I’m Back! Big updates & what’s new moving forward.

Hey there, hopefully, you still remember who I am haha. It’s been a while 😅, by a while I mean over 2 years. I have received many emails and comments asking where the blogs have been or if I had quit for good. In this post, I will briefly go over some updates since my last post and some upcoming exciting news.

March – April 2020

My 2nd year of ECE was going amazing at the start of semester one. One thing I was terrified about was the second semester. The second semester in ECE was rumored to be one of the hardest semesters at UofT Engineering. After completing it, I can confirm that it was absolute hell.

The second semester included the following courses:

  • ECE231 – Introductory Electronics
  • ECE216 – Signals and Systems
  • ECE221 – Electric and Magnetic Fields
  • ECE297 – Communication and Design
  • ECE243 – Computer Organization

The overall expected workload looked like this. Unlike in other semesters where students have to worry about the difficulty of the amount of content, in second year ECE, they decided to just combine these two together. Here is my second semester schedule for those who are curious:

Luckily my section did not have the 9am start days unlike the other sections.

ECE231 – Introductory Electronics

This course introduces electronic circuits using operational amplifiers, diodes, and transistors. It is the third of the three-course sequence, ECE110-ECE212-ECE231, designed to provide ECE students with a foundation for circuit analysis and electronics.

Many upper years failed this course which basically scared everyone entering into course. The year before us had a midterm average in the 30s and that basically resulted in many upper years retaking the course with us. Luckily, I somehow passed the midterm and the final. In addition, the curve saved my butt.

This course IS difficult, and it provides plenty of concepts to study. However, it is mandatory for those who are planning to study area 3 in their third and fourth years. To survive this course, I tried to understand the concepts first before I solved the questions. It’s pretty easy to fall behind in this course, especially if you hate circuits.

ECE216 – Signals and Systems

This was one of the easier courses in the second semester. The only problem was that the midterms were literally one hour long, so if you realized you made a mistake earlier in the question, rest in peace to your grade.

This course introduces signal processing and systems analysis. You will learn the fundamental mathematics needed to formulate and solve problems in these areas.

ECE221 – Electric and Magnetic Fields

In addition to ECE231, this is the hardest course of second year. This course is aimed at providing students with the ability to understand the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism and their relation to some of their most exciting current applications.

I can tell you that this is not a fun course. Luckily, I did pretty well in Calculus 3 which sort of helped me with the concepts in this course.

It is highly recommended to attend lectures! Please do not underestimate this course even if you have a good understanding of the electromagnetic field part of ECE110.

ECE297 – Communication and Design

This course involves designing and completing a large software project in a team and communicating effectively with both technical supervisors and less technical clients. The project in teams of 3 is basically creating a Google Maps Geographic Information System (GIS) that allows one to visualize and solve travel and optimization problems in maps of any city in the world.

We had to solve the following issues with our map:

  • Read in a database of all the intersections and streets and other geographic features in a city and organize it into appropriate data structures.
  • Draw the resulting map nicely and allowed the user to interact (pan, zoom, highlight, search for locations, etc.) with it.
  • Find good travel routes between intersections in the city and give directions to a user.
  • Find a good order of deliveries and a good driving path for a courier company driver to complete his/her list of daily deliveries.

The workload in this course is pretty stressful. It starts off easy but gets difficult pretty quick. Luckily I had two great teammates. Oh and this course will probably make you pull some all-nighters right before the milestones are due.

ECE243 – Computer Organization

To be honest, this course isn’t that bad. Compared to the first semester where you had to work with Verilog, in this course, you will primarily work with assembly and C-programming. The purpose of this course is to teach you about processor architecture, machine instructions, assembly code, C code, memory and other topics. You will learn the fundamentals of how computers are being operated.

My partner and I worked on a project which encompassed the course concepts. We made a tic-tac-toe game made in assembly and C-programming. If you’re interested in seeing the project, click here.

Online Classes

Oh, I also cannot forget about the transition to online in the middle of the semester. I feel like transitioning to online learning definitely lowered the stress since I was at home with no commute time. I also got to have my own schedule since classes started being recorded. The transition to online classes also introduced CR/NCR (credit, no credit). Basically, we had the option to CR/NCR a course as long as we passed it. Doing this did not show the grade you got in the course but rather a “CR’ symbol.

May-August 2020

In the summer of 2020, I began working at Manulife. Here is the post on how I got the job. I will be writing a post on my experiences there soon.

September 2020-April 2021

My entire 3rd year of school was online. I actually enjoyed it a lot since I was in the comfort of my own room and did not need to worry about commuting or needing to wake up extra early.

The main courses I took each semester were:

Semester One:

  • Probability and Applications
  • Algorithms and Data Structures
  • Operating Systems

Semester Two

  • Applications of Machine Learning
  • Computer Networks I
  • Engineering Economics

Honestly speaking, the courses weren’t too bad in terms of workload and complexity.

April 2021-Currently

During 3rd year, the hunt for a PEY Co-op placement began. I received an offer from SOTI Inc which I had accepted. I will be writing a post with details outlining everything.

Moving Forward

As I finish off my Co-op at SOTI and approach my final year at UofT Engineering, I hope to be posting as much as possible. I will still be answering questions via email or the comment section as much as I can.

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