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McGill University (Canada)

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Date: Jan 21 2005
Major: Electrical Engineering (This Major's Salary over time)
I majored in Electrical Engineering but I ended up working in Software Engineering. Though I do not use much of the purely EE knowledge I had learned (and now forgotten), the project design and implementation skills, the programming skills, and the general computer knowledge that I have gained in my major did help me in my current work.

I had a very good pre-university record so it was not difficult for me to get in McGill. Getting out of McGill was however a bigger challenge. I completed my degree with a good academic standing, but it was hard, very hard.

Considered individually, first and second year courses were moderately difficult (to me at least), but considered all together, they create a workload that was at times very… painful. I still believe that they were intently made that difficult to eliminate students from reaching the third and fourth years (lab places are limited in those years). Third and fourth year courses were of course more specialized but somehow easier to handle.

I was not particularly impressed with the quality of teaching I received. I had some excellent professors but the mediocre ones affected me so much that my overall impression is negative. My department was hit by a shortage of professors because too many left (probably for higher salaries elsewhere… remember this was during the dotcom frenzy period).

Since I don't really work in EE, I cannot really say for sure if my academic experience would have adequately prepared me for work in that field. However, I remember that when I was looking for my first job as an EE, I felt rather unprepared. I ended up working in software engineering, not really by choice, but I am happy about where I am right now.

I am a native of Montreal, so I took the internationally diverse character of McGill for granted. Now that I work in the Southern USA, I miss that atmosphere. McGill is rather unknown in this part of the States, so its reputation had little to do with where I am now.

I wish I had spent more time doing extra-curricular activities and having fun during my college years. My advice to current and prospective students would therefore be to try—without sacrificing your academic life—making college life socially enriching. The skills and social bonds/experience that you develop outside of classes are important too and will become cherished memories.

I also recommend taking a one-year internship during your studies, if you can. I did not take because I could not extend the duration of my studies, but I know that exposure to real-life work is a valuable experience.

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