS oriented, now I start to fall to the side of the Hardware stuff…

Why??? That’s because there are not so many “Hard coding” companies in Brazil, and I don’t want to risk getting into a “Standard Database Company”…

Anyway, I think you could research a bit more about the CE courses in Portugal (curiosity : What are the best universities in computing there?), as some of them could have the same subdivision…

PS : Even choosing the “Software” speciality, I still have to course that “Materials Resistance” and other Generic Engineering subjects… :\

My advice is pick the thing you like the best and try it. I know that sounds dumb, but I swear the jobs I have hated the most are always the ones I pick for the money and not for the love of the thing. I know other people have said this, but it is not important to decide the rest of your life right now. You can always change once you are enrolled in the university, and even if you graduate, you can always go back and do something else.

Having said that, my degree program was really general, as are most CS/CE degrees in this country (AU). So no matter what you pick, you can generally do a bit of both at the same time. For example, I did Hardware Architecture design (uuuhhhh!! Hurt my brain) and Image Processing at the same time. Try things out because you can always change, but everything you do will still count towards a degree.( At least it did here…)

I hope that this helps you to make the decision you need to make, in that no decision in final. The important thing now is getting into the University system.