Kool Resources for GATE Electronics and Communication Engineering Examination

Well, this is a totally off the track article compared to the other software development articles published in this  blog.  Although I am more passionate about Software Development NOW but “Once Upon a time in Mumbai” I had a quite a bit of passion for Electronics and Communication Engineering (being an Industrial Electronics Undergraduate).

I prepared and appeared for GATE(Electronics and Communication Engineering) twice – the first time I could not know my score (since at that time, which was back in 2004-2005, they didn’t give you the score if you scored less than 75 percentile) and the 2nd time I scored a fair percentile but that was not good enough to get into IITs or IISc Bangalore (at that time, you needed atleast a score of 95 percentile to get into IITs and atleast a score of 99 percentile for IISc Bangalore). Although, there were(& still are) other good universities in India but somehow I took the decision then that if I am going to do Graduate  studies then it’s gonna be from IITs or IISc Bangalore else “nope”. Also doing a job in a software firm then seemed to be more lucrative compared to studies(“Earning” had overridden “Learning” – could see $s in my eyes just like Richie Rich – but then again with time understood the realms of Earning and Learning w.r.t College life and Job life – in College life you have to pay for Learning while in Job life you get paid for Learning).

Based on my long back preparation and some research(whenever I get a bit nostalgic about GATE and Electronics & Communication Engineering in general and that happens atleast once in a year, I do some random googling), mentioned below are some suggestions/resources as per the current GATE syllabus(as of this writing) for Electronics and Communication Engineering

1) Engineering Mathematics – To understand the concepts, I doubt that there is anything better than Engineering Mathematics and Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Ken Stroud. For practice problems one can refer, Higher Engineering Mathematics by B.S.Grewal. I wish I knew about these resources when I appeared for GATE(atleast when I appeared for the 2nd time) since this section was one of the main reasons for not enough GATE score, even when I appeared for the 2nd time.

2) NetworksFundamentals of Electric Circuits, Engineering Circuit Analysis, Circuit Theory : Analysis and Synthesis, Introduction to Electric Circuits, Linear Circuit Analysis, Valkenburg’s Network Analysis and  Introduction to Electrical Engineering are some good texts to understand the concepts. In-fact the last text mentioned touches almost all the breadths of Electrical, Electronics and Communication Engineering at a very introductory level providing some great real world examples.For problems, one can refer Allan’s Circuits Problems.

3) Electronic Devices – Although there are lots of resources in this area, but I think one should refer Principles of Semiconductor Devices and Fabrication Engineering at the Micro and Nano scale for this discipline.

4) Analog Circuits – Textbooks by Milman & Halkias and Taub & Schilling were(& still probably are) suggested in the university from which I undergraduated (& probably most of the other Indian universities suggest the same). But these textbooks did nothing more than confusing me more and more.I got enlightenment in this area after reading Microelectronics Circuits by Sedra Smith and Microelectronic Circuits and Devices by Mark N. Horenstein. Another good text (a bit advanced) in this area is CMOS Analog Circuit Design.

5) Digital Circuits – Microelectronics Circuits by Sedra Smith is helpful here as well. Other good resources are Fundamentals of Logic Design(having some of the most intriguing problems in Digital Design), Computer Arithmetic and  Microprocessor Architecture, Programming and Applications with the 8085. If you have interest in Microprocessors , Micro-controllers and the related area of Embedded Systems, you can refer  Micro-controllers and Microcomputers: Principles of Software and Hardware Engineering and Embedded Systems Courses by Jonathon W Valvano. Although not part of GATE syllabus as such but a related field to Digital Circuits(at a much high level) is Computer Architecture and Organization and if you have interest in this area, you can refer Principles of Computer Hardware and these superb suggestions. And anyone interested in VHDL in general, can refer Digital Systems Design Using VHDL.

6) Signals and SystemsLinear Systems and Signals by Lathi, Signals and Systems by Chen and Signals and Systems by Oppenheim et al(mind it, this is not an easy text but it’s mandatory) are some good resources to go for this toughie field. Signal Processing and Linear Systems again by Lathi is another good text in this area.Other texts which can be helpful as well in this area are Design of Analog Filters by Valkenburg  et al and Digital Signal Processing again by Chen.

7) Control Systems – Although there are lots of resources for this complex topic as suggested here but personally I think that Control Systems Engineering by Nagrath and Gopal, Design of Feedback Control Systems by Stefani et al, Process Control and Instrumentation by Johnson, the book by Ogata, Modern Control Systems Theory again by Gopal and Systems and Control by Zak are the ones to be read to understand the concepts in-depth.

8) Communication Systems – Again you will get an ocean of texts related to this real toughie field but I feel that Fundamentals of Communications Systems by Fitz, Modern Digital and Analog Communication Systems by Lathi, Principles of Digital Communications by Gallager should be the ones to be referred. A Communication Systems course in general needs knowledge of Probability,Statistics and Random Processes and for that one can refer this online text.You can also refer the suggestions by a real Communication Systems Engineer for doing practical work in Communication Systems.

9) Electromagnetics – I still can’t believe that I passed this most complex subject of Electronics and Communication Engineering in the first go during my College days(I passed with just the pass marks). This was the most dreaded subject in our times(& probably still is). In-fact this was the most important reason for me not getting an enough good GATE score even in the 2nd attempt(the 2nd most important reason being Engineering Mathematics). As far as suggestions for this most complex field of Electronics and Communication Engineering is concerned, if you want, you can go via the route suggested by the Amazon Reviewer  but I would personally suggest to go for Elements of Electromagnetics by Sadiku, for it’s lucid style.I wish I had known about this text in my college days or during my GATE preparation but I came to know about this text quite later after doing some googling . And by any chance if you are interested in doing research in Electromagnetics, you should go through this paper.

N.B. -> Alongwith the above mentioned texts one should also have the Schaum’s Series books handy(get a hold of the ones relevant to your discipline), since Schaum’s Series books are the ones which not only will help you like anything before the university exams but before competitive exams as well. Also the E-Learning Courses from the IITs and IISc  can be very helpful. Also visit the relevant courses from US universities like MIT, Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, Princeton University etc. And by the way, if you have a neck for Real World Practical Electronics stuffs in general, go for Practical Electronics for Inventors.

N.B. -> If one is looking for IIT JEE resources, then probably ASKIITians is  the best website to explore.Most suggestions for subjects for IIT JEE(atleast Maths and Physics) point you to some Russian origin book and to get a hold of most of the well known Russian books(translated to English language) visit Mir Titles. Again, Schaum’s Series texts are very helpful here as well.I did prepare for IIT JEE but did not appear for it for various weird reasons but that preparation helped me a lot in preparing for some courses in my College Freshmen and Sophomore days.

P.S. -> My only intent in writing this post(although totally out of track compared to the software development posts published in this blog) is to help interested candidates out there to get a good score in competitive exams like GATE or DRDO(by the way, DRDO seemed more tougher compared to GATE, atleast in my eyes – although all the questions were multiple choice questions but when I was trying to solve them, I felt like I was put into some combat to solve some research problem in most of the cases). And even if you are not able to crack any competitive exam, hopefully, the above mentioned resources (along-with some practical real world hands-on experience) will make you a better Electronics and Communication Engineer(which is more important) but that again is applicable if you really want to pursue a career in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

If anyone knows of any other good resource pertaining to GATE Electronics and Communication Engineering Exam (or any other Indian competitive Exam for the same discipline), then please leave a comment.

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