A summary of electrical part two

My highly anticipated review/summary of the part 2 electrical courses is here. Enjoy~

Semester one

ELECTENG 291: Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering

This is THE electrical paper in semester one. Taught by William Lee and Mark Andrews, it’s guaranteed to be good fun. And good fun it is. Following directly on from ELECTENG 101, we look at all our favourite passive circuit components – resistors, capacitors, inductors and we characterise them in the time and frequency domains (whatever the heck that means!). There are also some special appearances from opamps. In general, this course is a whole lot of circuit theory. Be prepared to whip out your rusty-as NCEA level 3 complex numbers knowledge, because you will need it (and invest in a trusty non-graphics calculator that does complex math). We also learn how to use the simulation software LTSpice which will come in heaps of use later! This class isn’t one where you want to be forgetting the content a week after the exam. It will, at times, push you to the brink of your sanity as you ponder over the ever-difficult peer assignments and lab questions, but don’t worry, it’s always worth it for William (and yourself, I guess)!


COMPSYS 201: Introduction to Computer Systems

This course will start slow, comfortable, and familiar in the territory of logic gates and Boolean algebra. And then, when you start learning about timing and memory, you’ll be lost and probably never found again. Until exam season pops around and you’re forced to try to reckon with the un-understandable. The second half of the course doesn’t exactly follow on from the previous (thank heavens). It mainly revolves around programming microcontrollers in C and learning about different aspects of the ATMega328P. Get comfortable with Ctrl + F because you’ll spend a lot of time wading through the ATMega328P’s 300-page datasheet. As a plus, your favourite assignment software from ELECTENG 101 Gecko is back for more!


ENGSCI 211: Mathematical Modelling Two

The course that needs no introduction. A continuation of our favourite (and only) mathematical modelling course in part one. I could list a whole bunch of topics that are covered, but that’s not exactly helpful, so I won’t. The content is important, particularly because it often goes hand in hand with ELECTENG 291. It’s satisfying to have these new concepts we learn in ENGSCI 211 be directly used in ELECTENG 291 for circuit analysis. However, we can’t forget the very best part of math modelling. Next year in part three, electrical and computer systems get a different math modelling course that contains ~no statistics~ (sorry Kevin, it isn’t you, it’s us).


SOFTENG 281: Object Oriented Programming

This course taught me a lot about programming (who would’ve guessed). We learnt about object oriented programming, which is a style of programming that emphasises using good coding practices (to put it in very crude terms). We coded in Java for the curious. The course starts slow and picks up speed as they often do, and by the end, you’ll have a majority of the class begging for an extension on the last assignment (granted!). We learned about some things like data structures and shortest path algorithms that don’t feel particularly relevant to electrical engineering, but the variation in content was welcome. There’s no exam which is pretty sweet, but don’t be fooled, that doesn’t mean it will be easy.

Overall, semester one is relatively the “chill” semester (it won’t feel like that during it, though). Savour the plentiful breaks between classes. We say goodbye to those in semester two.


Semester two

ELECTENG 209: Analogue and Digital Design

This course will be your entire life. Say goodbye to your loved ones and non-electrical/compsys friends for the semester; you will spend all your time in the lab. This course revolves around a single project of building a “Smart Energy monitor” (think something basic in the realm of a voltmeter). We work through circuit design, PCB design, and embedded software design. Don’t let the lack of an exam fool you on this one, we have 10 hours alone per week of classes/labs! Savour your time here though, you will learn so much if you’re open to it. This is THE defining course in part two that many say shapes what you’re most interested in subdiscipline-wise. It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding too.


ELECTENG 204: Electromagnetism

Electromagnetism. I was scared of this course merely by its name after NCEA physics, where I understood nearly nothing. But as in many university courses, it starts from the fundamentals and is taught in an easy to understand way. Or maybe we’ve just grown – here’s to now being older and apparently wiser. It’s an information dense course, and a hefty formula sheet supports this characterisation. Also, be prepared to raise your middle finger because the hand rules are back and here to stay. The labs are a real highlight of the course – or they would be if we weren’t in lockdown. Having completed the first lab in person, we finally got the chance to use oscilloscopes, though I guess we will have to savour that one and only experience for now. Surely you guys will have more luck.


ELECTENG 292: Electronics (technically an elective but shouldn’t be)

You see, I would adore this class if not for the fact that I mostly struggle to find the time for it. Diodes, transistors, opamps! All the good stuff! This class feels like yet another “fundamentals of electrical engineering” class because the concepts are so crucial to electrical engineering. It’s like the wild older brother of ELECTENG 291 (who would’ve guessed that 292 would extend 291). The rules are “bent” as we look more at these non-linear components. Technically this course is an elective choice, but I think if you chose one of the other papers (software papers, no shade intended), you’d be missing out on some pretty fundamental information as an electrical engineering student.


ENGGEN 204: Professional Skills and Communication

Ah, a class to learn about professional skills and communication. This class would probably benefit me more if a) I showed up to the lectures regularly and b) we weren’t in lockdown where normal human interactions go out the window. It’s about 90% group work so make of that what you will – but that’s the point. It’s a chance to learn how to collaborate more effectively, which is essential for engineers in industry.


Overall, semester two has relatively fewer deliverables – fewer weekly quizzes and more higher weighted assignments and tests, so it’s a double edged sword. In general, I would say that’s true about part two vs part one as well. Still, it’s been a good one so far. That’s all from me this time around. I’ll catch you guys in a little while and have a great one!


Note: the post image is not mine. Taken from the electeng 209 course website. If only we were able to do the practical part of the course right now….

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