How Hard is Engineering in University?Watch
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The core modules will surpass A-level Further Maths within the first year and build on that throughout the second year. Depending on the engineering discipline you choose, the level of application of maths and physics to solving problems follows suit.
For instance, mechanical engineering majors on dynamic forces, vectors, stress and strains, material properties, thermodynamics etc. and techniques such as Finite Element Analysis and other computational modelling methods.
Software majors on programming as you may imagine, but covers real time applications where complex iterative computation must be done in a tightly constrained time boundary, to things like large scale relational databases, signal processing, speech recognition and fabrication etc. The maths content covering these will be high. Physics is not so much of an issue though, as software is about computation rather than a rigorous understanding of system dynamics.
Electronics is much more abstract and concentrates on mathematical simulation, em force-fields, sub-atomic properties, 2nd order differentials, surface and volume integrals, various transforms, statistics, regression analysis, matrix methods etc. as well as signal processing, interfacing, device fabrication, thermodynamics, programming, the list goes on.
All engineering requires a very hands on approach and projects form a major part not just from the construction and testing elements, but also project management, teamwork, financial accounting, health and safety, statutory legislation etc.
I'd say, if you are not practically minded or want to constantly take things apart to find out how they work in order to improve form and function, or, don't relish complex problem solving under pressure, then pure academic results will not prepare you for the shock of getting your hands dirty in engineering.
What are you current grades and subjects? It certainly helps a lot if they are in things like maths and physics.
It's not a walk in the park, but certainly doable.
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Over the 3 years of a the degree, you can expect to study topics/modules such as:
- Programming in several languages (Typically languages such as Python, Java, C#, C and C++)
- Object Oriented Design / Design Patterns / UML
- Database design and SQL
- Web Development
- Software Development Lifecycle / Systems Analysis + Design / Technical Documentation
- System Testing / Functional Testing / Automated Unit Testing
- Ethics and Legal issues in Computing
- Functional Programming (possibly using Haskell)
- Computer architecture / Binary / Numeric representations / Logic
- Data Structures and Algorithms
- Concurrency / Asynchrony / Multi-threading
- UX / UI design
It would probably also touch upon other related topics such as Electronics, some Maths, Networking, some CS theory, and Probably some "hot" topics like AI, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, etc.
Also, many Software Engineering courses include an industrial placement year (which may be optional for the course, but is very, very important if you care at all about getting a job as a Software Engineer after you graduate) - for a lot of people, the industrial placement year is the part of the degree course where you'll learn the most about software engineering.
Lastly, the FYP in a Software Engineering degree would almost certainly involve taking a significant non-trivial problem and needing to develop a complete system for that problem, following through the full Development Lifecycle, etc.