I’m a Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering. Yes, officially. I got my degree certificate along with the final gradesheet in December of last year. It’s been a year since I have officially met the “B.Tech. in EE” degree requirements.
This article is an attempt to summarize my thoughts on the Electrical Engineering courses that I studied. The review is very subjective and would apply only to me. So, please don’t assume anything.
I’m reviewing courses taught by faculty affiliated with the Department of Electrical Engineering or are listed under the EE department. The Electrical Engineering curriculum consists of many other courses in addition to the ones listed here. If you’re interested, you can have a look at the course template here. If you wish to know what courses I took at IITK, you can check this out.
Spoiler alert: I hated Electrical Engineering courses, so the reviews will probably be negative for most courses. The reviews are very subjective, and you should not rely on them while choosing courses. (To be fair, most of them will be just thrown at you. You’ll have no choice.)
The difficulty level, out of 5, is subjective and based on my impression of the material and the professor. $1$ represents a straightforward course, while $5$ represents a very challenging course.
- EE200A - Signals, Systems & Networks
- ESC201A - Introduction to Electronics
- ESO203A - Introduction to Electrical Engineering
- EE210A - Microelectronics I
- EE250A - Control Systems Analysis
- EE301A - Digital Signal Processing
- EE311A - Microelectronics II
- EE320A - Principles of Communication
- EE330A - Power Systems
- EE340A - Electromagnetic Theory
- EE370A - Digital Electronics
- EE380A - Electrical Engineering Lab I
- EE381A - Eletrical Engineering Lab II
- EE390A - Electrical Engineering Communication Skills
- EE604A - Image Processing
- EE698V - Machine Learning for Signal Processing
EE200A - Signals, Systems & Networks. This is the first true EE course that you’ll encounter on campus. The instructor is one of the best instructors on campus. Like the name suggests, the course deals with signals and their representations, how these signals might be transmitted by a system, their Fourier representations, and how networks can be useful in the real world. There is some graph theory as well.
Notes are not provided, and that sucks. You have to write notes in class. To add to that misery, the assignments are lengthy, and usually, something different gets asked in the tests. Past papers are a great way to practice, but solutions are hard to find, so you don’t know what you solved is right or wrong!
ESC201A - Introduction to Electronics. As the name suggests, this course intends to introduce you to electronics. There is a lab component as well. The labs are messy but fun. Even when you wire your circuits properly, the chances of it working as intended are almost zero. The theory part of the course is pretty elementary, although the portion is huge, so a lot to study.
The instructor during our semester was excellent. He provided solutions, notes, and everything. The tests were usually easy, except the end-semester exam! Grading was fine, but the professor could have done better.
ESO203A - Introduction to Electrical Engineering. This is probably one of the worst courses that I had to take on campus. I did not learn a single thing from the course. There was a lab component which was fine, but the theory part of the course was horrible. I don’t know how anything can be that bad. The slides were ancient-looking, the instruction terrible.
I knew I did not like my degree curriculum even before this course, but this course reinforced that EE isn’t something that I would ever want to pursue again.
EE210A - Microelectronics I. Another terribly taught course. Thankfully, old slides of the same course taught by another outstanding professor came to the rescue. I don’t know how I managed to pass this class. The highest total during my semester was about 55 out of 100. The end-semester exam questions seemed like they were out of the blue. Unsurprisingly, most ended up with terrible scores.
I would argue that this was one of the most demanding courses I ever studied. Maybe that’s because of the terrible instruction or my lack of understanding of the material, or both.
EE250A - Control Systems Analysis. This was by far the best EE course that was offered to me. The instructor was really fantastic and managed to teach core concepts without hurrying. In fact, he watered down the concepts so much that many would find it boring. Solving previous years’ papers was immensely helpful. I actually felt like I learned something from this course.
EE301A - Digital Signal Processing. Commonly known as DSP. Supposedly an easy course. But, the instructor taught horribly during the semester I took it. I don’t recall much of what was introduced in the class other than about Fourier transforms. The course content isn’t complex, but as you know, it is hard to learn something you’re not interested in.
The evaluation was okay. Nothing fancy, and solving the assignments and studying class notes were sufficient. Also, the course had to be cut short because of the pandemic.
EE311A - Microelectronics II. I don’t know why I took this course. That was probably the worst decision of my academic life at IIT Kanpur. I did not understand a single thing that was taught. There is just so much physics and notation that gets thrown around. On top of that, I was also going through some personal issues at the time and did not really study for it.
The instructor is impressive, though. He tried his best to teach the material well. Although, the exams were challenging. I dropped the course right after the midterm, without any regrets at all. However, the pandemic started, and the course could not be completed.
EE320A - Principles of Communication. By far the worst course I had to take. Yeah, worse than ESO203A. In that course, at least the instructor was audible. I understand that the professor is an excellent researcher, but some people are just bad teachers. The only good thing about the course was that notes were provided. That’s all.
The tutor of my section was even worse. He would murmur something to himself, scribble something on the board, and that’s it. I don’t know how I passed the course or what I learned, but I’m so glad that I passed it on the first attempt. I’d have had a nightmare if I was made to take the course a second time.
EE330A - Power Systems. The aim of this course is to introduce how our grids and various electrical appliances work. Sure, I found that boring as well. However, the instructor was good and provided well-typeset notes. That made learning the material more accessible.
The grading was lenient as far as I could tell. However, like all EE courses, I did not bother about anything other than passing the courses. At the time, it all seemed overwhelming, but ultimately things turned out well.
EE340A - Electromagnetic Theory. This course is one of the best-taught courses on campus. The professor during my term was absolutely fantastic. The course does have a learning curve to it because many new concepts are covered. However, with regular attendance in classes (an impossible proposition) and attempting the assignments, one could score pretty decently in tests.
The grading wasn’t as lenient as expected, and the end-term exam’s marking scheme was kind of weird.
EE370A - Digital Electronics. This was one of the more interesting courses. The professor was great at teaching. Although, he did not provide notes and so it was hard to study later on. The tests were quite hard, and so I tanked.
I wish the provided written notes. No matter how good you are in the classroom, one can only recall so many things later on. There wasn’t enough support either, but that’s not surprising at IIT Kanpur.
EE380A - Electrical Engineering Lab I. This is a compulsory lab course that everyone has to take. Broadly, it’s divided into three parts - microelectronics, control systems, and power electronics. Yeah, all three labs are in this course. The labs are fun, even though I did not understand or learn a single thing from them. I had a hard time in the class, frankly.
But, I got lucky. The experiment that I was asked to perform during the end-term was the only one that I knew well, so I rocked the endsem. You can guess - my grade was excellent. However, if I got some other experiment, I would have had a hard time.
EE381A - Electrical Engineering Lab II. Like the naming suggests, this lab is supposed to be the advanced version of the previous one. The pandemic hit just as we were at the midpoint of the course, so everyone just got passing grades. I think the last lab was more interesting than this one, but again I learned nothing.
Maybe it’s me, but I have a feeling that not many people learn from these labs. As long as you write beautiful lab reports, you should be good. That makes me wanna ask, “Are these labs worth keeping in the curriculum?” But, it is what it is.
EE390A - Electrical Engineering Communication Skills. Why does this course even exist? Mostly timepass, to be honest. It’s a pass/fail course. The passing criteria were ridiculous - something like you need to pass 10/13 assignments or so. I gave 11 assignments and skipped the other classes. The class hours used to be the worst two hours of my week. I guess I wrote something silly about chickens in one of the assignments and still got full marks.
EE604A - Image Processing. The course curriculum is pretty primary because it does not involve fancy Deep Learning concepts and others. Just like EE200A, the instructor did not provide notes. However, the assignments were fun to solve. The tests, as expected, were nothing like the assignments.
I would say that the course covers a lot of breath, so it is complex in that sense. However, the exam is open-book, so that’s some relief.
EE698V - Machine Learning for Signal Processing. This is probably the best EE course that I took during my degree. The course is pretty elementary, and the instructor was okay as well. The course curriculum shot for the stars but missed very severely. In the end, things were very much hurried and watered down. However, the class slides were good, and because the field is exploding, notes on various concepts were effortless to find.
If you took a Machine Learning course before, the course should be a piece of cake. In terms of the depth, the course does not really go into the various algorithms in depth. Instead, it introduces you to the algorithms and how they might be used in the context of Signal Processing.
Summary. I hated EE courses. I know, that sounds absurd because I majored in EE. But, I had no idea what I was signing up for. I hope I find something that I like soon. Let me know what other EE courses you took and how you liked them. Comment your thoughts below!
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