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In California, do CSU or UC campuses have the better engineering program?

I would like to kick start a career in engineering, any suggestions of what to major in to make job hunting easier later on? Also what were your experience with California public school programs?

california engineering berkeley first-job degree major software-engineering

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Bryon’s Answer

At the software companies I've worked for, I've noticed that our recruiting teams tend to focus their on-campus recruiting efforts more on the UC campuses than the CSU ones. However, they also tended to focus on schools that are nearby, so San Francisco State might be a good choice if you're considering working in the SF Bay Area whereas UC Merced might be less desirable. That being said, I know a lot of good engineers who went to UCs and CSUs and no one seems to care where you went to college after your first job.

In terms of instruction, I'd expect that the undergraduate engineering programs are similar between the two institutions. If you intend to pursue a graduate degree, I suspect that the UC system may offer better research opportunities with more prominent professors.

Wherever you go, try to build a lot of relationships with other students and even professors. Having contacts within your industry of choice can be instrumental in unlocking opportunities as your career progresses.

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Peter’s Answer

From a reputation standpoint, the University of California is definitely considered to be the more prestigious institution, compared with the Cal State Universities. Of course individual Cal State U's may have good engineering would need to check into this. My experience with the UC San Diego was very good. However, the Lower Division courses tended to be quite large and held in large auditoriums. As a result, my best college experience did not occur until my Senior Year.

With regard to a good career potential, I can suggest at least two engineering disciplines: Civil Engineering and Computer Engineering.

Good Luck, Pete Sturtevant, PE

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Irene’s Answer

If you are asking from a job search perspective, you may want to consider UC first. I've been working in tech in the Bay Area and recruiters do look at grads from UC Berkeley all the time. Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical engineering is what Tech companies look for the most, in that order.

Irene recommends the following next steps:

Look up the company of your dreams and see what openings do they have. You'll get an idea of the job market.