Author Topic: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old  (Read 41442 times)

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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #75 on: April 29, 2012, 05:20:04 am »
Sure, some techs do have a formal education, at least in my country, in the form of an associates (2 year) degree.   I'm not arguing that techs don't know electronics, but rather someone with a BSEE has delved more in depth to the theory while a tech's education focuses more on the practical aspects.  Both techs and engineers are essential to making a working product.  But I will say that, at least in my experience, a degreed EE can easily learn a techs job, but most techs could not perform the engineers job.  Perhaps our disagreement stems from a different meaning of the term engineer vs. tech.  I think of engineers as a doctor and techs as nurses.

I haven't seen too many folks without a formal education inventing new modulation schemes, stretching the limits of RF design, developing more efficient signal processing algoriths, etc.  On the other hand, I can teach any monkey how to choose appropriate components and use of a soldering iron.  There are techs, and then there are the engineers.  And please don't get me started on the numerous jobs titled engineer that require no engineering ability whatsoever.

What really gripes me,is the continuous use of the term "without a formal education" to describe people who haven't been to University.

Let's get this straight once & for all.
Technicians,at least in the Australian meaning of the term, do have to have formal education in the field in which they work,in this case,Electronics.
The idea that any boss would "bring in someone off the street",who has no Electronics knowledge,& have them learn as they go on a "monkey see,monkey do" basis,is nonsense!
Experience by itself,without an underlying understanding of theory,will never produce a competent Technician.

Techs know how to solder,because it is one thing they do in their job.
They also know how to analyse circuits in order to find the location of a fault.
They know how to read spec sheets,& from their theoretical knowledge,& experience,can find replacements for obsolete or rare components.
When an unusual fault occurs,a good Tech doesn't just make a note : "In X piece of equipment,if Y happens,check A"
Instead,they look deeper,into the reasons for the fault,& will then be able to understand similar faults in quite different equipment.
Techs have to work with many different pieces of equipment,designed by different Engineers,& develop a feeling for what constitutes poor design,& what does not,whereas an Engineer may spend his whole working life in one Company,only being exposed to the,sometimes poor,design philosophy of that Company.

Engineers do delve deeper into theory,but that doesn't give them a licence to sneer,without having a full understanding of what Technicians do,out in the real world.

You still haven't quite got my point,in that to most people,& I would submit,to Educators,as well,
"without a formal education",would denote someone who has never been to school,& who is probably illiterate,or at best,reads at a 4th grade level.

All education,performed in a Primary or Secondary school,Technical training institution,or University is "formal" education,so how about using the term "Non-degree qualification",or something similar instead.

I have found over the years that  most EEs are fairly hopeless in performing a Tech's job,in particular,they lack the patience for troubleshooting.
Of course, very few EEs would take a Technician's job by choice,so most of the time that they are "part time Techs",they are also trying to be an Engineer at the same time,with several other jobs "on the back burner",which they want to get back to,hence the lack of patience.

No doubt an EE would successfully adapt in a short time if they were only doing a Tech's job,but they would find one large difference,in that Techs are almost always under time pressure from non-technical bosses,so face the mutually incompatible requirements of needing time to analyse problems,and the need to be fast.
I don't think many EEs would give up the greater intellectual freedom offered by their normal job to take on this role.
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #76 on: April 29, 2012, 05:35:07 am »
I completely agree with this.  Most EEs, including myself, would not willingly perform a techs job.  Which is one of the many reasons we need techs.  The job of a tech is entirely different, although related, to an EE's work.  Techs specialize in assembly, test, and troubleshooting.  The EE architects the circuit.  And yes, a more accurate term is non-degreed.

Sure, some techs do have a formal education, at least in my country, in the form of an associates (2 year) degree.   I'm not arguing that techs don't know electronics, but rather someone with a BSEE has delved more in depth to the theory while a tech's education focuses more on the practical aspects.  Both techs and engineers are essential to making a working product.  But I will say that, at least in my experience, a degreed EE can easily learn a techs job, but most techs could not perform the engineers job.  Perhaps our disagreement stems from a different meaning of the term engineer vs. tech.  I think of engineers as a doctor and techs as nurses.

I haven't seen too many folks without a formal education inventing new modulation schemes, stretching the limits of RF design, developing more efficient signal processing algoriths, etc.  On the other hand, I can teach any monkey how to choose appropriate components and use of a soldering iron.  There are techs, and then there are the engineers.  And please don't get me started on the numerous jobs titled engineer that require no engineering ability whatsoever.

What really gripes me,is the continuous use of the term "without a formal education" to describe people who haven't been to University.

Let's get this straight once & for all.
Technicians,at least in the Australian meaning of the term, do have to have formal education in the field in which they work,in this case,Electronics.
The idea that any boss would "bring in someone off the street",who has no Electronics knowledge,& have them learn as they go on a "monkey see,monkey do" basis,is nonsense!
Experience by itself,without an underlying understanding of theory,will never produce a competent Technician.

Techs know how to solder,because it is one thing they do in their job.
They also know how to analyse circuits in order to find the location of a fault.
They know how to read spec sheets,& from their theoretical knowledge,& experience,can find replacements for obsolete or rare components.
When an unusual fault occurs,a good Tech doesn't just make a note : "In X piece of equipment,if Y happens,check A"
Instead,they look deeper,into the reasons for the fault,& will then be able to understand similar faults in quite different equipment.
Techs have to work with many different pieces of equipment,designed by different Engineers,& develop a feeling for what constitutes poor design,& what does not,whereas an Engineer may spend his whole working life in one Company,only being exposed to the,sometimes poor,design philosophy of that Company.

Engineers do delve deeper into theory,but that doesn't give them a licence to sneer,without having a full understanding of what Technicians do,out in the real world.

You still haven't quite got my point,in that to most people,& I would submit,to Educators,as well,
"without a formal education",would denote someone who has never been to school,& who is probably illiterate,or at best,reads at a 4th grade level.

All education,performed in a Primary or Secondary school,Technical training institution,or University is "formal" education,so how about using the term "Non-degree qualification",or something similar instead.

I have found over the years that  most EEs are fairly hopeless in performing a Tech's job,in particular,they lack the patience for troubleshooting.
Of course, very few EEs would take a Technician's job by choice,so most of the time that they are "part time Techs",they are also trying to be an Engineer at the same time,with several other jobs "on the back burner",which they want to get back to,hence the lack of patience.

No doubt an EE would successfully adapt in a short time if they were only doing a Tech's job,but they would find one large difference,in that Techs are almost always under time pressure from non-technical bosses,so face the mutually incompatible requirements of needing time to analyse problems,and the need to be fast.
I don't think many EEs would give up the greater intellectual freedom offered by their normal job to take on this role.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 05:39:38 am by vxp036000 »
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #77 on: April 29, 2012, 06:37:17 am »
You can not be a good engineer if you do never troubleshoot your designs. How can you learn from your mistakes?  Troubleshooting gives you a deeper understanding of problem area's. There are aspects of designing that don't surface until you have to get the damn thing working.

That you use a tech to do your day to day soldering is fine, but don't be adverse to it if the tech has gone home and you have to handle the iron.
And don't claim things like 'techs could never understand the intricacies of a designs like us engineers'

Sometimes they know a lot about intricacies that the engineers haven't even thought or heard about...' i see that all too often. A couple of years ago we had early failures in an assembly. Turned out always the same capacitor. The comment of the tech : did you put that on the bottom layer ? Huh ? Whats that got to do with it. Well these are filmcaps. Wavesoldering schorches the edges and this causes the cap to fail. Pes caps should never be wave soldered.
The engineers had selected this cap for specific electrical reasons but were oblivious to the assembly restrictions. Yet, the same engineers had signed off the design for production...

There is more to engineering a product than sitting behind your desk and crunching some numbers, coming up with an idea. It's got to be realised. It's only a product when it can be reliably mass produced.... And that's why engineers need to go out in the lab , do the troubleshooting and talk to other people in the company.

And it's in everyones interest if they do it in an open atmosphere without downplaying or talking down to the tech guys. It'll get things moving along faster. Make the techs feel like they are part of the team. It's in your best interest. They bring valuable know-how and expertise to the table. And never,ever makes statements like 'you wouldn't understand, you're not an engineer with an eight year education like me'

That just pisses people off and is the fastest way to get you booted out of an organisation. Let your actions and deeds speak, not your paper on the wall.
Professional Electron Wrangler.
Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline Kremmen

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #78 on: April 29, 2012, 11:00:18 am »
When you are young and/or inexperienced the world is easy, and you basically know everything. The occasional cases where you are proven wrong appear unimportant.

Once you start studying a chosen field you come to realize there is a wider reality the existence of which you previously had no idea. Now you perhaps start thinking there are things you may not know after all. But after diligent study you master those things and the world appears to be in hand again (this cycle is of course effectively never-ending).

Having completed your studies you enter the wide world of practicing your profession only to find out something you only guessed at previously: That there is a difference with theory and practice and it is this: In theory, theory and practice are the same thing but in practice this is not the case. So now all of your painfully gained theoretical learning must be completed by seeing it done in practice. This will take some time or all of your life, depending on how wide is the application of you chosen profession. And none is wider than electronics.

What formal training in any area gives you is that it inserts the accumulated body of knowledge into you head, subject to your capacity of receiving it, and it provides a systematic reference framework in which to practice your profession. It usually does not give you practical manual skills or specific details of say a manufacturing process or similar. Those are the practice part that some professionals also must master.

As far as the output of a profession is concerned, in my mind it divides roughly in 3 parts.

1: Executing the established "production" processes, whatever those might be for the profession. For electronics they would concern running the manufacture and logistics and similar. There is a huge number of practical skills needed for that so i am not implying that it is in any sense simple or easy. If we exclude the design and setup of a manufacturing process which i consider to be under the next point, this part doesn't require engineering in the strict meaning of the word. (yes, wikipedia presents one definition including "operation with full cognizance of the design" and who am i to argue with that. But let's emphasize the word "design" also here).

2: Product design covering all of the various disciplines from mastering the theory of the subject domain to the rules of physical product construction. To me the previous example of incorrect manufacturing process is a shortcoming of skill in the area of production setup in the product lifecycle. As such it comes under the practical aspects of product design. However, this part is by far dominated by the understanding of the principles to apply in each phase of the product lifecycle. Those principles are the theory, including the practice which must have a foundation in theory for proper understanding, if you get my meaning.

3: Innovation either by superior innate qualities of an individual or hard work in a team. Inventing wholly new ideas is solidly based on mastering the existing theoretical knowledge on the highest levels plus an intangible element of "genius" of some kind. There are but few exceptions to this and even those exceptions tend to be found in the "early days".

Individuals can be found working in all of the above parts regardless of the formal training they have received. Generally however, you tend to find professional engineers in 2 and 3 since that is their chosen job. You _might_ find anyone there since brain activity is not controlled by obtaining a degree. Conversely it is the case that those who lack the foundation and framework knowledge won't be very useful for tasks where that is required. In itself it is not important how the knowledge was aquired, whether by formal training or practice, but it is rare to gain theoretical understanding through practice.
So as in all things natural, there is a gaussian distribution or bell curve working here: most individuals tend to gravitate towards a position where their skills are matched by the demands of their job. You might find a technician doing a professional engineer's job, there is no law against that, and you might find the opposite as well. Normally you won't though because the demands of the job require different skills and different training.

Today large scale product development is a strict discipline with its established lifecycle models and best practices. Those may be ignored in small workshops but never in a world class operation.
A case in point: much is made here of an engineer's skill in soldering and covering for an absent technician or whatever the case was. Now i don't think this is quite relevant except in a small workshop where everybody is heavily involved in the complete operation. Personally, i will take on anyone as far as classical and hot air rework soldering, brazing, welding (stick, MIG, TIG), gluing, riveting or the like is concerned. Been there, done it and still doing it. But in my entire working career my personal soldering skills never entered the equation in any form as a way of quality control in the manufacturing processes of my employers. Instead i needed to understand how various process variables affected the product quality and that understanding was based on the theory (and yes, practice) of the processes involved. The practical aspect took the form of a QA lab that prepared the relevant samples for evaluation, again applying the principles of that discipline. So, there is a life cycle from product idea to running manufacture and things like quality control and proper processes are part of that. And that definitely is engineering and in my opinion best left to engineers. They were trained to do it.

Regarding troubleshooting there are the concepts of design in the small and design in the large. "Troubleshooting" in these design domains are 2 different things. Small scale troubleshooting may indeed be hands-on problem finding after the fact. It happens but for me it is a failure to apply sound design and implementation principles and is to be avoided in the large scale. To illustrate: why did your design fail to work? Did you design it sloppily so that it didn't work even in principle? Then why bother to assemble it in the first place (and who authorized the assembly if the success of the preceding design phases was not properly shown and documented?)? Couldn't you at least simulate it to debug the solution before prototyping? Or did you assemble it wrong or in a way that introduced unwanted side effects that prevented proper operation? Why bother doing that when you should know better?
OK, i know that it is not this simple, but the above are hallmarks of hobby level lack of application of design principles, not something that is done by a professional practitioner or organization. Certainly a new product needs to be prototyped as part of the quality assurance process but not to "see if it works".
If you find yourself constantly troubleshooting then you have failed to learn from your errors and what is more worrying, fail to apply sound design principles. Neither is a good indicator for career longevity in a professional practitioner.

My point? None really. Just too much time to ventilate a topic already discussed into the ground...
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 02:32:52 pm by Kremmen »
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Offline FJV

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #79 on: April 29, 2012, 03:10:04 pm »
Take for instance teaching multiplication (arithmetic). There are at least 3 methods of multiplying 2 numbers, yet only one method is taught.

And that in itself is wrong. One should not be teaching methods, but meaning. What does multiplication mean? How do we understand what we are doing when we multiply two numbers together? It is not just an exercise in following a prescription. It is purposeful activity with value behind it. Once we "get" what is going on, we can discover our own methods for doing it.

This video is relevant:

http://youtu.be/a-e8fzqv3CE

More stuff that also isn't taught. The meaning of 0 in a numeral system would be another example.

Still means that education as taught today is not as good as it could be and that yough people are short changed on this.

Of course this has been going on for decades.






 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #80 on: April 29, 2012, 03:47:34 pm »
This is an excellent summary.  Category 1 is dominated by techs and probably best left to techs.  Category 2 is dominated by EE's holding a graduate degree.  Category 3 is hard to characterize, but let's just say that the best of the best may be classified as such.


As far as the output of a profession is concerned, in my mind it divides roughly in 3 parts.

1: Executing the established "production" processes, whatever those might be for the profession. For electronics they would concern running the manufacture and logistics and similar. There is a huge number of practical skills needed for that so i am not implying that it is in any sense simple or easy. If we exclude the design and setup of a manufacturing process which i consider to be under the next point, this part doesn't require engineering in the strict meaning of the word. (yes, wikipedia presents one definition including "operation with full cognizance of the design" and who am i to argue with that. But let's emphasize the word "design" also here).

2: Product design covering all of the various disciplines from mastering the theory of the subject domain to the rules of physical product construction. To me the previous example of incorrect manufacturing process is a shortcoming of skill in the area of production setup in the product lifecycle. As such it comes under the practical aspects of product design. However, this part is by far dominated by the understanding of the principles to apply in each phase of the product lifecycle. Those principles are the theory, including the practice which must have a foundation in theory for proper understanding, if you get my meaning.

3: Innovation either by superior innate qualities of an individual or hard work in a team. Inventing wholly new ideas is solidly based on mastering the existing theoretical knowledge on the highest levels plus an intangible element of "genius" of some kind. There are but few exceptions to this and even those exceptions tend to be found in the "early days".
 

Offline djsb

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #81 on: April 29, 2012, 04:23:45 pm »
What about technicians like me who teach design students in electronics. How would that role be categorized? Some of the derogatory attitudes I've heard on this thread get me angry and upset. If a student (or colleague) came into my lab with the same attitude I would ask them to leave as I could not work with such a person.
I learn just as much from the students as they learn from me. The same goes for the academics I work with. Everyone learns something new every day. Having the attitude that technicians are in some way inferior to engineers is just plain ignorant.
Try walking into one of the machine workshops where I work with a know it all I'm better than you attitude and see how far it gets you.
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Offline Kremmen

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #82 on: April 29, 2012, 07:17:52 pm »
What about technicians like me who teach design students in electronics. How would that role be categorized?
Teacher? Instructor? Lecturer? Where i come from all of those terms are in use. Actually, to be a "qualified teacher" here, you need a university degree in education, even teaching the kids in elementary school. For that reason we have lots of "unqualified teachers" who are no less successful but fall into roughly the same category where you may find yourself. Actually, i would be there as well since i have no degree in education.
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Some of the derogatory attitudes I've heard on this thread get me angry and upset. If a student (or colleague) came into my lab with the same attitude I would ask them to leave as I could not work with such a person.

For some reason the concept of "engineer" seems to be very vague in the English speaking world (could be just me though). Here, if you call yourself an engineer it automatically means you have the degree. We don't seem to have the self-styled "engineers" who need to prove their superiority to this and that other group. I find me asking myself if that may be the case where you come from. I refuse to enter the discussion who is better than someone else. In my view technicians' and engineers' skills are different sets that intersect, but only slightly. "Better" does not enter the argument, for me at least.
Also the arrogance of youth is an ill that time heals. Or then the school of hard knocks in bad cases. It is of course a well known fact that kids and the recently graduated know it all.
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I learn just as much from the students as they learn from me. The same goes for the academics I work with. Everyone learns something new every day. Having the attitude that technicians are in some way inferior to engineers is just plain ignorant.
Try walking into one of the machine workshops where I work with a know it all I'm better than you attitude and see how far it gets you.
I used to have a summer job in a machine shop. Got my hands well oiled but also learned to respect the "ordinary joes" with no titles but vast amounts of practical knowledge that was needed to keep the operation going.
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Offline jerry507

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #83 on: April 30, 2012, 05:30:38 am »
This entire discussion is essentially a "whose dick is bigger" contest between a relatively fresh out of school engineer who needs to make himself feel he got what he paid for and a bunch of people who didn't finish school and don't want to feel inferior.

At least anywhere that I have worked, a technician typically isn't doing design work directly (though they are definitely part of the feedback loop) but work on much more specific tasks. They often have incredibly good "gut" insticts, but can't run through design formulas. I would typically classify them move on the side of production (or support) than the design phase.

But the real truth is, these terms are very fluid and vary hugely depending on where you are, your sub-industry and a specific person. A technician (I think) will almost always be more task specific and designed to offload certain tasks from others and gain proficiency with it. Hell, you can find a lot of "test engineers" which are largely employed in the US as salaried techs who aren't unionized and don't get overtime. How is that to ruin the ego of that degree toting kid straight from school?

I agree with everyone else though, if you can't build up a project entirely by yourself then you're not a good electronics engineer. No part of that process is "below" an engineer.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #84 on: April 30, 2012, 11:26:59 am »
This entire discussion is essentially a "whose dick is bigger" contest between a relatively fresh out of school engineer who needs to make himself feel he got what he paid for and a bunch of people who didn't finish school and don't want to feel inferior.

At least anywhere that I have worked, a technician typically isn't doing design work directly (though they are definitely part of the feedback loop) but work on much more specific tasks. They often have incredibly good "gut" insticts, but can't run through design formulas. I would typically classify them move on the side of production (or support) than the design phase.

But the real truth is, these terms are very fluid and vary hugely depending on where you are, your sub-industry and a specific person. A technician (I think) will almost always be more task specific and designed to offload certain tasks  from others and gain proficiency with it. Hell, you can find a lot of "test engineers" which are largely employed in the US as salaried techs who aren't unionized and don't get overtime. How is that to ruin the ego of that degree toting kid straight from school?

I agree with everyone else though, if you can't build up a project entirely by yourself then you're not a good electronics engineer. No part of that process is "below" an engineer.

"a bunch of people who didn't finish school" ----Ouch! And I thought "without a formal education",was objectionable!

One point I would like to make,is that many,probably the majority of EEs & Technicians do not work in Design & Production situations,but out in the real world where they have to deal with whatever Design & production standards their suppliers maintain.
My admittedly, limited,experience of production,is that the Techs are not of the same level of expertise as those out in  other parts of the workforce,because there is little incentive to develop better skills or knowledge.

In fact,in the place where I worked,there was a positive "disincentive" to do so,with problems which would be sorted out at the Technician level everywhere else I had been,being labelled "Engineering decisions" & duckshoved off to the poor old Engineer.
By & large,a "Tech" ended up doing the same sort of stuff as an "Assembler",but got paid a bit more.
I had heard derogatory remarks,such as "Production is at the bottom end of the foodchain!",but didn't believe it till I worked at this place!

A "Tech" working in other places cannot be "more task specific and designed to offload certain tasks from others
(do I hear "their betters"?) and gain proficiency with it",as he/she may be confronted by multiple tasks of varying degrees of complexity,for which the likelihood of "Engineering backup" is slight.( a common situation could be that the nearest Engineer is 1000km away).
If you don't have the technical knowledge,you'd better get it from somewhere,because, sure as hell,the Boss isn't going to fly an Engineer to the other end of the State just to get your arse out of a sling!

 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #85 on: April 30, 2012, 03:22:41 pm »
At least anywhere that I have worked, a technician typically isn't doing design work directly
Hmm maybe we need to take a look at the definition of 'tech'. your post made me think ...

A tech for me (a tech working in a product development environment. i'm not talking a repairman , field installer or production floor tech ... ) is someone who verifies the operation of a design. he has a solid understanding of what the thing is supposed to do and how it should behave. he can work with all the test equipment and knows the limits of that equipment. if something is off-spec he can investigate , postulate a theory and check it out by changing component values. Things like : the loop is unstable , we need to limit bandwidth or we need more gain he can solve by himself. He is capable of troubleshooting a chunk of code running on a CPU. he may not understand the full algorithm but he should be able to isolate the block where it goes wrong. he is also proficient enough to be able to build test jigs: little boards with cpu or fpga where he designs some code that will assist him in the job of debugging the product.

We (where i work) typically employ fresh out of school people that have a strong hobby background (these guys love to tinker with all the shiny stuff in the lab and can coax things out of them you could not imagine... )  for this. they will spend a few years learning the technology in a hands-on fashion. Their 'output' is coupled back to the design engineering where the silicon is prodded on the simulator and adjusted. The 'design engineer' needs to work closely with his fleet of 'techs'. They are his hands, ears and eyes into the behavior of the design. The design engineer will define some new tests to verify the feedback delivered by the 'tech' and then thrundle off and work his magic. if things don't match up the design engineer must get off his desk and step in the lab. I don't expect the design engineer to know all the equipment or have the manual dexterity to plunk a probe needle on a wafer. The tech has more experience there. But, at a system level they are equal. The overlap is very large there.
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They often have incredibly good "gut" insticts, but can't run through design formulas.
the tech may not know how wide to define the gate of a mos for a given technology and standoff voltage , but he can tell you if you need more gain in your control loop. Now, that being said, the tech would be perfectly capable of defining this width. all he has to do is look up the formula and be tought a couple of things about silicon design. It is not a matter of 'smart' , 'whose more intelligent'. it is a matter of 'field of knowledge'. the silicon designer can rattle off all the equations and limiting factors to define the transisotr. the tech knows how to hook it up to the curve tracer and check if the designer got it right .... and he will tell the designer : you need a wider gate because it blew up at 40 volts and we need 50 volts... how much wider : you calculate it. that's your work.

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I agree with everyone else though, if you can't build up a project entirely by yourself then you're not a good electronics engineer. No part of that process is "below" an engineer.
And that's it : most of the time it is an 'attitude' problem. Look at me i'm an egineer. you techs are just lowly worms that didn't even finish school... you aren't even worthy to kiss the dirt i walk on. i call that the 'herr doctor' syndrome...
I'd rather take a strong hobbyist that can build things with cpus and fpga's on board than a freshly minted engineer. my time to market will be shorter. I have seen too many freshly minted engineers make absurd mistakes... (like not knowing what the current limit knob on a power supply was for... he had cooked half of the prototypes before we caught him...)

here's a thigh slapper: 'herr analog designer' rifles through parts cabinet... comes to me and ask : how do you tell what is what ? huh ? what do you mean. well all these small components have no marking ( SMD parts). So i point him at the label on the boxes. and i jokingly add the resistors are in farads and the capacitors in ohm ( yeah , on purpose ) ... and he walked off with his 100 ohm decoupling capacitor... this guy had 2 phd's... in what ?

We had another one that burned himself badly on a soldering iron. He was complaining about it to the boss. "this is not my job , i need a 'lab monkey' ( that is literally what he said) to do this work. i have not studied this long and hard to sit in a lab and change parts on a board."

For the next month or so i made sure to always have banana's around in the lab fridge. whenever he walked in i would go to the fridge , grab a banana , walk up to him , eat the banana and in a bugs bunny fashion ask him what's up doc ? I'd leave the banana peel in his wastebasket.
He left the company a few months later. the entire lab threw a big party. For a long time the soldering station on the bench had a plaque above it with the drawing of a soldering iron , a big red arrow and the text 'Hot End, do not touch'.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 03:26:21 pm by free_electron »
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Offline jerry507

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #86 on: April 30, 2012, 10:38:47 pm »

A "Tech" working in other places cannot be "more task specific and designed to offload certain tasks from others
(do I hear "their betters"?) and gain proficiency with it",as he/she may be confronted by multiple tasks of varying degrees of complexity,for which the likelihood of "Engineering backup" is slight.( a common situation could be that the nearest Engineer is 1000km away).

Yes, you do hear that. It's coming from inside your head. You're more concerned with comparing sizes with the OP and that's exactly what the first line of my post is pointing to. If you had bothered to read and understand my post you'd note the case of test engineers which points to the inverse case. A technician is a JOB title, same with engineering, in the united states. I left a lot of qualifiers in my post to highlight how little standardization there is in what a tech or an engineer is. I've never ran into a tech position that did design work, but Silicon Valley breaks many stereotypes that might apply much better in the rest of the country (or to even speak of the world).

We've had a couple of these posts about what engineers are, or aren't, and the only thing that ever really comes out of them is that everyone has seen the boundaries of tech and engineer vary a lot and there are always a bunch of tools on either side who don't really care about the original subject (which is always that we need more highly skilled people coming out of school) but just want to tell everyone that they didn't go to or finish university schooling but they're just as smart as everyone else and their university educated counterparts.

Not that good discussion doesn't end up coming out of these various threads, but this constant size comparison in

EVERY
SINGLE
ONE

gets old after a bit and drags down the forum as a whole.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #87 on: May 01, 2012, 01:17:54 am »
Quite apart from your phallic obsession,looking back,it all started to go downhill after your posting,(#45) & really took a dive after vxp036000's rather snippy comments a few posts down.

Do you seriously think that Techs wouldn't have risen to the bait of his "monkey" comment?

Most Technicians don't want Engineers to surrender one bit of their status,nor do we want their jobs,but it would be nice to be recognised as people with quite substantial expertise in our chosen field,& not to be belittled by a very small number of Engineers with feelings of superiority.

In some threads,we even have people with Postgraduate qualifications lording it over "mere" Bachelors of Engineering,so it's not just Engineers-v-Techs.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #88 on: May 01, 2012, 01:44:32 am »
it all started to go downhill after your posting,(#45) & really took a dive after vxp036000's rather snippy comments a few posts down.
The whole thread is a downhill spiral. Any Jackass that needs qualifications to prove his worth is a clown. End of! There is no question of the value of education and there is nothing within any learning that gives reason to create divisions from others. These threads should be buried at the earliest opportunity.

Any cock expecting to be treated as superior because they've attained a paper certificate is in for a metric ass load of disappointment! Respect is earned not granted! Attitudes like those shown from vxp036000 are deserving of no respect at all.
Eight year of college to learn to become a prat, not even quick on the uptake!

This thread needs a padlock, it has nothing to do with electronics or engineering!
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #89 on: May 01, 2012, 03:43:16 am »
Don't hold back Unc!,Say what you really think! ;D ;D

I must be getting mellow in my advanced age,though,just a few threads back,free_electron & I were locked in an extremely vigorous "gentlemanly discussion" about  switched 50 Ohm terminations on Oscilloscopes,& here we are
"double-teaming" vxp036000!
Maybe another time we may be agreeing with vxp036000 on some quite different matter.

I agree,though,this thread has probably had its day.
The problem is,we all keep posting stuff which the other people can't let go by,& the thing has developed a life of its own!
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #90 on: May 03, 2012, 09:38:02 pm »
I like how you never fail to prove my point.  Try talking like that to your superior and see where it takes you.  Someone who spent 8 years studying the field has shown far more dedication than you ever will.

it all started to go downhill after your posting,(#45) & really took a dive after vxp036000's rather snippy comments a few posts down.
The whole thread is a downhill spiral. Any Jackass that needs qualifications to prove his worth is a clown. End of! There is no question of the value of education and there is nothing within any learning that gives reason to create divisions from others. These threads should be buried at the earliest opportunity.

Any cock expecting to be treated as superior because they've attained a paper certificate is in for a metric ass load of disappointment! Respect is earned not granted! Attitudes like those shown from vxp036000 are deserving of no respect at all.
Eight year of college to learn to become a prat, not even quick on the uptake!

This thread needs a padlock, it has nothing to do with electronics or engineering!
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 09:50:37 pm by vxp036000 »
 

Offline pcbprototype

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #91 on: May 03, 2012, 10:13:59 pm »
I did not suggest that.but I suggest a graduate should have at least some ability and understanding on hand.
http://www.sinomicro.co.uk Low Cost PCB Prototype and manufacture
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #92 on: May 03, 2012, 10:18:41 pm »
I completely agree.  Some schools are good about this and others are not.  My school happened to be one of the better universities with respect to providing hands on experience.  Students had designed, built, and characterized numerous practical circuits by the time they graduated.  Everything from amplifiers, oscillators, filters, FPGA designs... you name it, we probably designed and built it.

I did not suggest that.but I suggest a graduate should have at least some ability and understanding on hand.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #93 on: May 03, 2012, 11:30:32 pm »
I like how you never fail to prove my point.
Which point is that, the point of baseless self importance?

 
Quote
Try talking like that to your superior and see where it takes you.
My superior? Surely you aren't under the misapprehension I am a salary slave like yourself? Only one superior in business that's the customer! I am top of the food chain at my workplace, that makes me the boss, not some superior being! If you wish to hang on to 19Th century workplace concepts that's your get up, but don't dare suggest other must subscribe to your nonsense!

Quote
  Someone who spent 8 years studying the field has shown far more dedication than you ever will.
Here's a hint for you, wash behind your ears daily! Because where your sticking that pencil head of yours, you're likely to end up a real mess.

You sir will remain perennially clueless! You have totally dismissed the attainment and positions achieved by others in this thread.

Is it jealousy that employer/customer recognition of their skills is worth more than a hat full of certificates? Is that what eats you up?

How dare you, deride the dedication of others, you sanctimonious jackass. You have no knowledge of what others have done to attain their employment and education at whatever level they have achieved.  You belief that the only valuable learning for a lifetime career is during a four to eight year period is the ignorant, self righteous grumbling of a career jackass.

Want some respect? Earn it! Show some great work you've done, solve some problems,  cooperate with and recognise the skills of others you interact with. Want to remain a jack ass? That's your prerogative, but frankly wave your degree at someone who gives a stuff, it's a piece of paper. Get a clue!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 01:16:06 am by Uncle Vernon »
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #94 on: May 03, 2012, 11:41:30 pm »
My school happened to be one of the better universities with respect to providing hands on experience.
And yet it appears one of the worst places for giving perspective and curbing attitude.  Although to be fair those attributes are likely more attributable to the attitudes of the few rather than the institution itself.

How many of the great works there have your name one them? Not many if any I'd bet! Going to the same place as great people doesn't make you great. You've attained the skills of a groupie, and have a certificate to prove it. Pardon me if I don't swoon, I'm busy running an engineering enterprise.
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #95 on: May 03, 2012, 11:52:50 pm »
Think what you may, but at the end of the day, the piece of paper has proven to be an invaluable marketing tool.  I don't know of too many degree-less folks retired with a healthy stream of income after a 15 year career. 

And yes, the degree-less tech still insists on making a sailor blush.  Maybe UV is an exception to many techs, but most degreed folks I have met can hold a rational debate without getting so bent out of shape.  College education is great for filtering out skills and attitudes.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 12:01:40 am by vxp036000 »
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #96 on: May 04, 2012, 12:17:03 am »

Think what you may
Quote
but at the end of the day, the piece of paper has proven to be an invaluable marketing tool.
Pomposity marketing a growth industry?

Quote
I don't know of
There's is your problem! You don't know much of anything! Remain ignorant, see if we care..........


Quote
too many degree-less folks retired with a healthy stream of income after a 15 year career.
You don't see too many  doing it with a piece of paper either. But you go on living your dream!


Quote
And yes, the degree-less tech still insists on making a sailor blush.
Which techs are these? If your referring to my good self you can use the term engineer.


Quote
Maybe UV is an exception
Indeed I am exceptional, so aremany of the techs, engineers, programmers and tradespeople I have and do work with. And along the way I've met more than the odd pretender and charlatan. Can you guess which list your on?

Quote
but most degreed folks I have met
again you attempt to restrict debate to your limited scope of experience.

Quote
without getting so bent out of shape.
Bent out of shape? Your the retard expecting the world to worship the ground you've carried your certificate over! It's not happening is it?

Quote
College education is great for filtering out skills and attitudes.
It placed you in the attitude queue, so you could be onto something. Please don't mind if I prefer those who favoured skill!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 01:15:01 am by Uncle Vernon »
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #97 on: May 04, 2012, 12:34:25 am »
Skill absolutely matters.  What you seem to be missing is that marketing beats skill every time.  Why do you think so many "clueless" MBAs end up running tech companies?  Because they know how to market themselves.

A lot of techs, and EEs fall into this boat, could not market the next best thing to sliced bread.  Skills identical, I'm going to hire the guy with the degree for the simple reason that he is more marketable and better qualified in the eyes of my customer.  Do I want a no-name tech guru working with my customer or the smooth talking EE with likely better technical skills from a big name university and the title to go with it? 

At the end of the day, appearance matters, especially when it comes to moving up the corporate ladder.  If you're content remaining strictly technical, all the more to you.  But, at least in my country, it severely limits your job security, pay grade, and employment options. 

At my company, EEs are a dime a dozen.  A tech couldn't even get their foot in the door.  But, strong social skills combined with technical ability make for a deadly combination.  And my company is not at all unusual in that respect. 

One more point: hiring managers in my country will never call someone an EE unless they hold the degree.  Someone who claims to be an EE without holding the degree will never be hired after the potential employer runs a background check.  In fact, it is outright misleading.  For the same reason that someone claiming to be a doctor without holding an MD (in my country, that is) is fraudulent.  And they can be prosecuted as such in court.  Maybe we should implement a similar system for EEs.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 12:48:49 am by vxp036000 »
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #98 on: May 04, 2012, 12:50:24 am »
At my company, EEs are a dime a dozen.
Your company? Don't you meen the company from which you draw a salary?

My company is my my company! Buck stops with me. All the certification, insurance, customer satisfaction, promotion my responsibility. End of the day only results buy the biscuits.

Quote
In fact, it is outright misleading.
Misleading? I'll reserve the term misleading for those substituting qualification for skill or ability. 
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #99 on: May 04, 2012, 12:57:10 am »
Ah, so now the masks fall off. You just admitted that all you are after is holding up a facade..... With a bunch of smooth talking paper waivers... Instead of people that now what they are doing , but dont have a blue ribbon...

Whats the name of that company you work for ? Just so i can mark in my little black book under 'do not use. Not to be trusted'
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