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'[Way-OT] Engineering Education'
|> To this day, I have NEVER seen an engineer straight out of school do
Wow, that's an extreme point of view. Many can, but they usually
went to schools which require real lab work and or internships as
part of the program.
To get a strong grounding in the theory and physics and mathematics
underlying electronics, all in 4 years is hard. Most engineering
curricula try to be very broad (and this is required by accreditation
boards, by the way).
But it is critical to leave room in those credit hours for real lab
work. Every Engineering grad should know how to solder a simple
op-amp prototype (or the equivalent) together, and know the resistor
color code, and know that electolytic caps are polarized.
Those with B.S. degrees who never learned these things are NOT
valuable even as junior engineers until they do. They might not need
to solder ever again in their professional life, but the incidental
learning of actually building SOMETHING is a hugely valuable
grounding (pun intended) for all the theoretical work.
I understand the need to specialize. But not at the expense of
SOME practical experience.
Although most schools have a broad "shallow" course of study for
undergrads, most schools often have at least one area where they can
go "deep" as well, usually becuase on one or two particular
professors who are doing that work. Its critical to know that this
emphasis is very real and is also informal. At any particular
school, you have opportunities to go "deep" into an area based on
what the real expertise is on the faculty.
So if you are picking a school, first try to satisfy yourself
that the broad theoretical topics are taught adequately. Then go
ask all the professors what they are doing for research and
consulting, etc. (Which might not be what their Doctoral
dissertation was about.) Those are your opportunities for
specialization at that school. (Despite what any formal
documentation may say). If your interests lay elsewhere, you'll
have to go elsewhere to get real education in that area.
One advantage of a big school is that there is a wider field of
expertise to draw from.
Barry King, KA1NLH
NRG Systems "Measuring the Wind's Energy"
Hinesburg, Vermont, USA
"The witty saying has been deleted due to limited EPROM space"
> To get a strong grounding in the theory and physics and mathematics
> underlying electronics, all in 4 years is hard.
Heck it takes almost that long to get good at a specific job.
Barry King Claims That:
>But it is critical to leave room in those credit hours for real lab
>work. Every Engineering grad should know how to solder a simple
>op-amp prototype (or the equivalent) together, and know the resistor
>color code, and know that electolytic caps are polarized.
And this is exactly the problem I have with my university. I have one
more semester left before I graduate with my BSEE and I have yet to
solder anything as a part of my university education. We've had classes
in which we've breadboarded simple transistor, op-amp, MOSFET circuits,
and RLC network stuff, but we haven't done _anything_ along the lines of
tech work, such as soldering, board layout, or most importantly, part
selection. And, of course, we haven't even heard about embedded
processors, DSPs, or ASICs. I can't _believe_ I could go through a four
year electrical engineering degree without ever learning how to select a
part. Halleluja for my internship!
I think EE's should have at least a semester class in tech work such as
part selection, using test equipment, etc.
Arizona State University Party School, by the way.
> I think EE's should have at least a semester class in tech work such as
> part selection, using test equipment, etc.
> Arizona State University Party School, by the way.
> jason harris
And by the way, there is more than one type of capacitor.
I am enrolled in college this fall to start my electrical engineering
degree. I am currently an electronic tech with the Postal Service. Not
much satisfaction in it. I started studying microcontrollers for fun and
it all snowballed from there. The only line that I am familiar with is
the PIC line.
Anyway, I hope that the switch in careers will be as satisfying as doing
the hobby on my own.
Any tips from anyone that was/is in a similar situation?
You will need a large portion of patience. When I persued engineering, I
thought that I would be designing robots and computers in class. It was
nothing like that. You will spend every waking hour during your junior year
just trying to get the homework done. The great thing is that you have the
associates' knowledge of electronics, which many graduating engineers don't.
When it is all said and done, you get to work on the coolest stuff on the
planet (if you choose to). So when the clouds overhead are dark, have faith
that you will come out on the other end.
Joseph Rutsky wrote:
|I don't have any delusions of grandeur here. I know that starting out will be
"slow." I just want a job where I feel some job satisfaction. As it sits now,
I don't even feel like an ET anymore. I do all of the studying on my own to get
some feeling of accomplishment. I also take jobs repairing electronics of
different types in my spare time as well as doing artwork for cash.
All of the repair for th USPS is done to board level only, and any jobs that
lean toward having any skills seem to be passed out to people who can spread the
cr** to the bosses so that they look as if they know what they are talking
about. Alot of the ET's in my facility don't have any formal training or
experience. They just studied hard enough to pass the exam. Most of our work
leans toward the mechanical and calibration end of things and there is very
little troubleshooting to be done. If there is, you only have block diagrams
available and usually don't have enough info to get right to the problem. A lot
of it gets into being shotgun troubleshooting after a certain point (change this
card and see if it moves).
Well, enough of my ranting. Thanks for the reply - I am really looking forward
to starting school.
Chris Eddy wrote:
Sean H. Breheny
I will be a junior at Cornell this fall,and I have been an electronics
hobbyist for almost as long as I can remember,and seriously since 8th grade.
I have found the most frustrating thing to be the apparent lack of interest
in the hardware/software electronics hobbies among the EE students. There
are plenty of amateur PC programmers among them,but I have yet to meet
anyone who programs microcontrollers or builds anything in hardware,outside
of class/lab. Combine this lack of knowledge/experience with the small
amount of time devoted to practical electronics matters and I really wonder
how they can be good engineers. Well, they must learn a lot in their first
few years working <G>
It really is a shame because I do have some faith in formal education. I
have learned a great deal in my two years so far,but much of it has come
from trying to apply what I learned in class to my OWN projects. If they
only spent more time doing hands-on stuff which was grounded in the theory
we were currently learning so that it was demonstrated by what we built, I
think it would spark much more interest and give more satisfaction.
I have found that those of us who do know something about electronics from
before school need to swallow our pride and not argue when a prof tells us
to do something incorrect or unnecessary in lab. The few times it has
happened to me, I have usually said "yes" and then gone and done something
different. I do have to say,though,that there weren't wrong THAT often, nor
were they overly proud and were willing to admit they were wrong if they
realized it. It is also annoying,however,to be going over stuff you already
know for more than half the semester <G>.
Good luck in school,
At 10:51 AM 7/18/99 -0400, you wrote:
| Sean Breheny
| Amateur Radio Callsign: KA3YXM
| Electrical Engineering Student
Save lives, please look at http://www.all.org
Personal page: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/shb7
cornell.edu ICQ #: 3329174 shb7
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