Author Topic: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old  (Read 40671 times)

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Offline DrGeoff

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #175 on: May 09, 2012, 12:53:52 am »

I think it is an absolute must. But also for the guys who are known as "tech"

One thing I like alot at MacDonalds (at least in my country) is that you start baking hamburgers. Don't care if you're a Marketing/Quality control/Manager with high degrees.

One question, I always asked when somebody wanted to work in our company (technicians), was:
What did you make/design/develop/disassemble/hack in your life, without anyone was asking for it? Just for yourself?
 
Nothing? Bwaaaa...

When I was studying EM Engineering, in every class of 20 persons there were only 1 or 2 guys that "did" something themselves. Tweak an RC plane, build an engine on a bycycle, run a php site,...
The rest, dissapointing, nothing at all. Ok, some of them werealready developing good sales skills...


Good points. One company I worked for out of university put all prospective engineers into the test/repair department for at least a year. There you became familiar with the company's products and software and learnt how to debug faults and repair and test circuit boards. In those days everything was hand soldered so you had to learn how to do that as well. This kind of experiance separated the useful from the not-so-uselful pretty quickly.
Was it really supposed to do that?
 

Online vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #176 on: May 09, 2012, 01:04:52 am »
... You know what I like about the engineering firms in my area?  No degree, no EE job.  ...
... The higher the degree, the more responsibility your given when you start out, not to mention the vast difference in pay grade.  Exactly how I would expect it to be.



You seem to me like someone who works best in government structures, or in large companies who have exactly the same structure as 20 years ago. A bit like the Chinese/Russian communist way of thinking, where a job is dictated to you.

But I'm glad for you, you're happy with it. As am I (with master degree) in my situation.

.

Funny,I worked for 24 years for a government utility,& never once,was a job dictated to me.
OK,we had things which had to be done,but were always allowed to use our own initiative.
After all,in an ongoing technical environment,a lot of things happen which cannot be dictated by the Manager/Commissar of your example.

In a further 10 years in the Private Sector,I had the same experience.
Largely,the Boss left you to do  your job without interference.

Ironically,the only place I worked, that approached the Soviet style,was quite a small  private enterprise,where the Techs were supposed to know nothing & to do as they were told.

If you showed initiative,or any other sign you had a functioning brain,you became something like "An Enemy of the State"!
If they could have afforded a "Gulag" they would have had one!
They sacked me because I dared to think,& then asked me to stay on for a while.
Like an idiot,I did---well,jobs for Old Farts  were a bit thinly spread.
After a while,they made me permanent!
I struggled on for a year or so,but I'd "had a gutfull" & finally left!
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Hm
« Reply #177 on: May 09, 2012, 02:16:31 am »
This sums up why PMs need to at least have some technical background.  It also explains why most strictly technical folks would make horrible managers; geeks aren't exactly known for having great people skills.  More like, the opposite.

This is because the complexity of engineering problems and projects does not decrease. If anything, it only increases with the march of technology.

Good project management requires conceptual rather than absolute engineering knowledge. As stated above project management is a different skill set. It's a people skill, a good PM manages a team, he aids and feeds off his technical people. Some of the best PMs I've worked with were not technical people but were able to converse with and recognise engineering requirements. While there are always exceptions to the rule good engineers often make mediocre project managers being unable to separate best possible from financial reality. Equally I've seen PMs with no clue hoodwinked by engineers and accountants within their teams.

I often see the PMs role as one of stopping engineers and/or accountants from sending projects pear shaped.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Hm
« Reply #178 on: May 09, 2012, 05:55:37 am »
This sums up why PMs need to at least have some technical background.
No it doesn't! Quite the opposite, unless you consider common sense and people skills as a technical background. A good results based PM will know very quickly if his technical people are giving him poor feedback.

Quote
It also explains why most strictly technical folks would make horrible managers
Agreed including the good majority of qualified engineers. You need more than the cufflinks to make a good manager.  And just like with good engineers good managers can come from a variety of backgrounds.

Quote
geeks aren't exactly known for having great people skills
Conceited paper dependant engineers and other semi skilled space wasters aren't known for their table manners. Not much people skill derives from arrogance, pomposity and any misguided sense of self importance.

 

Offline FJV

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Re: Hm
« Reply #179 on: May 09, 2012, 04:59:26 pm »
This is because the complexity of engineering problems and projects does not decrease. If anything, it only increases with the march of technology. Consider for example, that a project to build a modern structure like a suspension bridge or skyscraper is far more complex to manage than to build a bridge or cathedral in medieval times. And the push to shorter schedules and lower costs only makes things more complex still.

Disagree, your are severely underestimating our ancestors. A gothic cathedral is a very complex thing to build actually.
Some techniques used for buildings in history are still used today for some of the most expensive high precision machines.

Also putting a man on the moon in 1969 also isn't exactly easy. Or let's say the development of the SR71 plane during the slide rule era. Or laying cable across the Atlantic. Also suspension bridges were build before the widespread use of computers. Or how the Chinese were able to rule a vast empire for centuries without such software.

When looking at the past, everybody always seem to think people were stupid and mindless brutes, when in fact some were pretty smart.

There is a lot of management out there that is simply not necessary in my opinion. Yes, you need managers. No you don't need so many. No, lack of a technical background does not make it impossible for someone to be a good manager. And with the advances in software a manager should be able to do more than in the past.




 

Offline IanB

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Re: Hm
« Reply #180 on: May 09, 2012, 08:53:55 pm »
Disagree, your are severely underestimating our ancestors. A gothic cathedral is a very complex thing to build actually.
Some techniques used for buildings in history are still used today for some of the most expensive high precision machines.

When looking at the past, everybody always seem to think people were stupid and mindless brutes, when in fact some were pretty smart.

I think you misunderstand my point. I said the project today is a more complex thing to manage.

When they were building cathedrals they were not working with compressed schedules and just-in-time procurement. Cathedrals took decades to complete, at a rate limited by the supply of funds.  I don't think there were penalty clauses for being six months late on delivery when the completion date was open ended.

The number of systems in a cathedral is far smaller than the number of systems in modern big building. A modern project manager has far more balls to juggle. Many more pieces to interleave and vendors to manage and contractors to deal with.

The regulatory climate was totally different. There were no environmental impact reports, safety cases, planning inquiries, fair competition rules, complex financial instruments and all of our other modern bullshit to deal with.

So, please, don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say people in the past weren't as smart as people today. But I definitely think that today's project manager has more to manage. Evidence the number of projects today that go pear shaped.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline FJV

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #181 on: May 10, 2012, 07:08:09 pm »
Don't think we're gonna agree on this one.
Reason one is: I am quite stubborn. ;D
Reason two is: The thing which would lead to an agreement lies outside of what is possible on an internet forum. In other words we would probably agree within 5 minutes discussing this in person over a few beers.

Also this thread in my opinion is starting to feel out of place on a forum that should be about enjoying designing electronics.

For these reasons I'll end my participation in this thread and leave any further discussion for another time or place.

 

Offline cookie

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #182 on: September 01, 2012, 05:22:04 am »
If you look at the speed at wich new technologies are being developed, you can understand that in the same amount of time you go to college, you can not possibly see the same as 15 or 20 years ago. It will all be more shallow.

Learning the details of some technologies has shifted to your job location.

But what do companies expect from graduates? Too much if you ask me.

The system is broken on two sides.
You can't really make the time a student spends in college much longer. As a member of the community you need to produce, otherwise the costs will run too high. On the other hand, there isn't enough time to learn everything. So, you'll see more fine tuned degrees where someone only nows a certain part, not the big part. Companies need to understand this and offer on the job training (which in some cases can be very expensive for those companies unfortunatly).

Something as simple as learning how to solder or use a multimeter is always on the top of the list to scratch for other "more important" stuff. Which is a shame. And that is why I like the idea of the maker communities where students can learn practical skills.
I cant't agree more.....
 


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