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The DSP Family Tree: Grow Your Career
November 17, 2021

Table of Contents


I recall being an undergraduate and wondering to myself “why are all of these things I am learning useful?” and “how are they going to be applied?” It is hard to have perspective when you’re in the trenches of your undergraduate or graduate degree to know the importance of the material you are learning. I have produced a DSP Family Tree which is my opinion on how all of the different sub-fields of DSP interact and build on one another.

My hope is that the DSP Family Tree is useful in motivating yourself that the concepts you are studying or have studied are important and can be built into larger things. You might also think of this as a road map: you can start with a destination and figure out what you need to learn along your journey.

Looking for a better explanation for complex numbers and how they are applied to DSP? Check out my book, Foundations of Digital Signal Processing: Complex Numbers, available on Amazon now!

Check out these other blog posts:

The DSP Family Tree

The DSP Family Tree connects basic undergrad concepts to those used in graduate school and in industry
The DSP Family Tree connects basic undergrad concepts to those used in graduate school and in industry

You’ll notice the earlier topics are those taught in an undergraduate education such complex math, time invariant filters and linear algebra. Moving further down the tree can take years to fully master. Topics at the bottom (cyclostationarity, demodulation) are often studied in graduate school or under the mentorship of a seasoned engineer while in full time employement.

The DSP Family Tree is how I plan to develop future blog posts. From the image you’ll notice the initial path starts with complex numbers, which leads to complex sinusoids and then sampling and aliasing. (You’ll also notice that the following blog post should be on the DFT … stay tuned!)


The DSP Family Tree is the model for how I think about the relationships between different elements in DSP. In reality the world of DSP is more like a spiderweb with endless interconnections however I hope the simplified tree is useful in helping you build a roadmap for your studies, your career or even DSP and RF as a hobby.

Did I miss a connection? Is there an important sub-field of DSP that I missed? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

Check out these other blog posts:

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