Sophomore Year in Electrical Engineering
Year two of an engineering degree program is characterized by fundamental studies of engineering science topics including those in the major field.
For EEs this means more physics, mathematics, computer programming and computational tools, mechanics and/or energy concepts, in-depth introductions to computer hardware and microprocessors, and foundations of electric circuit theory.
In addition this is the time to refine technical report writing skills. Communication skills are essential for successful engineers and the ability to clearly express a technical idea will in part determine success upon graduation.
Ordinary differential equations are basic models for electrical circuits and systems and this foundation in mathematics is needed to fully understand circuit behavior. The EE program is highly structured and later courses build on the fundamentals learned during the sophomore year.
Know Your Area of Interest
Although it is a bit early, some students in the second year will begin to get a sense of their detailed interests in their field. It is very easy at this time to move into computer engineering, for example, and our curriculum is set up to allow that to occur seamlessly.
Working With Faculty
By now students will know more faculty members and may start to think about later project work. They may want to change academic advisors so they can work more closely with a specific faculty member. There are not many electives in the EE program but there is some flexibility, especially in the liberal education area. This year is a good time to start planning which electives are of most interest.
Summer Jobs in Industry
It is also a year to begin to think about possible coop opportunities and to plan for a technical summer job after the second year of school. Students who have developed good computer programming skills are usually in demand by companies who hire summer employees. From the company's point of view, it is a good chance to begin screening potential permanent employees. Engineering student summer salaries generally are far above summer pay for other university students. ROTC students may have summer obligations that must be considered.