I so wish that when I was at university in the late 1970s I'd paid more attention to the signla processing part and things like FFTs. As I recall, it was all analog back then -- I don't remember them talking about digital signal processing (of course I don;t remember a lot of things these days), but I wish I'd spent more time listening to the lecturers and lett time noodling on my own projects.
You make a good point I use FFT's a lot along with filters and signal processing. I keep meaning to write something on FFT's.
I did write a primer on basic digital filters which EE Times re printed I think not long ago. The interesting thing I thing is somethimes the concepts need to be explained simply for instance where does the sinc response come from....
I wish we had more practical exposure while doing the engineering course. Like make your own PCB, fabricate it assemble it, load the code and test it. It should be just part of the curriculum rather than a semester project.
Design for manufacturing is taught in many universities but I think the curriculum and instruction should be made by those who have had a good experience in manufacturing. Professionals working in the industry do make excellent adjunct professors to do this!
I remember in my first year we had a professional engineering foundation module which looked at PCB design manufacture and test. building simple digital and analogue circuits and even doing semi conductor manufacture in the on site fab ;)
I agree, while the accademic side is very important a few industry guest lectures from people in industry can really give students a great insights in to what their engineering careers will consist of.
Unfortunately, students can get a very clear idea what life will be like at most employers (especially large ones) by reading Dilbert.
For those companies that aren't Dilbert-like, probably the biggest rude awakening for new grads will be how much writing is required for good engineering. While it's been a while since I was in the "ed biz", I expect that engineering education still emphasizes solving math and logic problems in various forms, which gives students the idea that it's a great field for those who hate writing. But when you enter the real world, good engineering requires writing good specifications and descriptions of product and module functionality.