Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

software to dsp work

My background is totally in software, I don't know much about FFT and various transforms to do DSP work.If I want to change fields, should I get a masters in computer engineering?
How difficult is it to pick up filtering and FFT's?

Saturday, February 22, 2003

>> If I want to change fields, should I get a masters in computer engineering?
>> How difficult is it to pick up filtering and FFT's?

Fast fourier transforms are just one specific method out of many of signal processing, so that's the area you're really asking about. "How difficult?": signal processing has traditionally been taught in EE programs and is calculus and differential equation heavy. If you like calculus you'll do well in signal processing; if you don't you won't.

I don't know what the career path is exactly like for a programmer who wants to work with signal processing, but my guess is that an additional degree (such a master's in EE) would basically prepare you for an entry level development job in a company that has use for signal processing skills. Think military, avionics and DOD applications, and applications such as radar, not consumer level stuff, since the latter moved offshore years ago.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, February 22, 2003

I'm a recent comp sci grad who has recently been doing DSP development for TI and TriMedia DSP's.  The kind of education you'd want really depends on the field where you're going to use the DSP (audio, video, general number-crunching, etc).  You'll want some kind of training/literature that compliments the area where you want to get involved.

Consumer-grade DSP stuff is pretty rare in the US anymore.  There is a huge market for military/industrial DSP work, though.

I really suggest you check out TI's web site.  A large portion of their website is dedicated to teaching people how to develop DSP applications.  Analog Devices is another good place to look.

Myron Semack
Saturday, February 22, 2003

I suggest R.W. Hamming's "Digital Filters".  A very intense intro to sampled systems and filters.  Do not expect a light read, although the book is barely over 100 pages.  Prerequisite is understanding complex variables.  The linear algebra and probability (noise analysis) required is handled in the book.

It contains no code examples.  It is not a "howto' book.  Just pure practical math.  If you don't think that math is practical, find something else - not filters.

Nat Ersoz
Saturday, February 22, 2003

I am also a recent grad, but did very little coursework pertaining to FFT's etc. My Math is pretty strong.I was working with computational geometry in my last job, so it won't be a problem.My question is how to find an entry level job in the field? do I need an MS in EE? Can somebody be self taught, though I doubt it.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

I have no Master's degree.  I'm sure it's not required, but it can't hurt.  My company has been making single board computers for years, and we've been recently expanding our DSP product lineup.  I just happened to be one of the software guys, and so I got moved over to DSP work.

If you want to get a job doing DSP work, look for a good embedded systems company that focuses on the industrial/military/COTS market.  There are a lot of embedded companies looking to break into DSP.

The thing to remember about DSPs is that they're used in all kinds of different applications: Audio, video, radio, avionics, automotive, cell phones, data aquisiton, etc.  What kind of training, and how much, depends on the application you want to speicalize in.

Myron Semack
Sunday, February 23, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home