Embedded Microcontroller major?

Now that I know I will be attending Clarkson I am thinking about what I specifically want to do. I know for sure I want to do mechanical. Also I recently heard about people doing a double major with aerospace engineering because it is very similar and only a few courses are different. But I also want to see what kinda of major it would be if I wanted to have something that focused on programming embedded systems.

If anybody could provide some insight on that of a double major of aero/mech and any difference would be helpful.

Also anything about a embedded systems major would be helpful.

Well, you can view all the engineering major curriculum sheets for my school here and compare and contrast. http://www.csupomona.edu/~engineering/programs/currsheets/index.html :slight_smile:
I’m sure other schools are somewhat similar.

I’m losing track of your age, are you going as a college freshman or as part of the Clarkson School?

If it’s TCS, you’ll have to hunt around some more, but I’m going to be a freshman in EE, possibly shifting or doubling to CE with an interest in the very same systems. My passion more lies in designing them, I just happen to have cultivated a decent interest and talent in programming them as well, so I’m not sure which path I’ll go down, but you should look in to both.

I have a BS in aeronautical and astronautical engineering and a MS in mechanical. You’re right that there’s a good bit of overlap between the two. Often it’s only a matter of what type of problems that are emphasized that are different. For instance, both study fluid dynamics. Aeros typically look at external flows around bodies in air while mechanicals work with various gases and liquids and more often analyze internal flows. Both usually have a pretty good emphasis on structural analysis. Traditionally, for aeros this meant aluminum sheet metal structures while mechanicals are into machine elements. Both disciplines study thermodynamics as both can be involved in engine design but mechanicals usually get a big exposure to the steam tables.

As for crossover, my master’s thesis was on helicopter rotor aerodynamics which was going on in the mechanical department rather than the aero department.

The bottom line, is if you have a good understanding of the basics of either discipline, you can move between the two. As to which to emphasize, that depends one where you think you want to fit in.

As to programming embedded systems, there’s a new term floating around in some schools, mechatronics. This is the fusion of mechanical and electronic systems as control is becoming a major part of mechanical systems. Control is becoming distributed with more intelligence going into individual parts that are integrated into the system rather than having monolithic control systems. By the same token, aircraft, missile, and spacecraft control systems are becoming more sophisticated and relying heavily on computer based controls. For instance, the B-2 couldn’t fly without a computer between the pilot and the control surfaces.

When I was talking to a few different colleges I alot of people told me that for mechanical engineering they have sme electrical course in too.

Also, part of the problem is that I like everything so much that I want to be a part of the whole process. kinda like on my team, during the build season I jump between mechanical, electrical and programming. Even after talking to my team leader he said I would be more helpful on programming this year because of how behind they are.

Part of it for me is just going to be to decide, because honestly I can’t do everything, though I would like to.

I think electrical is out of the question because I like it but not as much as mechanical and programming.

What are some of the better career oportunities in?

BTW Matt I am in TCS.

When I was in school, there were two courses in the EE dept that all engineers, except electricals, had to take. One was basic electricity and the second basic electronics. What constitutes basic electronics has probably changed in the intervening time. :rolleyes: The basic electricity covered resistors, inductors, and capacitors. The experiments read something like draw 10 amps at 100 volts. Screw up and you’d light up. The electronics course used 9 volt batteries. I liked tha much better.

The bottom line is that all engineers need to know enough to hook up and use basic instrumentation. As many products you’ll be using as a mechanical have an electronic control part, it’s more important than ever.