This blogpost is organized year-wise, freshie-sophie-thirdie-fourthie, and is meant to be read by a freshie starting his life at EE@IITB. Sophomores who have BC-ed (Branch-changed) into EE are welcome to go through this to know what they have missed. I have tried to jot down the experiences and expertise an EE student might be expected to gain by the end of each year. I have also mentioned my (physical) interactions with the department in the first 4 of the 5 years I spent in the EE department. A disclaimer regarding the information in the blogpost is due at this point since the curriculum may have undergone changes since I was a student. In case you are a Dual Degree student the only thing that differs is that (i) you have to do a Dual Degree project (DDP) in your fifth year and (ii) your specialization is already decided at the time of admission whereby you have to do a specialization course of your choice every semester from the second year onwards.
The interaction of a freshie with the department as such is minimal. There are only two courses EE101 and EE102, one in each semester, which try to introduce each of the 5 areas mentioned above (and beyond) and motivate you to study and excel in Electrical Engineering in the years to come. There may a brief description of the history and evolution of Electrical Engineering. Although this last bit seems boring to listen to in a classroom, especially when you are expecting stuff like wireless charging, humanoids and what not, it makes you more aware regarding the field and often also makes for an interesting conversation outside the classroom, especially during placements.
There are no lab courses in the department in the first year, which may make you think that you are not getting a "feel" for what you are studying. But trust me, you are in for way too many lab courses to compensate for this in the years to come.
At the end of the year, you should have a good feel for what Electrical Engineering is about. An electrician can no longer fool you by saying "3-phase DC induction motor lagyenge toh acha rahega" or that the 3 pins at a plug point are in fact a 3 phase supply. You should also have gained enough knowledge to tinker around with electronic devices on your own, understand specifications mentioned on most gadgets, know if a charger will reduce the battery life of your phone or laptop, or how using spike guards in series may be a tad bit flimsier than an extension board. The list is endless.
To those of you who know of Kung-fu-Panda.. "There is now a Level 0!" (EN...)
As a sophie, the courses are more narrowed down than the broad courses studied in the previous year. Obviously, there will now be labs for courses which are not theoretical and for which the level 0 has actually been attained. Broadly speaking, you may be expected to understand certain principles of design and finally appreciate the difference between engineering and science. The lab courses teach you a lot. There will always be a way to free ride on the efforts of your labmates, but it is really worth the while to put in effort to see a system work on a bread-board. You will realize that a simulation always differs from the actual hardware and last but not the least - you will, probably, have also learnt how to debug a hardware system, rather than jump to naive speculations of "bread-board kharab hoga". (ENGI...)
By the beginning of third year, you will have spent two academic years and two summer vacations as an IITian doing something either you like or realizing what you aren’t fond of. You will also probably have found out if you are still interested in Electrical Engineering, in which case you should probably look for "core internships". Depending on this you will take courses which are either (i) meant for learning or (ii) well-known for "peace" grading.
Nevertheless, the core courses in the third year are typically intermediate level courses. Again, one course for each of the 5 streams. As expected, they will again be accompanied by labs so that what is learnt in class is hoped to be observed/applied on hardware. Before you leave for your internship, it is worth asking the question "what do I expect to learn/gain out of this experience?" (ENGINE... now you know what this really is..!)
## Fourth year:
The fourth year brings with it some apprehension. If it doesn't, good for you! It certainly did for me. At this point in your life at IIT Bombay, you are (or you think you are) the "Master of your domain" so there is no point writing a lot about the fourth year. A wing senior is probably a more reliable person to give you fundae at this point.
By now, you have settled at IITB, and you will probably be anxious about answering the questions "What’s next?" and "What is my passion?" and so on, while your hair starts greying, or worse balding, to thinking about MBA-MS/PhD-Job-Startup-UPSC and what not!
You have to choose a specialization in Electrical Engineering. If you're interested you will take up a B.Tech project (BTP) for which you will have to choose an advisor and so on. Since the courses are typically specialization courses from one of the 5 streams, you will probably not do them with your wingies and hence make new friends whom you didn't know until now. More advanced the course are, say 5xx or 6xx, more the number of assignments you will be given in a week. Although to tell you the truth the most I learnt during my IIT days was when I solved these assignments.
To think of it, my 6 years at IITB have flown by faster than I would have liked. EE@IITB, though not as flashy as the hostels or the SAC, is a wonderful place where your brilliant minds will flourish. Who knows you could be the next Shannon! Good Luck.
Bio: Parthe Pandit spent 6 years (2010-2016) in IIT Bombay, 5 as a DD-CSP student of the Electrical Engineering Department and 1 as a research assistant in Systems and Controls Department. His next halt is at UCLA, pursuing his PhD in EE. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Like you, I am entering a new phase of my life- joining Georgia Tech in August,2016 as a PhD student in Computer Architecture. Since joining IIT-Bombay in 2009, I have had some diverse experiences - from being deeply interested in academics at IIT-B, to exploring the world of management consulting at Boston Consulting Group, to finally exploring a life in academia as a research scholar at Georgia Tech. Hopefully my experiences can give you some insight into what is in store for you – if you pick EE, IITB.
At IIT-Bombay, the Electrical Engineering Department provided me an excellent environment to thrive academically. The diverse set of courses available at EE, IITB straddling physics & chemistry (semiconductor physics), maths (communication & signal processing) and Computer Science (VLSI & Computer Architecture), allowed me to explore different sub-fields. In addition, the department has a culture encouraging research among undergrads. Opportunities for research with professors came in multiple formats - summer projects, in-semester research based courses, bachelors/master's theses projects. These allowed me to decide whether I liked doing research & the areas I liked & disliked. Lastly the professors & peer group at EE, IITB are probably one of the best in the country – they bring out the best in you academically.
In addition, I cannot stress how important the extra-curricular experiences at IITB have been in shaping my outlook towards life. Some of my most important life lessons have been learnt during my time working with the mentorship programme at IITB, or while training with the swimming team. Rest assured, there are enough extra-curricular opportunities at IITB to pursue whatever hobbies that suit one's interests – ensuring one gets a well-rounded preparation towards success in life.