Author Topic: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old  (Read 41343 times)

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Offline PeteInTexas

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Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« on: December 30, 2011, 10:16:42 pm »
You guys love to go on and on about the "broken education system".  If you ask me, its students and employers that are broken 99.999% of the time by having completely unreasonable expectations from educational institutions.

One "broken" expectation is thinking university education is vocational/trade school.  NOT THE SAME THING.  Universities are about academics and trade schools are about hands on learn by doing kind of environment.  Both have merits but obviously both can't be done at the same time adequately in four years.

A good model for any kind of career path with the word engineering in it is perhaps medical school.  Four years of academics after a "medicine focused" undergraduate degree, some YEARS of residency at a "teaching hospital" and I think there is more after that before being able to go on and "practice medicine" on their own.  Not to mention frequent conferences and other continuing education stuff.

And employers really need to stop whining about how applicants do not have 100% of the skill set they are looking for right out of college.  This is unreasonable.  If they want the workforce they need they have to have buy in by providing training and "professional development" of their employees and not leach off tax payers to pay for it.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 10:26:04 pm »
We didn't complain about or bring it up this time, our guest did. Small sample size I know, but perhaps that tells you something?

And BTW, I don't think it's too much to ask that graduates after 4 years of learning electronics engineering, that they are able to solder, or use a multimeter, or understand how a scope works properly, or have some other basic real-world practical skills or knowledge.
No one wants 100%, just come basics would be fine.

Dave.
 

Offline PeteInTexas

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2011, 11:17:13 pm »
We didn't complain about or bring it up this time, our guest did. Small sample size I know, but perhaps that tells you something?

And BTW, I don't think it's too much to ask that graduates after 4 years of learning electronics engineering, that they are able to solder, or use a multimeter, or understand how a scope works properly, or have some other basic real-world practical skills or knowledge.
No one wants 100%, just come basics would be fine.

Dave.

I've listened to enough episodes to conclude its a favorite whipping topic.  You like to demand for more "practical experience" and Chris tries to straddle both academics and practice but is ultimately more or less bullied into agreeing with you (he is such a push over.  love how you give him a hard time about printable electronics in the garage).  And your guest, well, they tend to agree with you simply because they are all practitioners of electronics.

I don't think you have ever had a guest from the lofty ivory towers of academia.  How about trying that out one of these episodes?

I don't think any reputable educational institution are graduating students who don't know the basics of soldering and the basics of basic test instruments.  Of course, there is this proliferation of online degrees so who knows whats going on there.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2011, 11:46:30 pm »
You guys love to go on and on about the "broken education system".
They are not alone.

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If you ask me, its students and employers that are broken 99.999% of the time by having completely unreasonable expectations from educational institutions.
If education there to meet the expectations of students and the workplace then what the hell is it there for? Academia for it's own sake is fine and well, but screw taxpayer subsidisation of anything that does not directly benefit the community.

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One "broken" expectation is thinking university education is vocational/trade school.  NOT THE SAME THING.  Universities are about academics and trade schools are about hands on learn by doing kind of environment.  Both have merits but obviously both can't be done at the same time adequately in four years.
No the expectation of university is somewhat above a that from a trade school. None the less any graduate worth his degree should have at least attained basic skills. How can an individual expect to take part in design, development or reseach with less manual skills than a lab technician? Answer: They cannot!

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A good model for any kind of career path with the word engineering in it is perhaps medical school.
Good luck selling that to industry, government and potential students. Double the education cost, same crap salaries at the end of it. It's not going to happen.

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And employers really need to stop whining about how applicants do not have 100% of the skill set they are looking for right out of college.
Where did the 100% sneak in? We are talking basic skills. IE: knowing which end of a soldering iron is the hot bit? How to practically derate components etc.

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This is unreasonable.  If they want the workforce they need they have to have buy in by providing training and "professional development" of their employees and not leach off tax payers to pay for it.
But it's reasonable for taxes to subsidise education which does not equip the nations workforce? How is that reasonable? If you want Industry to contribute they have to see a reward. IE: graduates capable of doors without assistance.

Engineering is about practically implementing science, we would be better off with more cadet based approaches to tertiary education. Just like throughout entire careers, everything has a cost justification. What is the cost justification of an education that inadequately meets the demands of the workplace?
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 12:12:41 am by Uncle Vernon »
 

Offline 8086

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2011, 11:57:15 pm »
To be honest I have been very surprised at the lack of ability shown by students here. We had a practical lab session and the other two students I was working with couldn't even get their heads round the fact that we needed to set the power supply to 10v in order to get +/-5v on either side of 0v. They couldn't set the oscilloscope up, or the signal generator. They were no help when breadboarding the simple circuit either, they seemed unable to follow the schematic. They even had trouble using the bench multimeter! I also witnessed some shocking soldering from the same students. Literally beading solder onto the component leads with no fix to the board whatsoever.

And these people were about 2/3 of the way to a Batchelors in Electronics Engineering.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2011, 12:27:50 am »
I've listened to enough episodes to conclude its a favorite whipping topic.  You like to demand for more "practical experience" and Chris tries to straddle both academics and practice but is ultimately more or less bullied into agreeing with you (he is such a push over.  love how you give him a hard time about printable electronics in the garage). 

Yes, fun isn't it?, it's called "taking the piss" here in Australia, that's why we do it all the time.
Chris isn't bullied into anything, he's a big boy, he can take care of himself.

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And your guest, well, they tend to agree with you simply because they are all practitioners of electronics.

In the latest case, the guest bought up the topic and mentioned it.
Yes, we are practical industry electronics people, so naturally we see it from OUR perspective. And yes, many in the industry like us seem to see a general lack of practical skills in graduates, and yes, we find it pretty annoying. What is wrong with that?, we call it like we see it.

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I don't think you have ever had a guest from the lofty ivory towers of academia.  How about trying that out one of these episodes?

Sure. But off hand, I don't know of any that would be interesting to us personally.
It is generally not what interests us. I can only speak for myself of course.
If Chris wants to invite a pure academic on, that's fine by me.

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I don't think any reputable educational institution are graduating students who don't know the basics of soldering and the basics of basic test instruments.

I bet you'd be wrong. In fact, I know you are wrong, because I have interviewed and worked with many over the years, and yes, from very reputable well long established institutions.

Dave.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 01:57:44 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2011, 12:35:45 am »
No the expectation of university is somewhat above a that from a trade school. None the less any graduate worth his degree should have at least attained basic skills. How can an individual expect to take part in design, development or reseach with less skill manual skills than a lab technician? Answer: They cannot!

That doesn't add up. You start with talking about basic skills, then suddenly the skills have to be at least as good as the skills of lab technicians.  That's more than just basic skills.

I fully expect every experienced lab technician to beat me in manual skills and to be a good amount faster in them than I am. That's what they are paid for. I need to be able to clearly instruct them what they should to (talk the right language), to be able to follow what they do and to be able to judge if work done is good or bad. And of course I need to be able to do things without having to call a technician every five minutes for trivial things, and without making a fool of myself.

Design, development and research require other skills than having the same manual skills of a lab technician.
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Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2011, 01:44:39 am »
No the expectation of university is somewhat above a that from a trade school. None the less any graduate worth his degree should have at least attained basic skills. How can an individual expect to take part in design, development or reseach with less skill manual skills than a lab technician? Answer: They cannot!

That doesn't add up.
Yes it does!

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You start with talking about basic skills, then suddenly the skills have to be at least as good as the skills of lab technicians.  That's more than just basic skills.
I did not suggest that. However I did suggest a graduate should have at least some ability and understanding with the manual skills Lab techs need to perform.


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I fully expect every experienced lab technician to beat me in manual skills and to be a good amount faster in them than I am.
Why? Do you wish to remain a lesser skilled engineer.  I have no desire to become a welder (I don't even have bad BO), but I take a pride in my ability to do a decent weld. My experience makes it much easier to communicate with those I contract for welding work and to understand and utilise their expertise.

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That's what they are paid for.
Uh-huh. And what is a clueless engineer paid for?

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I need to be able to clearly instruct them what they should to (talk the right language), to be able to follow what they do and to be able to judge if work done is good or bad.
What's this? You have delusion of some ruling class? Lord Bored of Comfy Chair BEng?
Take you hand of it Trevor, that nonesense went out with button up boots and a world war.
What kind of pig arrogance says a good engineer can spit out good design without reference to others or an understanding of the skills involved?
Most of us like to design as a dictatorship, entirely reasonable, but only a absolute fools thinks they can do it well without input from others or an understanding of what others do. You can learn much from a foul smelling trades assistant, just as you can from some goat with a beard in a university.
What is it with graduates that has them believing that a degree is somehow the attainment of all knowledge?

I once returned to a job site to find our electrical apprentice had cut the bulbs of 20 new capillary thermostats and was proceeding to silver solder the bulbs back onto short stubs. Always up for a giggle I inquired why to which he handed me the consultant engineers site instruction to remove the coiled copper for aesthetics. Do you laugh or cry in dispair? Aesthetics, it was a mechanical plant room. The consultant left with the same dumb look he arrived with, still none the wiser.

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And of course I need to be able to do things without having to call a technician every five minutes for trivial things, and without making a fool of myself.
you do indeed!

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Design, development and research require other skills than having the same manual skills of a lab technician.
No argument there, However I'd suggest you cannot adequately design, develop or research without an understanding of the mechanical and practical skills required for implementation.

Engineering standards have very much gone downhill. At one time consultant engineers stood by their work, now all too often it is "best guess".  Once contractor drawings were checked and "approved", now they are "sighted", whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.  We a getting designs from engineers who can do an expert heat load, yet have no concept that 1000 Tons of chiller may take more that a few seconds to spin up.  Industry professionals with years of experience, skill and ability are kicking up about the ever diminishing standards of graduates and with good reason, industry is paying the bills.
 

Offline jimmc

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2011, 11:35:47 am »
Back in the 60s in the UK the Polytechnics used to run an Honours Degree course sponsored by the Council for National Academic Awards.
This took 4 years and alternated 6 months at the Polytechnic with 6 months in industry (commonly known as a sandwich course).
The industrial training was monitored and was counted as 'relevant experience' for joining the IEE.

A great way to gain practical experience in parallel with the academic side. (But then I may be a little biased.)

Jim
 

Offline tbscope

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2011, 12:17:55 pm »
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.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2011, 01:32:29 pm »
No the expectation of university is somewhat above a that from a trade school. None the less any graduate worth his degree should have at least attained basic skills. How can an individual expect to take part in design, development or reseach with less skill manual skills than a lab technician? Answer: They cannot!

That doesn't add up.
Yes it does!

No, it doesn't!

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I fully expect every experienced lab technician to beat me in manual skills and to be a good amount faster in them than I am.
Why?

Because they are good at what they do. At least the ones we have. They do things every day, while I do some things once a year or maybe even once every two years.

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Do you wish to remain a lesser skilled engineer.

No, but my time is limited, and I need to set priorities. Enhancing my engineering (design, planing, project management, research, organizing stuff, writing, communication, pacifying the boss, pacifying customers, understanding new technologies, understanding competitor's products, understanding and following all the legal rules and regulations imposed on our products, etc. pp.)  skills is of higher importance for me in my job than enhancing my manual skills.

I am not in a contest with lab technicians about who has the better manual skills. They have, and I respect that.

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That's what they are paid for.
Uh-huh. And what is a clueless engineer paid for?

Depends on your definition of clueless. I am paid for engineering, but not for my manual skills, except for not killing myself accidentally in the lab.

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I need to be able to clearly instruct them what they should to (talk the right language), to be able to follow what they do and to be able to judge if work done is good or bad.
What's this?

It is called division of labor. Introduced in the 19th century as part of what was called the industrial revolution. When the renaissance man went out of fashion and specialization became popular.

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You have delusion of some ruling class?

No, only an understanding how work at my employer, at previous employers and in our industry is organized.

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Lord Bored of Comfy Chair BEng?

Just someone who knows what his job is. And that involves more often sitting in all kinds of meetings (in rather uncomfortable chairs) and sitting in front of a PC, planing, designing and writing stuff than sitting at the lab bench.

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What kind of pig arrogance says a good engineer can spit out good design without reference to others or an understanding of the skills involved?

I didn't say I don't understand the skills involved, only that I don't have and don't need the manual skills of experienced lab technicians.

As for the rest, did you take your pills today?
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Offline gregariz

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2012, 01:44:48 am »
Back in the 60s in the UK the Polytechnics used to run an Honours Degree course sponsored by the Council for National Academic Awards.
This took 4 years and alternated 6 months at the Polytechnic with 6 months in industry (commonly known as a sandwich course).
The industrial training was monitored and was counted as 'relevant experience' for joining the IEE.

A great way to gain practical experience in parallel with the academic side. (But then I may be a little biased.)

Jim

They have sandwich programmes in most countries. In Australia, it was (maybe still is) at UTS in Sydney and maybe Swinburne in Melbourne. The main benefit if I recall corectly (at least in the early 90's recession period) was one of employability. Given a sandwich student and a non-sandwich student, most employers would choose the sandwich one simply for the added experience. But in a good market a student would need to extend their studies and from the earnings perspective alot of UTS students decided to just get it over with as quick as possible and take their chances inthe market.

I don't think it's too much to ask that graduates after 4 years of learning electronics engineering, that they are able to solder, or use a multimeter, or understand how a scope works properly, or have some other basic real-world practical skills or knowledge.
No one wants 100%, just come basics would be fine.

Dave.

I agree with you here Dave, I think the average Joe Public would too. The idea that an engineer cannot function in any practical sense is unacceptable. Most good engineers are quite good with their hands and would agree with you without doubt.

However - I think you make a mistake singling out just EE programs. Most Bachelors programmes that I ever had anything to do with had some kind of electronic workshop skills training in the first year. By the end of 3rd or 4th year however most of it has been forgotten as the rest of the programme is somewhat theoretical.

Having also done the 2 year tafe programme I can also tell you the same thing happens. Workshop training inthe first year, however the rest of the programme did include a topic or two in faultfinding and a slightly more practical bent however I can tell you from first hand experience there were also plenty of 2 year graduates who couldn't solder properly or handle test equipment.

Personally I could solder and use test equipment before I ever got to college - however this is the exception and Colleges and Universities do not have any practical entrance exams for engineering. Perhaps they should but they are struggling to keep student numbers up and governments want more not less engineers. Alternatively those who have no skills seem to be able to build them on the job - however this usually requires one to either be an engineering assistant for a long period or do an apprenticeship. There are some pretty capable people from this realm however I've never met one who could do any of the current 'standard' design engineering tasks that electronics firms require such as DSP / RF / Control systems design. They however can often get by modifying existing or copying other designs for most meat and potato electronics tasks. Does this make them engineers? Maybe - but I think the only practical way to deal with those few exceptions (I'm not sure if you are a grad or not?) is to have their skills assessed on a case by case basis. This, I believe is possible in the UK, and theoretically possible in Australia - they don't advertise the fact but they do similiar assessments all the time on foreign immigrants.


Yes, fun isn't it?, it's called "taking the piss" here in Australia, that's why we do it all the time.
Chris isn't bullied into anything, he's a big boy, he can take care of himself.


It's also called tall poppy syndrome - most prevalent in Australia but existing around the world to some extent. The danger as I see it and was clear from the thread on the engineering petition is about the low hanging fruit. You will always get crap engineers whatever the educational system, however the question is whether the crap is more abundant from the ranks of those who have dropped out or didnt go to uni, or from the ranks of those who did graduate. My preference is that the crap is less abundant from the graduate ranks. Admitting non-grads into the engineeering ranks on mass would IMO destroy whats left of the profession.


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A good model for any kind of career path with the word engineering in it is perhaps medical school.
Good luck selling that to industry, government and potential students. Double the education cost, same crap salaries at the end of it. It's not going to happen.

Engineering is about practically implementing science, we would be better off with more cadet based approaches to tertiary education. Just like throughout entire careers, everything has a cost justification. What is the cost justification of an education that inadequately meets the demands of the workplace?

You are absolutely right Vernon, the best engineers I've ever met worked their way up through the system (I'm biased hwever as this was what I did). I've always been in favour of a fully articulated engineering education consisting of Certificate (yr 1), Diploma (yr2), and Degree (yr3). I've never really been in favour of the 4 year degree, the way I see it there doesn't appear to be much different in my experience to UK engineers with a 3 yr or the old 3yr diploma grads to the 4 yr degree. Besides the 4th year has always been available as an honours or graduate programme. The difference seems to come from the grilling Uni's rather than colleges give one ie. After failing uni maths for the 3rd time alot drop out or get kicked out.

However as you point out its about wages. If engineering wages do not track levels higher than average degrees people wisely take an easier path such as business at uni's and then have access to 10x the job prospects for the same wages.

« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 02:28:28 am by gregariz »
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2012, 02:37:32 am »
When I was at university the capable students among my friends were geeks. Visit an EE and they would have in-progress projects spread across tables in their rooms with wire wrap and soldering irons aplenty. The mechanical engineers would strip down and rebuild cars in the workshop and tune them up in the process. It's tougher doing hands-on as a chemical engineer as chemical engineering tends to be industrial scale and its hard to do at home. But I do think engineers should be entering a degree course with some existing practical interest and ability, and learning the theory to back that up. Theory is just gobbledegook unless you can appreciate how it applies to the real world.

Should any student be accepted to an EE course as an undergraduate unless they already know how to use a soldering iron and build electronic projects? If not, where is the aptitude and demonstrated interest in the subject?
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2012, 06:44:12 am »
Should any student be accepted to an EE course as an undergraduate unless they already know how to use a soldering iron and build electronic projects? If not, where is the aptitude and demonstrated interest in the subject?

In my experience, the vast majority of students don't really give a shit about what they are studying. And this applies equally to both 4 year university programs, and lower level 2/3 year type technical courses.
They have little, if any genuine interest in it, it's just a course to pass for whatever reason it is they are doing it.
I think they should have special programs or classes for the genuinely interested people.

Dave.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2012, 06:56:29 am »
I think they should have special programs or classes for the genuinely interested people.
If I had my way those who are not, could be relocated to an entirely different planet.
 

Offline SgtRock

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2012, 07:13:18 am »
Greetings EEVBees:

--Happy New Year to all. I intend to hold forth on this topic after the Holiday Celebrations and Celebrators are out of the way. This post is by way of a bookmark to keep me current. More later. God Bless you all.

"Three weeks in the lab will save you a day in the library every time"
R. Stanley Williams 1951 -

Best Regards
Clear Ether
 

Offline SgtRock

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2012, 07:47:10 am »
Greetings EEVBees:

--And on an unrelated note; Am I mistaken or does our esteemed Australian curmudgeon UV bear a striking resemblance to the Yank; "Don Williams"; the American patron saint of gear jammers, hammer slammers, and wrench clenchers in the US of A.

"My baby said I was crazy, my momma called me lazy,
I was going to show 'em all this time...Livin' on Tulsa time."

Don Williams 1939 -

Best Regards
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« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 07:50:23 am by SgtRock »
 

Offline 8086

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2012, 01:51:01 pm »

In my experience, the vast majority of students don't really give a shit about what they are studying. And this applies equally to both 4 year university programs, and lower level 2/3 year type technical courses.
They have little, if any genuine interest in it, it's just a course to pass for whatever reason it is they are doing it.
I think they should have special programs or classes for the genuinely interested people.

Dave.

I agree, it would be nice to not have to "pick up the slack" so to speak, for those who just want a degree in something, anything will do, etc.

I know a few people who got onto engineering courses at the last minute and have absolutely no idea about any aspect of the course. They seem to go between subjects trying a bit of everything, and excelling at nothing, usually ending up doing IT/business something-or-other bullshit, but the system lets them scrape by, and by the end they can say they have a degree, even if it's only a 3rd or a pass, and if nobody asks any further questions, it appears to be exactly the same as a 1st.
 

Offline PeteInTexas

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2012, 08:20:30 am »
Engineering is about practically implementing science, we would be better off with more cadet based approaches to tertiary education. Just like throughout entire careers, everything has a cost justification. What is the cost justification of an education that inadequately meets the demands of the workplace?

How do you define "inadequately meets the demands of the workplace"?  Is it reasonable to expect recent grads just starting out in the fast and furious world of technology to be confident with any oscilloscope of arbitrary make and model at the interview?

Yes indeed engineering is about practically implementing science.  The education system covers the science part, theory and such because that is what they are good at and and industry is suppose to cover the practical part because that is what they do.  For an employer therefore to expect a recent grad to be "practical heavy" is unreasonable because they likely did some practical stuff early on before they got inundated with theory.

I guess it would be possible to have the education system produce "practical heavy" graduates.  I see two issues:

1) educational institutions are slow to change so I don't know how they would keep up with the fast and furious pace of industry.  By the time a curriculum is developed its out of date.

2) all education that does not support soldering skills would have to be taken out.  This means no foreign language, no "humanities" courses, no phys ed, no "soft science" courses like sociology, no history or civics, nothing of the sort that society would consider an "educated" person should have been exposed to.

There was a time when a college degree signaled to industry the graduate is trainable.  These days, it seems employers expect it to be an applicants curriculum vitae.
 

Offline PeteInTexas

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2012, 08:35:38 am »

In my experience, the vast majority of students don't really give a shit about what they are studying. And this applies equally to both 4 year university programs, and lower level 2/3 year type technical courses.
They have little, if any genuine interest in it, it's just a course to pass for whatever reason it is they are doing it.
I think they should have special programs or classes for the genuinely interested people.

Dave.

I agree, it would be nice to not have to "pick up the slack" so to speak, for those who just want a degree in something, anything will do, etc.

I know a few people who got onto engineering courses at the last minute and have absolutely no idea about any aspect of the course. They seem to go between subjects trying a bit of everything, and excelling at nothing, usually ending up doing IT/business something-or-other bullshit, but the system lets them scrape by, and by the end they can say they have a degree, even if it's only a 3rd or a pass, and if nobody asks any further questions, it appears to be exactly the same as a 1st.

Isn't college the place to "find oneself"?
 

Offline PeteInTexas

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2012, 08:45:29 am »
I don't think any reputable educational institution are graduating students who don't know the basics of soldering and the basics of basic test instruments.

I bet you'd be wrong. In fact, I know you are wrong, because I have interviewed and worked with many over the years, and yes, from very reputable well long established institutions.

Dave.

You are likely right.  But do you find them to be the majority of applicants, or are they just the memorable minority?
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2012, 08:59:07 am »
This means no foreign language, no "humanities" courses, no phys ed, no "soft science" courses like sociology, no history or civics, nothing of the sort that society would consider an "educated" person should have been exposed to.
You'll find none of that liberal arts stuff in an engineering degree on the other side of the Atlantic. There's barely enough time to cover the mathematics, science and engineering theory without loading on crap like sociology, history or civics. Music, arts and sports are extra-curricular activities. The facilities are there for personal enrichment but they are not part of the academic program.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2012, 09:02:03 am »
I don't think any reputable educational institution are graduating students who don't know the basics of soldering and the basics of basic test instruments.

I bet you'd be wrong. In fact, I know you are wrong, because I have interviewed and worked with many over the years, and yes, from very reputable well long established institutions.

Dave.

You are likely right.  But do you find them to be the majority of applicants, or are they just the memorable minority?

Sadly, the majority.
But it does mean the enthusiastic ones who actually know stuff easily stand out.

Dave.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2012, 09:12:58 am »
But it's reasonable for taxes to subsidise education which does not equip the nations workforce? How is that reasonable? If you want Industry to contribute they have to see a reward. IE: graduates capable of doors without assistance.
Higher education is not just about equipping people for jobs, it is also a strategic investment in the future of the nation, increasing its economic strength and ability to compete in world markets. Viewed like that it is perfectly justified for taxes to subsidise education. Withdrawing funding from the education system, insisting students pay higher fees and all their own living costs, requiring research to have an immediate industrial application, are all examples of the kind of short term blinkered thinking that is troubling businesses today. Governments (especially the UK government) should see themselves as custodians of the economy and should be thinking long term about how to promote growth and expansion. Companies and individuals are well placed to support the self-interested tactical needs of the moment, governments should be looking at strategic objectives across generations. We elect them to take care of the things that are beyond the means of individuals.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2012, 02:20:32 pm »
How do you define "inadequately meets the demands of the workplace"?
I'll define adequate. Sufficient skill to understand the working environment. Sufficient skills to perform basic tasks unassisted, when required.

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Is it reasonable to expect recent grads just starting out in the fast and furious world of technology to be confident with any oscilloscope of arbitrary make and model at the interview?
It is reasonable to expect a qualified engineer to be able to operate at least the basic functions of common test equipment, it is also reasonable to expect a competent engineer to achieve excellence and a full understanding of any model in a short period of time and without bleating about not doing a training course.

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Yes indeed engineering is about practically implementing science.  The education system covers the science part, theory and such because that is what they are good at and and industry is suppose to cover the practical part because that is what they do.
what bunkum!!  Another subscriber to "Ye Olde Lord Bored System". Why would anyone wish to employ a person incapable and likely unprepared to multitask. No one is talking about using engineers to do production tasks, but an engineer unable to solder a few cable end on a mock-up or adequately use a test instrument is a liability.

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For an employer therefore to expect a recent grad to be "practical heavy" is unreasonable because they likely did some practical stuff early on before they got inundated with theory.
An ability to not pick up a soldering iron by the hot end, or ability to use test equipment, is hardly "practical heavy", those are basic skills any industry participant should hold. Hell even a sales engineer should be able to fit a plug top, test a fuse etc.

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I guess it would be possible to have the education system produce "practical heavy" graduates.
There is that "practical heavy" again, we are talking basic skills, simple stuff, fit a plug, run a trace, walk and breathe simultaneously.


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  I see two issues:

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1) educational institutions are slow to change so I don't know how they would keep up with the fast and furious pace of industry.  By the time a curriculum is developed its out of date.
The basics do not change that fast, besides that primates hoping for a junior engineering position would hopefully have made some effort to keep up to date with those industry changes, most have advanced on past the slide rule.

Quote
2) all education that does not support soldering skills would have to be taken out.  This means no foreign language, no "humanities" courses, no phys ed, no "soft science" courses like sociology, no history or civics, nothing of the sort that society would consider an "educated" person should have been exposed to.
Those for the most part are passengers on the "B" ship.  An educated person is generally a self sufficient one, those unable to manage the most basic tasks can hardly consider themselves capable or educated.
Acoountancy students get taught how to dress as part of their studies, it cannot be too much to suggest a basic skills element be incorporated into any engineering degree as clearly most engineering graduates have never been troubled by any instuction in dress.

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There was a time when a college degree signaled to industry the graduate is trainable.
But in this time it is often likely to signal dollops of "not my job" attitude.

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These days, it seems employers expect it to be an applicants curriculum vitae.
It is entirely reasonable to expect any prospective employee to 
1) be capable of basic skills,
2) be prepared to learn, and understand that learning is not something that ceased with a qualification or something restricted tothose who possess a qualification
3) be interested in the industry he wishes to enter
4) have a clue
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 02:24:34 pm by Uncle Vernon »
 

Offline 8086

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2012, 02:24:51 pm »

In my experience, the vast majority of students don't really give a shit about what they are studying. And this applies equally to both 4 year university programs, and lower level 2/3 year type technical courses.
They have little, if any genuine interest in it, it's just a course to pass for whatever reason it is they are doing it.
I think they should have special programs or classes for the genuinely interested people.

Dave.

I agree, it would be nice to not have to "pick up the slack" so to speak, for those who just want a degree in something, anything will do, etc.

I know a few people who got onto engineering courses at the last minute and have absolutely no idea about any aspect of the course. They seem to go between subjects trying a bit of everything, and excelling at nothing, usually ending up doing IT/business something-or-other bullshit, but the system lets them scrape by, and by the end they can say they have a degree, even if it's only a 3rd or a pass, and if nobody asks any further questions, it appears to be exactly the same as a 1st.

Isn't college the place to "find oneself"?

I thought people had gap years for that.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2012, 02:32:12 pm »
Higher education is not just about equipping people for jobs, it is also a strategic investment in the future of the nation, increasing its economic strength and ability to compete in world markets. Viewed like that it is perfectly justified for taxes to subsidise education. Withdrawing funding from the education system, insisting students pay higher fees and all their own living costs, requiring research to have an immediate industrial application, are all examples of the kind of short term blinkered thinking that is troubling businesses today. Governments (especially the UK government) should see themselves as custodians of the economy and should be thinking long term about how to promote growth and expansion. Companies and individuals are well placed to support the self-interested tactical needs of the moment, governments should be looking at strategic objectives across generations. We elect them to take care of the things that are beyond the means of individuals.
I hear what you are saying but the pendulum is way out of balance. Good engineers are hard to find, though there are plenty that will wave a qualification at you.  Every second postman has an Arts Degree, the education for education's sake angle is way overplayed.,
 

Offline AntiProtonBoy

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2012, 02:49:00 pm »
At the risk of repeating what someone else might have already said (as I had no time to read everything), I'd like to add that tertiary education is really about teaching people how to learn. Sure, you could equip students with the necessary theoretical and practical basics in their chosen field, but that alone is nowhere near useful. If the said student is incapable of developing on his/her skills down the track, then he/she might as well have not attended university at all.
 

Offline don.r

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2012, 06:34:34 pm »
I graduated from a "sandwich" program in the 80s. 4 months school-4 months work. By the end my hands on skills were still crap but that was more my fault than the systems. They have improved steadily over time but not because of my job but my hobby as I went on to do more software rather than hardware. An EE these days can be anything from an ASIC designer to a process engineer to a circuit experimenter. Each requires a different skill set and most training programs can't be held responsible for providing specifics in each. If you want to do work that requires you to have decent soldering skills, surely the onus is on you to pick up those skills. AFAIR, I had lots of opportunities to learn these skills at uni, I chose to drink instead.
 

Offline Hobgoblin612

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2012, 01:23:46 pm »
Quote
I think they should have special programs or classes for the genuinely interested people.

OOOOOOHHH imagine that. YES PLEASE!!!!!!!

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If I had my way those who are not, could be relocated to an entirely different planet.

---They just need to find the the thing in life that they are interested in. (Like how to travel to another planet)
ooooohh... what does this button do???
 

Offline Hypernova

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2012, 05:09:27 pm »
Quote
I think they should have special programs or classes for the genuinely interested people.

OOOOOOHHH imagine that. YES PLEASE!!!!!!!

Quote
If I had my way those who are not, could be relocated to an entirely different planet.

---They just need to find the the thing in life that they are interested in. (Like how to travel to another planet)

Or how to survive on one after being dumped there!
 

Offline steaky1212

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2012, 11:55:04 am »
Just to add my 2cents.

I'm based in the UK, and graduated from uni about 4 years ago (BEng in EE and Cybernetics). This might not be representative of everyone but here goes...

Learnt about analogue ammeter and voltmeter in secondary school (Ages 11-18)
This wasnt in some special electronics class, or after school club but in Physics.
Same goes for Ohms, Lenz, Gauss Laws etc.
Even had how to use analogue scope at school.

Kirchoffs Law was first year uni stuff (Age 19).
Soldering was "taught" by a lab tech one practical session, but to be honest most people knew how to solder because of the underlying interest.

I dont think I was "let down" by the education system. But I dont think that you should be expected to remember the gain equation of various op amp circuits (something that was asked of me during one interview).

I am sure that the more experienced (read older) engineer could rattle off any number of equations, but it is more important to understand how to use the equation.
Equally, I think it is more important that I show the ability to learn something, than the ability to use something. This way I am more adaptable to change, can easily pick up how to use a new bit of kit, and the company doesnt suffer from a case of "but thats how we've always done it". I think that there is going to be a whole host of stuff that the graduate engineer is capable of (or is aware of) that you dont require and you cant please all the people all the time. Sure I learnt about opamps, circuit analysis etc, but I also learnt about manchester coding, FPGA, PID controllers, neuroscience.

University didnt teach me about the limititations of test equipment, but then as a graduate I was never going to be in the role where I was the only engineer. Most companies have "on-the-job training" whether that is a prescribed 3 year process, or drip feed through asking questions. The company has to be accomodating of the fact that the graduate probably hasnt used THEIR pcb software, or THEIR scope.

Last point, I dont think electronic engineering is the worst culprit in people doing it for educations sake, or for taste of university life etc. The impression I got whilst studying was that at least 70% were interested in engineering in one form or another.
Saying that, there was a single girl doing EE purely for the reason that she would stand out, and in fact never got round to graduating as she was offered a job in the second year. Plus, one guy was doing EE as he wanted to have a decent degree but he ended up working for a Radical racing team dealing with data analysis.

 

Offline djsb

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2012, 12:45:25 pm »
Here is what we get up to in the lab I work in (as a technician).

http://people.brunel.ac.uk/~eestatv/

It can be good fun at times. I hope the students take away practical skills that are useful.
What do you think?

David
David
Hertfordshire,UK
 University Electronics Technician, London PIC,CCS C,Arduino,Kicad, Altium Designer,LPKF S103,S62 Operator, Electronics instructor.  http://debuggingrules.com/ Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
 

Offline baljemmett

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2012, 01:41:27 pm »
Kirchoffs Law was first year uni stuff (Age 19).

Huh, that's interesting; mind if I ask which board's physics A level you took?  (I presume you need one to go on to study EE!)  I remember Kirchoff's laws being one of the earliest concepts in the electronics part of my OCR Linear Physics course, of which I have fond memories around the turn of the century.  Hadn't thought about those lessons in ages, needed cheering up today :)
 

Offline steaky1212

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2012, 02:51:55 pm »
ha sorry my bad.
Kirchoff was A-level, Norton and Thevenin was first year uni. Everything starts mergining into one.
I cant even remember picking up my A-level certificates and I certinely cant find them now - but I guess either OCR or Edexcel.

Yup Physics was a requirement, at least where I went.
 

Offline PeteInTexas

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2012, 06:38:08 am »
Finally got the chance to listen to this week's installment of The Amp Hour and imagine my surprise and delight for making the show notes!

Its been proposed by people smarter than me that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at anything.  See herehttp://norvig.com/21-days.html and here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_%28book%29 and here .

If so, can anyone really expect recent grads to be good at anything? Of course not. The only reasonable expectation is a tiny number of hours of that 10k (or should it be K?) has been formally recognized.  Of course, you got outliers like Dave who by the time they went to college have already put in 9.999k and that last hour was spent lecturing the lab assistant on how to plug in the oscilloscope.  ;)

But employers should not expect all graduates to have the same experience.  Not even close.  On that vein, I absolutely agree with Chris that participation in various clubs and projects outside of the "formal" curriculum is valuable as it counts toward that 10k.

Pilots have to keep a log of their flight hours to get licensed.  Maybe instead of "passport cards" issued by Wank University engineers can show their log book?
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2012, 07:50:31 am »
Everyone is using the term"lab technician" with gay abandon,as if it simply meant a Tech who works in a lab.

Some years back,I did some contract work at UWA,as an Electronics Technician in the workshop belonging to the Chemistry Dept.
As some part of this activity,I from time to time worked in a lab,but I was NOT a "Lab Technician",

A "Lab Technician",at least in the UWA context,was a person with an appropriate Degree,who took charge of the day to day operation of a lab.
As such,he/she was not a Technician in the same sense as myself,& although they may have "hands-on" skills,the Degree is the essential qualification.

Interestingly, many of the Scientists/Professors in this Department also had considerable hands-on ability,& had designed & built many Electronic Instruments to assist them in their work,many in the Z80 era.

VK6ZGO 
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2012, 11:13:55 pm »
Everyone is using the term"lab technician" with gay abandon
There was no suggestion of anything camp in any of the references.
 

Offline slateraptor

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2012, 01:25:06 am »
So this is where the interesting discussions are at. ;D

Its been proposed by people smarter than me that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at anything.
If so, can anyone really expect recent grads to be good at anything? Of course not.

That 10k hrs number is unquantifiable pseudo-rubbish nonsense much like everyone's favorite universally applicable Moore's Law. An EE student at a proper university will be given many a opportunity to practice. The misconception appears to be in identifying exactly what it is being practiced. The ideal answer to that is exercising critical faculties with the ultimate goal of solving real world problems. If anything counts towards achieving some dubious 10k hrs of practice in anything, it's critical thinking, and even that doesn't guarantee anything more than an assumed higher probability of success. Surely no one expects an EE grad to spend 10k hours soldering in order to gain the status of good; preposterous to say the least, but more so inapplicable since that particular task is more associative to riding a bike than analytically solving a problem.

Unfortunately, we also live in a world that is far more dense in acquired knowledge when compared to, say, 60 years ago. Case in point: the Laplace transform and its inherent usefulness as an EE analysis tool was barely (if at all) breaking into university pedagogy back then, but now it's pretty much required in any first course on ordinary differential equations--engineering major or otherwise. Engineers in the first quarter of the century didn't have to learn about feedback theory and its applications; 60's engineers didn't have to learn about state-space analysis or digital design; I won't be required to understand how the memristor fits into the grand scheme of circuit theory (for the time being), but no doubt the next generation of engineering posterity will. And so the infinite game goes.

Prerequisite knowledge is necessarily cumulative from generation to generation, and this had led many professors astray, allowing students to focus on formula memorization to pass a test in order to satisfy pass/fail department requirements (or focus on research) rather than the underlying first principles that drive each phenomena being studied. But I don't see it as such an issue because the genuinely interested party will take the time to truly understand the material outside, on his own free time and of his own free will.


Everyone is using the term"lab technician" with gay abandon,as if it simply meant a Tech who works in a lab.

At my uni, our dept has two full-time, long-employed lab technicians: one was a History major and the other doesn't even hold a degree. Their practical experience in electronics is mind blowing, but when it comes to theory, any competent undergrad can lose them. Nevertheless, they get more respect that most professors and I'm probably one in a few that know their true background.



But I dont think that you should be expected to remember the gain equation of various op amp circuits (something that was asked of me during one interview).

I am sure that the more experienced (read older) engineer could rattle off any number of equations, but it is more important to understand how to use the equation.

--------------------------------------------------

Last point, I dont think electronic engineering is the worst culprit in people doing it for educations sake, or for taste of university life etc. The impression I got whilst studying was that at least 70% were interested in engineering in one form or another.

Should have taken command of that interview, put your man pants on, and flared them with your command and understanding of first principles. :P

My single most important rule has always been: never, ever make a conscious effort to memorize any equation; if it proves over time to be important enough, the sub-conscious will do its job, otherwise, it can be referenced. That being known, one can easily deduce from my transcripts which courses were memorization-based and which were analytical in nature. :P

As far as my uni goes, I agree that EE is definitely not a major for the "university experience" type. In fact, certain professors at my uni are notorious for weeding out the undedicated...I'm talking about required core courses with consistent 50%+ drop rates before the 2nd exam. Moreover, one professor is trying to get the department to redact prerequisites so he can weed out underclassmen declaring EE as their major a lot earlier on.
 

Offline urbanwriter

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2012, 12:58:37 am »
Well, one, or perhaps two, of the loudest critics of the 'educational system' here are most certainly not employable. They are, as evidenced by their writing, utterly incompetent. That means that penning a report to their superiors, writing a 'manual' for their customers, or sending an email that makes any sense whatever is essentially impossible.

'Oh, but this is just a forum' will be the response. That's BS. You can't write a sentence, you can't punctuate, you certainly cannot spell. Your performance in fora is judged as you would judge others.

As for 'knowing everything your employer needs you to know' when you graduate, I seem to have dim memories from the early '80s when, while reading one of the trade rags, it was mentioned that a company 'X' had hired someone away from their current employer, and was expecting them to take upwards of six (yes, kids, 6) months to be 'up to speed' on the product engineering. I'll die wishing I'd cut that one out.

And, perhaps, a few engineers would do well to take a humanities course, or two. I suspect they wouldn't get anything out of it - knowing as they do that they are the only rational thinkers (or, indeed, as one would have it, one of the few capable of 'thinking for themselves.' You might actually question the patron saint of 'engineers,' the delightful Ayn Rand, and the creature of her imagination, John Galt. Oh, and by the way, remember that her 'engineers' were about to do that most terrible of things, and 'strike.' The simplest, low-grade 'humanities' course might draw your attention to Rand's childhood and her imagining of 'engineers, perhaps both fantasy and reality  Those engineers, funded, trained, driven, oh, and executed, by the state, dragged Russia into the industrial world.

You want kids (I'd be at least a 'grand-parent' now, had the kids I didn't have, had kids, at the age I was making sure (is that 'engineering') I didn't have the little tykes) to only get in to engineering if they can run a soldering iron? As proof of ability? How about getting in to medical school? Hmmm. Does playing doctor count?

I sat in a very interesting class when I went to university - 'A History of the Philosophy of Science' - where students who were about to graduate with a degrees in chemistry, physics, and mechanical engineering learned two things; 'science' is not value free, we don't arbitrarily just study something as if interest was sui generis, we study it because it is socially viable. We study electronics engineering not only because we like solder smoke, but because there is a vast array of social capital connected with being 'an engineer' rather than a repairman. For those who don't believe me - toss your business card, when someone asks what you do, say 'I'm essentially a glorified TV repair technician' - you'll feel the difference. The second thing these young bunnies learned was that they were going to have to write. Yes. Words. More than three to six pages of intellectually coherent scribbling, they were going to have to collate the lab technicians' reports in to something that would be readable upstairs, by the marketers, bean-counters, managers. Interesting, isn't it, that people who don't necessarily know how to solder actually control the lives of those who do?

And some plug 'engineers' as knowing... well, having served my apprenticeship in a shipyard as a machinist when I was much younger, I learned that engineers cannot read general arrangement drawings provided by (in this case) bearing manufacturers. Nor, in a separate instance, could they determine that a spool of 'X' width, at 'Y' radius, plain and simply would not fit in to the box they themselves had designed. Oh, the engineer wasn't quite wet behind the ears, being somewhere in his '50s at that time.

It also occurs to me, thinking back on both 'humanities courses' and Ayn Rand, that her appeal to engineers (broadly speaking here) is why stuff is not only made in China, but in ever great quantities, designed there - 'rational thinking,' and a very laissez-faire approach to costs...

Urn

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Inter-Provincial Qualification as above
BA 04 (First Class)
and enough other stooopid-ass qualifying bits of rag to paper my shop wall
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2012, 02:34:30 am »
Fora?

VK6ZGO
 

Offline 8086

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2012, 02:41:21 am »
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2012, 02:50:47 am »
I always thought it was,but recently I've read suggestions that it isn't.
There are people out there like us,but their obsession is English,instead of Electronics,so they would probably generate a thread as long as this,discussing it. ;D

VK6ZGO
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2012, 02:57:53 am »
Engineers live if a very practical world.

Poor old Ayn lived in a world of whacky self-centered idealism. If an engineer lived in the kind of unrealistic and unpractical world that Ayn did, they would fail miserably as engineers. They would probably be forced to get a job as a university lecturer instead.

Engineers face a very tough test of anything they design - does it actually work? Reality is a very good instructor. We are more impressed and inspired by the likes of Nikola Tesla then Ayn Rand.

Richard.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 03:02:17 am by amspire »
 

Offline slateraptor

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2012, 04:27:20 am »
Well, one, or perhaps two, of the loudest critics of the 'educational system' here are most certainly not employable. They are, as evidenced by their writing, utterly incompetent. That means that penning a report to their superiors, writing a 'manual' for their customers, or sending an email that makes any sense whatever is essentially impossible.

'Oh, but this is just a forum' will be the response. That's BS. You can't write a sentence, you can't punctuate, you certainly cannot spell. Your performance in fora is judged as you would judge others.

The liberal arts type would be the first to point out such frivolous grammatical discrepancies rather than constructively criticizing any relevant argument. This is an informal medium where members of a global audience of varying degrees of ability can communicate ideas, not official correspondence.


And, perhaps, a few engineers would do well to take a humanities course, or two. I suspect they wouldn't get anything out of it - knowing as they do that they are the only rational thinkers (or, indeed, as one would have it, one of the few capable of 'thinking for themselves.' You might actually question the patron saint of 'engineers,' the delightful Ayn Rand, and the creature of her imagination, John Galt. Oh, and by the way, remember that her 'engineers' were about to do that most terrible of things, and 'strike.' The simplest, low-grade 'humanities' course might draw your attention to Rand's childhood and her imagining of 'engineers, perhaps both fantasy and reality  Those engineers, funded, trained, driven, oh, and executed, by the state, dragged Russia into the industrial world.

If any part of my formal education can be construed as worthless, it'd be the 3 courses in humanities that my uni deemed necessary to ensure "diverse" background and all that nonsense. Furthermore, who really cares about the utopian imaginings of some 20th century philosopher whose cosmopolitan career was so far removed from the field in which you claim her to be the patron saint of? I'd sooner pay homage to Bill Nye the Science Guy than waste my time with Rand.


How about getting in to medical school? Hmmm. Does playing doctor count?

The academic medical community has much deeper ethical issues to resolve.


I sat in a very interesting class when I went to university - 'A History of the Philosophy of Science' - where students who were about to graduate with a degrees in chemistry, physics, and mechanical engineering learned two things; 'science' is not value free, we don't arbitrarily just study something as if interest was sui generis, we study it because it is socially viable. We study electronics engineering not only because we like solder smoke, but because there is a vast array of social capital connected with being 'an engineer' rather than a repairman. For those who don't believe me - toss your business card, when someone asks what you do, say 'I'm essentially a glorified TV repair technician' - you'll feel the difference. The second thing these young bunnies learned was that they were going to have to write. Yes. Words. More than three to six pages of intellectually coherent scribbling, they were going to have to collate the lab technicians' reports in to something that would be readable upstairs, by the marketers, bean-counters, managers. Interesting, isn't it, that people who don't necessarily know how to solder actually control the lives of those who do?

Poincare and Russell, whose views were in contention with each other, had more than a few words to say on the philosophy of science; the course you've mentioned sounds more like a debauched overview of social issues if anything. This is the inherent problem with the humanities. So quickly does it point out the vanities of ambition whilst placing little if any emphasis on the virtue of leading by example.


And some plug 'engineers' as knowing... well, having served my apprenticeship in a shipyard as a machinist when I was much younger, I learned that engineers cannot read general arrangement drawings provided by (in this case) bearing manufacturers. Nor, in a separate instance, could they determine that a spool of 'X' width, at 'Y' radius, plain and simply would not fit in to the box they themselves had designed. Oh, the engineer wasn't quite wet behind the ears, being somewhere in his '50s at that time.

A career machinist would be the first to note a general lack of understanding with respect to geometric dimensioning and tolerancing despite it's long history of ambiguity and lack of conformity within industry as evidenced by the countless, readily available datasheets disseminated on the web. Certain engineering disciplines are well aware of what makes a machinist tick (some have taken it upon themselves to explicitly mention these expected prejudices in lecture) and have taken measures at the academic level to minimize long-term confusion. That being said, what significant contributions have machinists made to the advancement of understanding in applicable engineering fields like thermodynamics, metallurgy, non-destructive inspection techniques, stress analysis, etc? Surely, engineers don't expect you to exemplify the same level of competency within their domain?

For the record, I'm an electrical engineer by training, not mechanical.
 

Offline jerry507

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2012, 06:59:22 am »
As an engineer, if you don't have practical skills you aren't a good engineer.

If you have a lot of classes on circuit analysis, great. But put it together, with parasitics that depend heavily on construction, and see how much your number crunching is worth.

There is no university theory class on sizing components. 1/4W resistors abound.

Very little theory ever touches on designing systems with tolerances, precision, physically realizable components.

The comparison to med students is an excellent one. No med student goes out into the world without any hands on training. Engineers live in the real world. They must know how to manipulate it in order to know it's limit and DESIGN around them. Somehow you have to ease the student into these operations. Is it better to do that in a business where money depends on it, or in a university where there are essentially no consequences and people are getting PAID to watch over these young ones?

If you're a practicing engineer who says they don't need to be building things, then either you're under estimating how much you do or you should relax how you apply the word practicing. Techs get paid to do the boring stuff all day, they don't get paid to be better and faster at it then you. You get paid to do the higher level functions, but you can't do that without understanding what a tech does. And that means practicing so you don't forget.
 

Offline djsb

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2012, 02:24:41 pm »
Here is what we get up to in the lab I work in (as a technician).

http://people.brunel.ac.uk/~eestatv/

It can be good fun at times. I hope the students take away practical skills that are useful.
What do you think?

David

The video's have just been updated for the embedded course.

David
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 08:30:17 pm by djsb »
David
Hertfordshire,UK
 University Electronics Technician, London PIC,CCS C,Arduino,Kicad, Altium Designer,LPKF S103,S62 Operator, Electronics instructor.  http://debuggingrules.com/ Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #47 on: April 28, 2012, 02:37:44 pm »
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.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #48 on: April 28, 2012, 03:42:59 pm »
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. 
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #49 on: April 28, 2012, 04:07:23 pm »
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.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 05:14:42 pm by vxp036000 »
 

Offline FJV

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #50 on: April 28, 2012, 09:55:16 pm »
As an engineer, if you don't have practical skills you aren't a good engineer.

Not the entire truth in my opinion.

For the good engineers, technology and engineering is a lifestyle. This leads to mechanical engineers having a hobby lathe at home. Electrical engineers soldering at home. Programmers programming multi user games in their spare time. Etc, etc.

Someone for who designing things is more than just a job. Those people often make very good engineers in my opinion.

As for education, concerning the situation in the Netherlands, we are really failing those kids who want to be engineers in my opinion. After all it is not their fault that education is declining, but they do end up paying the price.

Take for instance teaching multiplication (arithmetic). There are at least 3 methods of multiplying 2 numbers, yet only one method is taught. The result is that children for who that method is not the best for them will suck at basic multiplication, where they might be good at multiplication if they were offered a different method.







Of course I am also slightly pissed of that they haven't taught me when I was a kid these methods. That may also be a reason why I'm grumpy about the state of education. >:(




 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #51 on: April 28, 2012, 09:59:41 pm »
When I was in school, I learned how to compute square roots with pen and paper.  How many folks can do that nowadays?  I agree that math and sciences generally are not well taught in high school.  But my college experience, however, was exactly the opposite.  I guess it's because I majored in technical field.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #52 on: April 28, 2012, 10:16:51 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
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #53 on: April 28, 2012, 10:27:45 pm »
Here's a fun exercise to try if you think you really understand multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction.  Pick an arbitrary radix, say radix 3, and try performing some basic computations.  If you're really brave, try integrating in a different radix ;D

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
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #54 on: April 29, 2012, 12:54:36 am »
I haven't seen too many folks without a formal education inventing new ................
That says more about what you see through tunnel vision than anything about the ability of others!

Quote
On the other hand, I can teach any monkey how to choose appropriate components and use of a soldering iron.
Yep you can skill up primates with no trouble. Which says little for those who want to use a degree as an excuse for a total absence of physical skill or practical application! Five years of a degree and no one in all that time told you which was the hot end of a soldering iron?

Quote
There are techs, and then there are the engineers.
Yep and there are good and bad, skilled and incompetents in both camps. Retards that see some sort of elitist boundary between themselves and other skilled people are fools too themself and a burdon to others.

Go wave your degree at someone who gives a fig! I employ based upon competence rather than qualification. Many of the just qualified are certain fails an aptitude and more importantly attitude.

Quote
And please don't get me started on the numerous jobs titled engineer that require no engineering ability whatsoever.
Far be it from me to encourage you to bang on about any topic you have little or no clue about.
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #55 on: April 29, 2012, 01:07:03 am »
Most folks working at the bleeding edge of EE hold PHDs, in my country, at least.  The folks working at Google, Agilent Labs, university research labs...  You would get laughed at trying to work at a place like that with an undergraduate degree or lower.  That's just an observation; you're welcome to draw your own conclusions.

What I disapprove of is how a lot of techs can't accept that they don't have the same understanding of electronics as an EE.  I'm not talking about practical experience, but rather the fundamentals of semiconductor physics, signal processing, the intricacies of bandgap references, etc.  This sort of knowledge is essential in the design process, but not as relevant to the job of a tech.

I think it's only fair to compare the best techs to the best EEs, not the best techs to the worst EEs (which seems to be the comparison several folks here like to make).  And, if I were looking to hire a tech, I really wouldn't care about having such a strong theoretical backing, because, like I already stated, it's not as relevant to the job of a tech.

I haven't seen too many folks without a formal education inventing new ................
That says more about what you see through tunnel vision than anything about the ability of others!

Quote
On the other hand, I can teach any monkey how to choose appropriate components and use of a soldering iron.
Yep you can skill up primates with no trouble. Which says little for those who want to use a degree as an excuse for a total absence of physical skill or practical application! Five years of a degree and no one in all that time told you which was the hot end of a soldering iron?

Quote
There are techs, and then there are the engineers.
Yep and there are good and bad, skilled and incompetents in both camps. Retards that see some sort of elitist boundary between themselves and other skilled people are fools too themself and a burdon to others.

Go wave your degree at someone who gives a fig! I employ based upon competence rather than qualification. Many of the just qualified are certain fails an aptitude and more importantly attitude.

Quote
And please don't get me started on the numerous jobs titled engineer that require no engineering ability whatsoever.
Far be it from me to encourage you to bang on about any topic you have little or no clue about.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #56 on: April 29, 2012, 01:08:35 am »
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.
Curious that but as you say it's from your limited experience so is hardly representative of the rest of the industry. Over a long career in engineering I've seen many techs migrate to become excellent and sought after engineers. Many also attaining qualifications along the way.

Over the same period I've seen far too many degree wavers never able to develop the skills and dexterity for the physical aspects of our industry. The could talk for an hour about torsional load and stress while stillbeing unable to tighten their own wheel nuts!


Quote
Perhaps our disagreement stems from a different meaning of the term engineer vs. tech.[/qoute]
No it stems from a misguided sense of self importance and and an inability to recognise the contribution and skills of others! Arrogant and misguided condescension for the qualified clueless!
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #57 on: April 29, 2012, 01:12:06 am »
This is certainly true.  I've also seeing techs move on to EE jobs, but most of them also went on to get the degree.  I think we both agree that a good practical know-how is needed in addition to what is taught in a classroom.  At least at my school, we designed and built numerous boards in addition to coursework, so we came out with a good balance of practical and theoretical aspects.

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.
Curious that but as you say it's from your limited experience so is hardly representative of the rest of the industry. Over a long career in engineering I've seen many techs migrate to become excellent and sought after engineers. Many also attaining qualifications along the way.

Over the same period I've seen far too many degree wavers never able to develop the skills and dexterity for the physical aspects of our industry. The could talk for an hour about torsional load and stress while stillbeing unable to tighten their own wheel nuts!


Quote
Perhaps our disagreement stems from a different meaning of the term engineer vs. tech.[/qoute]
No it stems from a misguided sense of self importance and and an inability to recognise the contribution and skills of others! Arrogant and misguided condescension for the qualified clueless!
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #58 on: April 29, 2012, 01:19:19 am »
This is interesting.

Should you employ a mechanical engineer who couldn't make a fair attempt at stripping down and rebuilding a car engine? (I'd say not, personally. In the words of Bruce Lee: "Don't think; feel." If you can't feel how a car engine is supposed to work, do you really understand engineering?)
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #59 on: April 29, 2012, 01:24:03 am »
Most folks working at the bleeding edge of EE hold PHDs, in my country, at least.
Was the term bleeding edge introduced to describe the results of "when the clueless use hand tools"?

Quote
You would get laughed at trying to work at a place like that with an undergraduate degree or lower.  That's just an observation; you're welcome to draw your own conclusions.
You get laughed at a lot for using a qualification as a substitute for ability! I drew my conclusions long ago and they've proved spot on for decade. The main conclusion being that ability is inversely proportion to desire to wave qualifications in thefaces of others!

Quote
What I disapprove of
To be honest nobody gives a flying flap what you do or don't approve of.

Quote
is how a lot of techs can't accept that they don't have the same understanding of electronics as an EE.
What is more guiling is some jackass assuming they have attained superior understand of all things at all times over all others. That is nothing but arrogance and simple ignorance! End Of!

 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #60 on: April 29, 2012, 01:27:59 am »
Yes I would hire a mechanical engineer that doen't know how to strip the engine down.  The guy designing it doesn't need any more than a general understanding of how the thing is assembled / disassembled.  But, the mechanical engineer had better have a strong understanding of the physics of how the engine works.

Does the IC designer know the intricacies of characterizing his IC and debugging it in the lab?  At the places I've worked, most certainly not.  The tech worries about these things.  Instead, I would expect the designer to have a very strong understanding of the semiconductor phyics and circuit architecture.  We're past the days of a jack of all trades and live in a world of specialization, to everyone's benefit.
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #61 on: April 29, 2012, 01:30:53 am »
I think this attitude sums up what I see from techs and not so much from the EEs.  I don't see nurses claiming to be more knowledgeable in medicine than doctors.  Why do we see techs that think they know more about EE than someone with an 8 year degree in the field?

Most folks working at the bleeding edge of EE hold PHDs, in my country, at least.
Was the term bleeding edge introduced to describe the results of "when the clueless use hand tools"?

Quote
You would get laughed at trying to work at a place like that with an undergraduate degree or lower.  That's just an observation; you're welcome to draw your own conclusions.
You get laughed at a lot for using a qualification as a substitute for ability! I drew my conclusions long ago and they've proved spot on for decade. The main conclusion being that ability is inversely proportion to desire to wave qualifications in thefaces of others!

Quote
What I disapprove of
To be honest nobody gives a flying flap what you do or don't approve of.

Quote
is how a lot of techs can't accept that they don't have the same understanding of electronics as an EE.
What is more guiling is some jackass assuming they have attained superior understand of all things at all times over all others. That is nothing but arrogance and simple ignorance! End Of!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 01:32:49 am by vxp036000 »
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #62 on: April 29, 2012, 01:44:36 am »
I think this attitude sums up what I see
Not much thinking and not much vision.  Anyone that sees a degree as the sole source of knowledge is a fool to himself! Even worse is those jackasses that assumed they learnt everything in a short five to eight years. People who think they know everything are usually the ones that know next to nothing. Doctors & Nurses? WTF?  UV hands out another "perennially clueless badge" to the latest try hard.
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #63 on: April 29, 2012, 01:58:28 am »
More of the same...  I'm not going to stoop to name-calling and denegrading others.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #64 on: April 29, 2012, 02:07:40 am »
More of the same...  I'm not going to 
Good! You just toddle off and be condescending and self important to somebody who actually wants to listen! Good luck.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #65 on: April 29, 2012, 02:12:36 am »
When I was in school, I learned how to compute square roots with pen and paper.  How many folks can do that nowadays?
Great.. so you can replay an algorithm just like a trained monkey ...

Meanwhile, someone who has real work to do grabs a 1 $ calculator and moves on. Anno 2012 it is USELESS and a WASTE of TIME to even do such things by hand .

Quote
Does the IC designer know the intricacies of characterizing his IC and debugging it in the lab?
And how do you expect your engineers to ever learn from their mistakes ?
And if you work where i do , yes , as an ic designer you WILL sit in the lab and debug your own brainfarts, or prepare to be shown the front door. We have no room foor stiff upper lip, nose in the wind, people that think they are better than others because they have a (fake) mahogany framed piece of paper stuck on their wall. The silicon doesn't lie. You may have a whole wall of diploma's, if your piece of silicon you produced does not work you are still a bad engineer .
And if it's the techs that get it running , i'll hire those guys instead of you. After all they made it work. All you did was make something that didn't...
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 02:19:32 am by free_electron »
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Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #66 on: April 29, 2012, 02:22:51 am »
No one is questioning whether or not a good designer produces a working product.  What I am saying, is that you will not see a tech with the background needed to design something like a start of the art class C microwave amplifier with pre-emphasis to compensate for AM distortion on an IC.  I wouldn't even trust a lot of folks with an MS to design something like that.  There's nothing fake about a four to eight year degree in circuit design.

When I was in school, I learned how to compute square roots with pen and paper.  How many folks can do that nowadays?
Great.. so you can replay an algorithm just like a trained monkey ...

Meanwhile, someone who has real work to do grabs a 1 $ calculator and moves on. Anno 2012 it is USELESS and a WASTE of TIME to even do such things by hand .

Quote
Does the IC designer know the intricacies of characterizing his IC and debugging it in the lab?
And how do you expect your engineers to ever learn from their mistakes ?
And if you work where i do , yes , as an ic designer you WILL sit in the lab and debug your own brainfarts, or prepare to be shown the front door. We have no room foor stiff upper lip, nose in the wind, people that think they are better than others becasue they have a (fake) mahogany framed piece of paper stuck eon their wall. the silicon doesn't lie. You may have a whole wall of diploma's, if your piece of silicon you produced does not work you are still a bad engineer .
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 02:25:29 am by vxp036000 »
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #67 on: April 29, 2012, 02:26:47 am »
And let's talk about square roots.  If it's so useless to know how to compute a square root, how about you design a CMOS processor that computes a square root?  Now what are you going to do? 
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #68 on: April 29, 2012, 02:47:38 am »
And let's talk about square roots.  If it's so useless to know how to compute a square root, how about you design a CMOS processor that computes a square root?  Now what are you going to do?

You grab the square root IP block from the design library and implement it.
Or ,  you google 'square root algorithm verilog' , and chuck it through the synthesizer. move on. why do you want to keep reinventing the bloody wheel ? Now, if you are after developing a whole new algorithm to do square root , be my guest , But you'll have a hard time defending it to the boss why you want to spend time making a square root generator if we already have on in the IP pool , can find one on opencores and has been proven to be correct.

You are not an island... there is other people in your cmpany, and outside of it. they may have solved the problem. use and re-use... Invent, not re-invent.

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There's nothing fake about a four to eight year degree in circuit design
That's correct , but do not expect people to kiss the ground you walk on because you have a piece of paper with a shining star on it ... The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Good cooks always taste and eat their own stuff. Really great cooks don't need a recepy. And most of the food was invented by people that did not have a formal training as a cook.

Edison, Tesla, Galvani, Ohm , Ampere , Volta , Farnsworth, DeForest, Marconi and more recently Jim Williams (RIP). None of them had a paper with shining star. And 99.99999999999% of those with a shining star are never going to do what those 'paperless' guys did. They won't even come close. Not in a million years.
So get off your throne and do something useful. Then we'll talk.

And don't compare doctors to engineers... not in things where life is involved.. if you fuck up as an angineer you take a new board or you reboot. If you fuck up as a doctor... you killed someone.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 02:50:51 am by free_electron »
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Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #69 on: April 29, 2012, 02:55:01 am »
Umm, your design library doesn't have a square root compatible with your process.  It has flips flops, NOR gates, NAND gates, and MUX's.  And what happens when your copied square root design doesn't work?  Since you know nothing about how it works, good luck trying to fix it.

And performance?  You're only given x number of clock cycles to execute your square root operation.  It needs x digits of accuracy.  It needs to fit in this physical area, meet some power requirements, I/O requirements...  People talk about synthesizers like they're a god-send.  I can't tell you how many times we've seen the synthesizer screw up and you get to fix the design.  Automated layout?  Not on a mixed signal IC.  Yup, copy and paste.  Let's see how far you get with that.

By the way, in the field I work, a small design error will kill someone in a heartbeat.  So yes, it is very comparable to a doctor's work.

With respect to school, no one walks out of school without at least a handful of working designs, at least not where I graduated.  So yes, it demonstrates more ability than you would like to admit. 
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 03:11:21 am by vxp036000 »
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #70 on: April 29, 2012, 02:59:59 am »
You grab the square root IP block from the design library and implement it.
Or ,  you google 'square root algorithm verilog' , and chuck it through the synthesizer. move on. why do you want to keep reinventing the bloody wheel ? Now, if you are after developing a whole new algorithm to do square root , be my guest , But you'll have a hard time defending it to the boss why you want to spend time making a square root generator if we already have on in the IP pool , can find one on opencores and has been proven to be correct.

All of that is true of course. But one should also be open minded. Even something as straightforward as a square root calculation has been reinvented when special requirements necessitated:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_inverse_square_root

In most cases one should look to what exists, but occasionally creativity is warranted.
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Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #71 on: April 29, 2012, 03:28:50 am »
I like how no one has pointed out the tech that invented amplifier pre-distortion techniques, built the first HD infrared CCD, defined the architecture for the AMD FX-4100... Oh, that's right.  It was done by folks who went through 6 to 8 years of school studying the worthless theory.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #72 on: April 29, 2012, 03:37:46 am »
Quote
design library doesn't have a square root compatible with your process
You can synthesize logic in ANY process. Even in an analog process. All you need is 3 primitives. NOT , AND OR. Everything else can be constructed from those when it comes to digital.  A single transistor forms a not gate , and gates can be made in wired-logic with diodes if needed. Square root is an algorithm a trained monkey can execute. I don't know how it works. I never had the need , nor the desire to find out. If the need ever arises i will look up 'square root algorithm' , read it and code it up. Knowing how to do it is irrelevant. it's a party trick. nothing else. useless knowledge. Besides, if i ever catch an engineer coding up a square root algortihm i'll fire him. That is a trivial job that can easily be done by a tech...

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what happens when your copied square root design doesn't work
Then you were too stupid to verify it works and pick a working one and you should not be an engineer ! You use proven designs. Cadence, Mentor and other IP vendors will happily supply...

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And performance?  You're only given x number of clock cycles to execute your square root operation.  It needs x digits of accuracy.  It needs to fit in this physical area, meet some power requirements, I/O requirements...  Yup, copy and paste.  Let's see how far you get with that.
For any given algorithm you will need x clock cycles. can't go faster than that. no point in trying. As for area , same thing. if a flipflop is 1 square millimeter in your process and you need 10 flipflops you need 10 square millimeter + x amount of routing space. if the boss tells you you only get 5 square milliemter .. bad luck it can't be done. You can try until the cats come home.
As for power requirements , I/O requirements. same as above. if you need 8 datalines and you only have 4 you will have to cook up some mulitplexing scheme and you will incur a speed penalty. And if every mos has x gate charge and y leakage you will be wasting x electrons per clock cycle. Multiply by clock speed and you know consumption. The formulas are known , The lab has characterised all cells for your given process and it is all fed in the design library. You don't even need a calculator, the design tool will tell you. If it can't be done you will have to either shrink technology, get lower leakage technology, drop supply voltage. You can't bend the laws of physics.

None of the problems you mentioned require you to know how a square root algorithm works. Knowing how the algorithm works is IRRELEVANT in al those cases. (maybe you could give them to your tech. He'll know how to do it)

Here's another slapper : ( i went back through the thread .... )
Quote
What I disapprove of is how a lot of techs can't accept that they don't have the same understanding of electronics as an EE. 

What i disapprove off is engineers that think techs are a lower life form to be treated with disrespect and disdain. And especially disapprove of engineers that think that techs could never have a greater understanding of EE than their 'engineer overlords'. Real engineers do not look down on, or consider themselves 'better than'. They work alongside.
Engineers need to know and accept that techs know things that engineers don't and vice versa. They collaborate... they don't piss on each other (friendly bantering aside)

So get off your throne... you are making a fool of yourself.

as for  :
You would get laughed at trying to work at a place like that with an undergraduate degree or lower.

Nobody in SV (silicon Valley) looks down on you if you don't have a formal degree. It's how many successfull designs you have, how many products are sold or used every single day that contain your design or idea and how much money they bring in for the company that matters. Heck , half of the companies out here were started by degree-less people...

What does get frowned upon is thinking you are better because you got a ribbon in school....

Quote
I like how no one has pointed out the techs

- that have to fix all the crap the golden ribbon engineers produce so it actually works. those are the real heroes.

or the techs that made the first board for the untested silicon, debug the non-working chip, found the internally misconnected reset line (one block was active high, the other active low. the 'engineers' forgot an inverter...) , did a cut with the laser on the naked die , plunked a probe needle on it to set the reset line to the right level, got the crystal oscillator to run and found the bug in the mask-rom bootloader , patched it , so the software people could go on and write software...

DO NOT TALK DOWN ON TECHS !
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 03:45:55 am by free_electron »
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Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #73 on: April 29, 2012, 03:43:07 am »
Again, more name calling.  I'm not saying techs aren't needed.  I never said that EEs knew everything that techs do.  I did say that EEs know some things that techs do not.  And you still haven't answered my questions about the techs that invented the things I already mentioned.  What techs are working in R&D doing design at Google, Agilent Labs, and all the other tech hot spots? 

So when you don't meet the area, I/O, power specs because your copied design doesn't meet it, you tell your customer it's not possible?  Hah, I'll jump in and blow their minimum requirements right out of the water using my own algorithm / architecture.  Now you lost a customer to your competitor.

One more point: at least in my country, it is almost impossible to get an engineering job without a degree.  And if you want to design circuits, it's a minimum of an MS. That's what the employers are looking for and there is a reason for it.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 03:56:41 am by vxp036000 »
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #74 on: April 29, 2012, 04:17:03 am »
Again, more name calling.
pot calling kettle black. You started it !

Quote
the techs that invented the things I already mentioned.
so ... that's three things for the engineers... how many things where invented by techs ?. ( see my list of 'great names'. they were all without 'engineering degree' , yet they were the biggest inventors of all time. There wouldn't be any 'electronic engineering' if it weren't for the degree-less trailblazers...
Bill gates ? The two steve's that started that 'fruity' company ?
Even einstein didn't have a degree. I dare you to top that !

Quote
  What techs are working in R&D doing design at Google, Agilent Labs, and all the other tech hot spots? 

Come down here and i'll introduce you to a whole bunch. I have been in electronics all my life (19 years professionally now) . I do work in Silicon valley, I am part of a design team that makes mixed signal silicon with production numbers that top 1 million devices a day. People trust their family pictures to it. Google has massive buildings full of these devices, each with one of these chips on board. Been doing that for seven years. The 12 years prior to that i worked on DSL technology before people knew what that was. I was part of the team that made the first working modem. Got the line matching hybrid to work right, did the pcb design (very tricky one. lots of calculations to get impedances correct, flight times, matched line lengths etc.. the engineers were scared of that.. pcb design was unknown territory for them..) , got the first cached ARM to run (the above mentioned tech that found and fixed the misconnected reset line in the silicon was me...) . I rewrote the entire bootloader (after fixing the bug in the first one and finding out it was still total crap). Every DSL CO modem chip uses that bootloader. It is now the standard. Subsequent silicon releases implemented the logic to interconnect ARM DSP memory and the other blocks that i first had designed and hand built using TTL chips on breadboard and proven it worked. They also use the mulitport memory architecture i devised to pump up throughput.

Not bad for someone that quit school at 18, does not have a formal degree, has a job as senior staff engineer and does R&D on new technology. I go all over the world teaching and helping other engineers and techs use and design in these devices. I help them troubleshoot their designs ( even if it has nothing to do with my device, but with the system in general ). I never get this let's talk down on the tech attitude. Not in the US, not in Asia, not in India. It's only some stuck-up european countries that think the world of themselves. Yes, i am from europe myself so i can say this. Certain european countries have made it their engineers culture to piss on anything and anyone that does not have a framed piece of paper. It is ladled on in their schools and universities.

So yeah, it brushes me the wrong way whenever i hear 'engineers' talk down on 'techs'. Techs have nothing to be ashamed of and should be treated with respect.

So come on down, and i'll introduce you to some 'techs'. But leave your attitude home ( or make sure you wear an asbestos overcoat.... it may heat up very quickly ).

Quote
Hah, I'll jump in and blow their minimum requirements right out of the water using my own algorithm / architecture. 
hold it.... 'your' algorithm ?  We were talking about the algorithm you learned in school.... it'll be pretty much useless.. Inbetween the time you learned it and now there are probably better/faster algorithms ot there than that old thing. So it is still useless. a party trick. Nothing more.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 04:30:54 am by free_electron »
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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.
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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.
Nothing sings like a kilovolt.
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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?

 
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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!

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  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?

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


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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!


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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.


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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?

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

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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?

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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.

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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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Offline Rufus

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #100 on: May 04, 2012, 12:58:22 am »
But, strong social skills combined with technical ability make for a deadly combination.

You must have excellent technical abilities in that case.....
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #101 on: May 04, 2012, 01:01:15 am »
I'll make it very simple.  I have a choice of buying from two reputable companies at the same price.  Company A is managed by a tech that insists that he is every bit as good as the guy with the PhD.  Company B is managed by the guy with the PhD in his field.  I'm going to go with the guy with the PhD.  He has demonstrated superior contributions to expanding understanding of his field in addition to providing an equal product.

My customers are the same way.  I prefer to be on equal or better footing than my customer.  It garners respect (clearly not from you).
 

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #102 on: May 04, 2012, 01:03:57 am »
He has demonstrated superior contributions to expanding understanding of his field
Take your hand off it, before you leave stains on the walls of your cubicle!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 01:12:33 am by Uncle Vernon »
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #103 on: May 04, 2012, 01:06:08 am »
I actually deliver a product.  Please explain how this is a facade.  What I call a facade is saying, hey, look at all my experience assembling boards, I'm an EE!  Techs are not EEs; they assemble and test what someone else has engineered.

You have a choice to work with the system or against it.  Some of you have clearly decided to go against it.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it limits your options (in pay, employment opportunities, and independance) more than you'd like to admit.

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'
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 01:11:57 am by vxp036000 »
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #104 on: May 04, 2012, 01:33:40 am »
I actually deliver a product.
So does the rear end of a horse!

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Please explain how this is a facade.
delivering a product of little or no value perhaps? Even the horse can manage a product that is good for the roses.

Quote
What I call a facade is
You can call a donkey a chicken for all we care. Just quit demanding everyone else must adopt your illusions.

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saying, hey, look at all my experience assembling boards,
You clearly have no knowledge what a tech (or for that matter a good engineer) actually does. Do you?

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I'm an EE!
No your not! Real EEs don't hide behind certificate or place marketing ahead of ability. You're rapidly proving your no engineer at all.

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they assemble and test what someone else has engineered.
Assemble? You couldn't be more clueless if you tried.

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You have a choice to work with the system or against it.
The system? Which system is this? The market place? The industry? The "one time at band camp" references to your country?

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Some of you have clearly decided to go against it.
What most have decided is that attitudes like yours are misguided.

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There's nothing wrong with that, but it limits your options
Hasn't limited my options, or those of free_electron, or those our forum host or those of any number of other highly respected professionals.

Quote
more than you'd like to admit.
You sit in your cubicle and you keep believing that. Walter Mitty rides again!
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #105 on: May 04, 2012, 01:40:48 am »
I actually deliver a product.  Please explain how this is a facade.  What I call a facade is saying, hey, look at all my experience assembling boards, I'm an EE!  Techs are not EEs; they assemble and test what someone else has engineered.

No,my friend,those people are called "Assemblers"!
As I said earlier,outside the rather artificial constraints of a production environment,"Technicians" do a lot more than that,such as commissioning, high level maintenance, testing,troubleshooting & repair of complex Electronic systems.
Have you ever had to find a fault in a TV Studio Video Tape Recorder" or a Vision Mixing Unit,do a path loss determination for an OB link?
Repair a High Power Radio or TV Transmitter,or a Microwave Link?
Do "First-In" maintenance on Diesel Standby Plant?
OtherTechs repair & test Hearing Aids,repair & calibrate Audiometers, or repair University Scientific equipment.
Some indeed,design stuff,others yet, start successful businesses ,like Uncle Vernon!


You have a choice to work with the system or against it.  Some of you have clearly decided to go against it.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it limits your options (in pay, employment opportunities, and independance) more than you'd like to admit.

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'

Bugger! I didn't want to get back into this! ;D
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #106 on: May 04, 2012, 01:43:36 am »
Yes, in my country, techs assemble, test boards, and repair them.  Testing and troubleshooting. Nothing more, nothing less.  Most techs are given little, if any, independence in the workplace, although I commend those that do. 

I think we are getting back to the same place we were earlier.  The EE designs a product and the tech worries about assembly, test, troubleshooting, etc.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 01:49:15 am by vxp036000 »
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #107 on: May 04, 2012, 02:17:45 am »
Yes, in my country, techs assemble, test boards, and repair them.  Testing and troubleshooting. Nothing more, nothing less.  Most techs are given little, if any, independence in the workplace, although I commend those that do. 

I think we are getting back to the same place we were earlier.  The EE designs a product and the tech worries about assembly, test, troubleshooting, etc.
I suggest you substitute " In my present workplace",for "in my Country".

Who do you really think does all the stuff I referred to in your own country?
There are many thousands of people in your country who are certainly what we would call "Technicians " in my country,in that they do not have a Degree qualification who do a lot more than in your "job description"!

Personally,I have never called myself an "Engineer",& have discouraged others from calling me one as I consider that an "Engineer " is the Degree qualified person who may have designed the systems I work on.

I have done most of the stuff which I enumerated in the previous posting,& I would suggest most people of similar Technical education will have done the same.

Any person,let alone Techs or EEs,will have horror stories of products which were designed by qualified Engineers,as well as praise for the well engineered products.
''The "All hail the great Engineering graduate" attitude grates on people,especially when you seem to be quite naive about the way the Engineering world is organised outside your own current job.
 

Offline Rufus

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #108 on: May 04, 2012, 02:55:31 am »
The EE designs a product and the tech worries about assembly, test, troubleshooting, etc.

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.

I design products which makes me an EE. I don't have a degree which makes me not an EE.

Resolve this paradox of your making, or, just pretend I don't exist.
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #109 on: May 04, 2012, 03:05:35 am »
No paradox at all.  An EE holds, at minimum, a four year degree.  Design jobs are generally reserved for EEs.  Having worked with numerous clients around the country, I can say that I'm certainly not alone in saying that few companies employ techs in a design role.  I personally would never have a tech design a circuit, nor would most other employers.  I suspect the only reason a tech would be designing products is because of budget concerns, which to my mind, reaks of mismanagement. 

I also find it rather interesting that most of the folks bashing a college education are the same people that don't have one.  This is no different than the owner of a Peugot bashing BMW.  I have not found a single EE degree holder that did not find their degree to be an excellent investment.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 03:17:52 am by vxp036000 »
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #110 on: May 04, 2012, 03:26:07 am »
An EE holds, at minimum, a four year degree.
No a minimum of four years is required to complete an institutional engineering qualification. Nothing to do with what is required to be a good or practicing EE.

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Design jobs are generally reserved for EEs.
In your cubicle, they may be. Real world results exhibit a somewhat different outcome.

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Having worked with numerous clients around the country
Numerous eh, I can meet numerous customers at a trade show, hardly indicative of an entire industry.

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I can say that I'm certainly not alone in saying that few companies employ techs in a design role.
I'm sure you'll find many talentless goons that will support your elitist ramblings. Still wont make the assertion a correct one.

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I personally would never have a tech design a circuit
Then you "personally" aren't much of an engineer or much of a manager!

Quote
nor would most other employers.
Except the thousands of notable exceptions. In your world Apple would be IBM.

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I suspect the only reason a tech would be designing products is because of budget concerns,
I suspect you are a condescending w**ker.

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which to my mind, reaks of mismanagement.
Just as well your mind has little or no sphere of influence then. Isn't it!
[/quote]
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #111 on: May 04, 2012, 04:07:02 am »
now, after all the heated namecalling :) a bit of real-life ...

Here is a scenario i have firsthand...

A group of people , let's call them a 'soldering guy' , a highly skilled troubleshooting person , someone who knows how to layout perfect boards (pass emc testing first time right , perfect signal integrity throughout the board. ) and another person who is a 'serious hobbyist' but has no 'official credentials'. So this group of 4 people , each with about 15 years+ of experience, and having cobbled up and delivered numerous perfectly working prototypes, get a new manager.
This manager is fresh out of school with an 8 year degree ( he had a MSEE and a PHD in electronics) ... is going to lead this team. And oh boy, does he take charge...

First meeting we have , with a big customer out of scandinavia , makes mobile phones you know... , anyway. first meeting we have there is a couple of questions on the reference PCB layout and why we place the decoupling capacitors in specific regions. The customer had some concerns since his board real estate is at a premium and wants some advice to see if we can optimize it a bit. In the same meeting are the 2 people that designed the silicon (both of them ALSO holding PHD's but with each about 20 years of hands on design experience under the belt. The Silicon people give us the numbers of total capacitance they need and designed for. The layout person explains his strategy and the people that built and tuned the prototype assembly explain how they tuned the capacitors to get the correct result.

Before any of us can react , mr freshly minted 'manager' blurts out. But ? you have a mulitlayer board . Why don't you just put parts on inner layers . that should solve your area concerns ..

Now you have to image these two big scandinavian blokes with a heavy accent belching out this guttural laugh .... and keep going at it for about a full minute.

There were a couple of other 'accidents' like that in the next few months.
Like the time we were tasked with cost-optimizing a design. there was some glue logic required and mr super-phd came up with a schematic requiring no less than 9 different ic's. Most of them half used... So the 'techies' 'below' went over it and came up with a cleaner solution and some clevernesslike building an Or gate out of a couple of leftover nand gates ( you know , like using a nand to build an inverter and inverting the inputs of another nand that way. you do the boolean math , i have posted this as an example question when i have to interview potential candidates for employment )

Anyway. mr super phd cannot be convinced that this will work. he has to model it in VHDL and run it through the simulator to double check. At which point i formulated a nice banner to put above the door of the lab: 'more TTL, less VHDL'

You know where all these people are today ? they all Quit  , work for a different company. That group shut down and mr nitwit .. eh .. manager , now works in his parents restaurant as a server ...

So here is my question : you have a company. Who are you going to hire ? Mr blundering 'phd magna cum laude' that has no clue how a board is made and makes a total jackass of himself in front of the customer , or the  person with 15 years expierence , multiple technical patents (we're not talking design patents foolery here... these are things that sit in mass production...) to his name, having given presentations at ISCC , IMEKO , TCEE and other leading international conventions, has been published in multiple leading circulars such as IEEE magazine , elseviers Journal of computer standards and interfaces , and others. But , no officalized ' blue ribbon' ?

Tough decision ?

I know which i want ... a 1 year 'real-life' degree is worth a ten year university degree..
 
If that country you live in , or company you work for cannot come to the same conclusion ... well ... it's in a very very sad state of affairs... and it deserves to go under... real fast.


The proof of the pudding is in the eating. being able to recant the recipy after 8 years of study does not make you a good cook.... and if you make a fool of yourself by letting the milk boil over, burn your fingers on the hot whisk and setting the entire kitchen on fire on your first day , while making excuses like 'boiling milk' is for 'sous-chefs' and putting out fires is for firemen will get you very quickly where you need to be : on your behind , in the gutter while it's pouring rain.

The title 'engineer' should be something that is post-humeously, or post-retirement if you want to avoid only having dead engineers :) , awarded to people with a proven track record. Not after school. There you should get a nice certificate that you struggled through the paperwork. But then , for each one with 'known' and 'published' stuff there are so many that never get their 5 minutes of fame. Because they prefer to slave away in their little corner in the lab.

stuff to think about ....

it does you no good having a company with 25 phd's dreaming up the most fantasic stuff , but nobody to actually build it because they can't stand the superiority complex...

So , again : do not 'talk down' to the techs. You need them. Treat them with respect and they will respect you, each in his own field , with a lot of overlap. Pull them in on design meetings and listen to what they have to say. They can anticipate problems down the line that you could not even begine to imagine because you never go down that far ... In the end you will have a harmonious working environment that is very productive and delivers first class products.

and, most importantyl , do not seed topics like 'people without 'official credentials' sould not call themselves 'engineers'.
If it walks like a duck , quacks like a duck and looks like a duck , it is , for all intents and purposes a duck ! ( until you can prove otherwise. and no , killing it and throwing it on the barbeque to see if it tastes like duck is NOT an acceptable test ! )
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 04:35:58 am by free_electron »
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #112 on: May 04, 2012, 04:39:56 pm »
The manager you describe is one of the "low-hanging fruit" on the scale of folks with a PhD.  And I would like to know specifically what his PhD was in.  Someone with a PhD in IC design isn't going to be familiar with PCBs.  Same for the PhD in signal processing.  At least with my school, no one with a PhD in RF / mixed signal design could even fathom making the bone-headed decisions you described.  Why?  Because they've design, built, and characterized those same kinds of boards in school (any reputable school, that is).  Yes, sometimes people do manage to get through school without learning anything practical circuits, but it is far from the norm.  At the end of the day, the only folks without the degree are those that aren't dedicated enough to the field to make it worth their while or simply aren't bright enough.  With most employers paying for up through a graduate degree, there is little reason not to get the paper.

now, after all the heated namecalling :) a bit of real-life ...

Here is a scenario i have firsthand...

A group of people , let's call them a 'soldering guy' , a highly skilled troubleshooting person , someone who knows how to layout perfect boards (pass emc testing first time right , perfect signal integrity throughout the board. ) and another person who is a 'serious hobbyist' but has no 'official credentials'. So this group of 4 people , each with about 15 years+ of experience, and having cobbled up and delivered numerous perfectly working prototypes, get a new manager.
This manager is fresh out of school with an 8 year degree ( he had a MSEE and a PHD in electronics) ... is going to lead this team. And oh boy, does he take charge...

First meeting we have , with a big customer out of scandinavia , makes mobile phones you know... , anyway. first meeting we have there is a couple of questions on the reference PCB layout and why we place the decoupling capacitors in specific regions. The customer had some concerns since his board real estate is at a premium and wants some advice to see if we can optimize it a bit. In the same meeting are the 2 people that designed the silicon (both of them ALSO holding PHD's but with each about 20 years of hands on design experience under the belt. The Silicon people give us the numbers of total capacitance they need and designed for. The layout person explains his strategy and the people that built and tuned the prototype assembly explain how they tuned the capacitors to get the correct result.

Before any of us can react , mr freshly minted 'manager' blurts out. But ? you have a mulitlayer board . Why don't you just put parts on inner layers . that should solve your area concerns ..

Now you have to image these two big scandinavian blokes with a heavy accent belching out this guttural laugh .... and keep going at it for about a full minute.

There were a couple of other 'accidents' like that in the next few months.
Like the time we were tasked with cost-optimizing a design. there was some glue logic required and mr super-phd came up with a schematic requiring no less than 9 different ic's. Most of them half used... So the 'techies' 'below' went over it and came up with a cleaner solution and some clevernesslike building an Or gate out of a couple of leftover nand gates ( you know , like using a nand to build an inverter and inverting the inputs of another nand that way. you do the boolean math , i have posted this as an example question when i have to interview potential candidates for employment )

Anyway. mr super phd cannot be convinced that this will work. he has to model it in VHDL and run it through the simulator to double check. At which point i formulated a nice banner to put above the door of the lab: 'more TTL, less VHDL'

You know where all these people are today ? they all Quit  , work for a different company. That group shut down and mr nitwit .. eh .. manager , now works in his parents restaurant as a server ...

So here is my question : you have a company. Who are you going to hire ? Mr blundering 'phd magna cum laude' that has no clue how a board is made and makes a total jackass of himself in front of the customer , or the  person with 15 years expierence , multiple technical patents (we're not talking design patents foolery here... these are things that sit in mass production...) to his name, having given presentations at ISCC , IMEKO , TCEE and other leading international conventions, has been published in multiple leading circulars such as IEEE magazine , elseviers Journal of computer standards and interfaces , and others. But , no officalized ' blue ribbon' ?

Tough decision ?

I know which i want ... a 1 year 'real-life' degree is worth a ten year university degree..
 
If that country you live in , or company you work for cannot come to the same conclusion ... well ... it's in a very very sad state of affairs... and it deserves to go under... real fast.


The proof of the pudding is in the eating. being able to recant the recipy after 8 years of study does not make you a good cook.... and if you make a fool of yourself by letting the milk boil over, burn your fingers on the hot whisk and setting the entire kitchen on fire on your first day , while making excuses like 'boiling milk' is for 'sous-chefs' and putting out fires is for firemen will get you very quickly where you need to be : on your behind , in the gutter while it's pouring rain.

The title 'engineer' should be something that is post-humeously, or post-retirement if you want to avoid only having dead engineers :) , awarded to people with a proven track record. Not after school. There you should get a nice certificate that you struggled through the paperwork. But then , for each one with 'known' and 'published' stuff there are so many that never get their 5 minutes of fame. Because they prefer to slave away in their little corner in the lab.

stuff to think about ....

it does you no good having a company with 25 phd's dreaming up the most fantasic stuff , but nobody to actually build it because they can't stand the superiority complex...

So , again : do not 'talk down' to the techs. You need them. Treat them with respect and they will respect you, each in his own field , with a lot of overlap. Pull them in on design meetings and listen to what they have to say. They can anticipate problems down the line that you could not even begine to imagine because you never go down that far ... In the end you will have a harmonious working environment that is very productive and delivers first class products.

and, most importantyl , do not seed topics like 'people without 'official credentials' sould not call themselves 'engineers'.
If it walks like a duck , quacks like a duck and looks like a duck , it is , for all intents and purposes a duck ! ( until you can prove otherwise. and no , killing it and throwing it on the barbeque to see if it tastes like duck is NOT an acceptable test ! )
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #113 on: May 04, 2012, 05:31:59 pm »
At the end of the day, the only folks without the degree are those that aren't dedicated enough to the field to make it worth their while or simply aren't bright enough.
Really ? So that is your end conclusion ?

his proves once more there are no limits to human stupididty...


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Offline Rufus

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #114 on: May 04, 2012, 07:30:52 pm »
At the end of the day, the only folks without the degree are those that aren't dedicated enough to the field to make it worth their while or simply aren't bright enough.
Really ? So that is your end conclusion ?

You would think someone claiming to be a Beemer amongst engineers would have a better understanding of logical fallacy.
 

Offline A Hellene

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #115 on: May 04, 2012, 09:01:40 pm »
This is some food for thought:

vxp036000, if you paid for university courses on superiority attitudes, I am afraid that your investment was more than fruitful. If you paid for university courses on anything else, I am also afraid that you were probably scammed and you should consider asking them for a refund or repeating these courses...

That is because real knowledge is usually accompanied by delicacy and modesty; only the illusion of knowledge (which actually is lack of knowledge) comes with an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions. Arrogance is defined as an insulting way of thinking or behaving, which comes from the belief that someone is better, smarter, or more important than other people.

This is an excerpt from something I have written in another discussions board:
Quote
Education: There are all sorts of filtering devices to get rid of people who think independently, starting from the kindergarten and going all the way up to the university. People who don't adjust to the structure, who don't accept it and internalize, are likely to be weeded out along the way. If you finally make it to an elite institution, like the Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc. (that depends on outside sources of support such as private wealth, big corporations with grants, and the government), you will go through a kind of socialization: They will teach you how to behave like a member of the upper classes, how to think the right thoughts, and so on. But, you will never be taught how to recognize the actual bits of information from a propaganda: "Your base has to belong to them."
In a few words, education is a widely acceptable and a desirable means of conditioning the people to be functioning in a strictly controlled fashion, under the pretext of "gaining knowledge." Two and a half millennia ago, our ancient forefathers documented in great detail these methods of creating willful bondmen, in the Allegory of the Noble Lie. Today, these methods are euphemistically called Social Engineering. Does the two and a half millennia old Allegory of The Cave (also documented by the same author) remind of our contemporary indoctrination machines called the TV and the Cinema, which the vast majority of the people globally think of as beneficial sources of news, education and entertainment? This is another excerpt from the same message, I linked to previously:
Quote
Question: How many movie titles are you aware of, that were really meant to sharpen your critical thinking? Almost every movie title available, goes through the same pattern: Introducing the problem and serving the solution -either directly or indirectly: Bed time stories for little children... In the long run, you are actually being conditioned not to be searching for answers, but to wait for them to be served to you. You will need to try really hard to find a title that leaves the spectator or the reader with no answers provided, in order to start them thinking.

If we are making the people smart enough to be pressing the right buttons in the right order but dumb enough for anything else, this is not education; it is conditioning. If we are making the people able to memorise anything required in order to receive paper qualifications, but also unable of thinking on their own, this is not education; it is conditioning. If we are making our pets to be doing somersaults on demand, this is not education; it is conditioning.

After all, creativity is not something that can be taught or be given; it can only be earned...

To push this even further, has anyone ever considered the possibility of the Education/Academic Degrees being distinctions of the degree-holders as better assets for the tax-farms they belong to? Better assets, in comparison to the non-degree holders?


-George
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 09:15:11 pm by A Hellene »
Hi! This is George; and I am three and a half years old!
(This was one of my latest realisations, now in my early fifties!...)
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #116 on: May 04, 2012, 09:26:32 pm »
My experience has been that upper level educational institutions encourage out-of-the-box thinking far more than any other environment.  I might add that no one can make it through a graduate school based on memorization.  Cheating, possibly, but not memorization.  Heck, the instructors even handed out a cheat sheet with the basic formulas.  Why?  They knew that the exams required critical thinking skills, not memorization.  Those who tried to memorize their way through school never made it passed the first few classes.  The test questions that showed up were, for example, circuit configurations that none of the students had seen before and were asked to characterize.  This doesn't require memorization, it requires understanding how to analyze a circuit.  And what better way to demonstrate that than show a crazy design that looks completely different than anything in the book?

On one of our final exams, the instructor gave us the schematic of an audio amplifier (mixed BJT and MOS, at that) from an IC he designed.  Not sure how that could be considered impractical.

Most of you have also overlooked the fact the most of the grade in graduate school is based on real-world projects; i.e., designing, building, and characterizing circuits.  You could ace the exams and fail a class because you messed up a design.  Your statements primarily apply to undergraduate schools, and poor ones at that.

And you know why the degree holder's make better assets to the tax farms?  They have considerably higher income.  In my country, the average tech makes $40 k.  The average PhD EE: $110 k.  For some reason, companies think the guy with the PhD is more valueable.  Who would have guessed...
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 09:32:40 pm by vxp036000 »
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #117 on: May 04, 2012, 09:58:11 pm »
Btw, free_electron and A. Hellene, I respect your opinions because you guys have been very rational in this discussion, although we hold very different viewpoints.  The rest of you could learn something from these two.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 10:00:02 pm by vxp036000 »
 

Offline Ajahn Lambda

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #118 on: May 04, 2012, 09:59:54 pm »
[ quote from deleted post removed ]
***



What's your deal, dude?  I removed my post because I thought it was disrespectful, and I admit that.  I never threatened you or anything of the sort, but what you're doing is very immature. 


I still think your statement was foolish; didn't it ever occur to you that there are other, external factors in a human being's life?  Mental illness?  Pregnancy?  Cancer?  Or are you in complete control of your genetics and environment?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 12:39:27 am by GeoffS »
I am not a smatr poney.
 

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #119 on: May 05, 2012, 12:08:12 am »
The rest of you could learn something from these two.
That is the difference between other respondents and you! Most here can and will continue to learn. We learn of each other, learn off those with more experience and  those with different experience. The day you stop learning is the day you need to book a funeral.

You on the other hand have learnt nothing! Eight years of university and you've learnt nothing other than how to behave like an elitist prat!

You haven't earned any respect here, quite the opposite. Within a few posts most have written you of as a tool. And yet you crave their respect, this must eat you out.  The keyboard warrior threats of legal action really do mark you out as one of life's losers!

You can talk at others all you like they all stop listening after two or three posts, no one has time for a jackass, other than to call their nonsense for a few milliseconds of Internet pleasure.

So without further notice, to help satiate your cravings for recognition, I nominate vxp036000 as "2012 Internet Tool among Tools" (Elitist Prat Division).  Why not toddle off now an threaten some kiddies, you and your attitude will not be missed by anyone here, you pitiful W**ker!
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #120 on: May 05, 2012, 12:40:06 am »
Not looking for respect.  But, "complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old" rings very true for folks that actually put the time and effort into a degree.

Seriously, vxp036000 is obviously a giant troll even if that isn't his intent. This thread just needs to end and stop stirring the pot for absolutely zero tangible gain.
 

Offline jerry507

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #121 on: May 05, 2012, 12:50:45 am »
You need to step outside your own little experience with this world. The "broken educational system" is indeed broken. Your employer will not given two craps that you personally put in a bunch of effort to get a degree. He expects you to work and be profitable. From this angle, the educational system IS broken from the perspective of most businesses. While you may graduate and be quite useful right off the bat (I understand your POV, I also had a huge amount of practical experience coming out of school), it's certainly not common for this to happen. Universities did deliver graduates with practical skills some time ago, and that has generally ceased to happen. There can be no debate about that.

I am as puzzled as you how this turned into a giant bitchfest between engineers and techs, because that has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of engineering graduates. The skills Dave and others have talked about are absolutely required knowledge of any well rounded engineer. And if you don't believe that to be the case, you are useful only in large companies that can afford to have a lot of niche people. Engineers are WIDELY employed in places where this isn't the case, and even in large companies you can easily find yourself in a situation where you don't have access to those people either easily or quickly. It just pays to know how to do this stuff.

Above all else you must realize that Dave et al aren't saying YOU, vxp036000, are a trash engineer who isn't worth a damn. They're saying the theoretical mean engineering graduate isn't nearly what he (and for sure she as they existed in far smaller numbers) used to be.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #122 on: May 05, 2012, 12:54:18 am »
put the time and effort into a degree.
Why not put some time and effort into manners and humility! Never know, with  effort it could actually gain you some of that respect you crave!

 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #123 on: May 05, 2012, 01:07:26 am »
I'm not sure that schools have degraded as much as you say.  It's certainly true that there are good schools and those that aren't so good.  I think ultimately students get exactly as much out of school as they put into it.  Someone who graduated from, say, MIT or Purdue, by putting in the minimum effort will not be much better off than someone that didn't go to school.  But, someone who puts everything and then some into learning as much as possible from the school, will likely end up better off for it. 

What do you propose as a solution?  There will always be those that are motivated to learn and those that are there just to get a decent job.  I suppose raising the standards couldn't hurt, but now you're trying to cram even more into an already fast paced four year degree.

I'm not discarding the practical aspects of engineering.  But it is very possible to learn this as well as the theoretical side of things from a university.  And it is probably easier for most students to learn this way than on their own.  Have you tried teaching yourself electromagnetic?  It isn't easy.  I think it is extremely important to have both practical skills as well as a strong understanding of the physics; if nothing else, it allows you to see past most of the marketing BS that is floating around nowadays, whether it be some super-efficient high Q antenna, temp sensing diodes (don't even get me started, they aren't diodes at all!), and the list goes on.  That's not to say that some of these creations aren't useful, but someone with solely a practical background completely misunderstood the results they were getting.  Yes, I will admit that some degreed folks fall into the same trap, and I have little respect for them either.

You need to step outside your own little experience with this world. The "broken educational system" is indeed broken. Your employer will not given two craps that you personally put in a bunch of effort to get a degree. He expects you to work and be profitable. From this angle, the educational system IS broken from the perspective of most businesses. While you may graduate and be quite useful right off the bat (I understand your POV, I also had a huge amount of practical experience coming out of school), it's certainly not common for this to happen. Universities did deliver graduates with practical skills some time ago, and that has generally ceased to happen. There can be no debate about that.

I am as puzzled as you how this turned into a giant bitchfest between engineers and techs, because that has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of engineering graduates. The skills Dave and others have talked about are absolutely required knowledge of any well rounded engineer. And if you don't believe that to be the case, you are useful only in large companies that can afford to have a lot of niche people. Engineers are WIDELY employed in places where this isn't the case, and even in large companies you can easily find yourself in a situation where you don't have access to those people either easily or quickly. It just pays to know how to do this stuff.

Above all else you must realize that Dave et al aren't saying YOU, vxp036000, are a trash engineer who isn't worth a damn. They're saying the theoretical mean engineering graduate isn't nearly what he (and for sure she as they existed in far smaller numbers) used to be.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 01:24:11 am by vxp036000 »
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #124 on: May 05, 2012, 06:34:35 am »
The manager you describe is one of the "low-hanging fruit" on the scale of folks with a PhD.  And I would like to know specifically what his PhD was in.  Someone with a PhD in IC design isn't going to be familiar with PCBs.  Same for the PhD in signal processing.  At least with my school, no one with a PhD in RF / mixed signal design could even fathom making the bone-headed decisions you described.  Why?  Because they've design, built, and characterized those same kinds of boards in school (any reputable school, that is).  Yes, sometimes people do manage to get through school without learning anything practical circuits, but it is far from the norm.  At the end of the day, the only folks without the degree are those that aren't dedicated enough to the field to make it worth their while or simply aren't bright  enough. With most employers paying for up through a graduate degree, there is little reason not to get the paper.

Unfortunately,for those of us with insufficient means,there is a third reason why we may not undertake a Degree course,-------Simple economic survival!
You,somehow managed to keep body & soul together for 8 years at University.
I can only surmise,that either:-
(1) You have independent means of your own.
(2) You have wealthy parents.
(3) You have an enormous Student Loan.
(4) You worked your way with various menial jobs---If so, Bravo!!

(3) & (4) are the ONLY options left for most of us,so you will find most people opt for the less prestigious path of becoming a Technician.
Anyone with family responsibilities has to balance his/her "dedication" to self improvement against that required by the family.
Your comment is a fancy way of saying that people without a degree are lazy or stupid!.
And then you wonder why Techs get upset!
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #125 on: May 05, 2012, 11:51:15 am »
Your comment is a fancy way of saying that people without a degree are lazy or stupid!.
And then you wonder why Techs everyone gets upset!
You've got it in one vk6zgo.  Those who haven't Had a gilt edged career path have still made it in so many ways. Some as Techs, some as tradesmen, more than a few as well respected engineers (albeit engineers without formal qualifications.)

All of those can wipe the floor with the vxp03600s of this planet. Some people have it, some people earn it, those that don't hide behind qualifications and association memberships. The guys a talentless w**ker, time to update the ignore list me thinks.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #126 on: May 05, 2012, 03:19:12 pm »
As an aside, it seems that 70% of Silverbrook Research's 300 employees have PhD's:
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/genius-or-scoundrel--patently-someone-is-wrong-20120415-1x1px.html
No wonder they haven't gotten a product to market in well over a decade :->
Sounds like some weird stuff is going down there, that would be a lot of PhD's to flood the Sydney market if they implode!

Dave.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #127 on: May 05, 2012, 04:07:03 pm »
i wonder how those 200 PhD's feel about their boss... after all he too is a university drop out ...  ;D
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Offline A Hellene

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #128 on: May 05, 2012, 04:17:04 pm »
Hehe! Once more:

"The only engineers who get promoted to management are the ones who can be spared. The real walking disasters are the ones who think they got promoted because they were good.::)


-George
Hi! This is George; and I am three and a half years old!
(This was one of my latest realisations, now in my early fifties!...)
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #129 on: May 05, 2012, 04:33:29 pm »
At least where I live, it is very common for employers to pay for school.  Kind of hard to turn down free money, isn't it?  Not to mention a healthy pay raise when your finished. 

Can't pay for undergraduate school?  Yep, me and most of my buddies actually worked our way through school.  When there is a will, there is a way.  I have a lot of respect for techs; I personally would never do that kind of work, though I'm certainly capable of it.  The EEs that I've worked with have no reason to go to a lab troubleshooting circuits.  Instead, their pre-occupied with managing the project and / or designing circuits.  And most do a damn good job at it.

There are numerous telecom companies in my area.  Most don't have a lab here; instead, we have design, management, and customer support personnel.  The test / manufacturing has been outsourced to China, Korea, and a host of other countries.  It won't be long before the lab skills are completely unnecessary in most work places.


Unfortunately,for those of us with insufficient means,there is a third reason why we may not undertake a Degree course,-------Simple economic survival!
You,somehow managed to keep body & soul together for 8 years at University.
I can only surmise,that either:-
(1) You have independent means of your own.
(2) You have wealthy parents.
(3) You have an enormous Student Loan.
(4) You worked your way with various menial jobs---If so, Bravo!!

(3) & (4) are the ONLY options left for most of us,so you will find most people opt for the less prestigious path of becoming a Technician.
Anyone with family responsibilities has to balance his/her "dedication" to self improvement against that required by the family.
Your comment is a fancy way of saying that people without a degree are lazy or stupid!.
And then you wonder why Techs get upset!
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 04:38:16 pm by vxp036000 »
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #130 on: May 05, 2012, 04:39:40 pm »
One more thing; you know who is the first to go when there are budget cuts?  That's right, the strictly technical folks.  Management gets a raise for saving the day by slashing expenses.  And people wonder why I chose the managerial route...

No one has yet to answer my question about how to fix the "broken" system.  Why complain if you can't suggest a better alternative?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 04:52:03 pm by vxp036000 »
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #131 on: May 05, 2012, 08:19:37 pm »
It won't be long before the lab skills are completely unnecessary in most work places.
i have to add to that .. it won't be long before the engineering bits can be outsourced too.. India and china are full of an immense potential. Just like japan started by manufacturing by copying 50 years ago and then moved into actual design , the chinese and indians are gaining fast. they actually have overtaken 'the west' in several area's...

it won't be long before all we have in 'the west' are 'man-agers' and unemployed people ...
And then there will be role reversal... the thrid-world is coming ...
better start making 'mandarin' a requirement class in engineering courses...
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Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #132 on: May 05, 2012, 08:24:47 pm »
This is very true.  Even now the real "engineering" jobs are hard to come by.  Most are a combination of technical and business work.  My plan is to get out of the field before it gets much worse.  And save, more money the better with the economy the way it is.  Good luck.

It won't be long before the lab skills are completely unnecessary in most work places.
i have to add to that .. it won't be long before the engineering bits can be outsourced too.. India and china are full of an immense potential. Just like japan started by manufacturing by copying 50 years ago and then moved into actual design , the chinese and indians are gaining fast. they actually have overtaken 'the west' in several area's...

it won't be long before all we have in 'the west' are 'man-agers' and unemployed people ...
And then there will be role reversal... the thrid-world is coming ...
better start making 'mandarin' a requirement class in engineering courses...
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #133 on: May 05, 2012, 11:25:06 pm »
No one has yet to answer my question about how to fix the "broken" system.  Why complain if you can't suggest a better alternative?
Hell that's an easy one!  Base rewards on ability and productivity! Cadetship based user/s pays education. Let industry wear the cost and the benefit of education. Educational institutions working with industry rather than being an insular process line for unemployable w**kers. 

Add less government interference and you have a recipe where innovation and ability reaps national rewards. Asia has no problem with this while the western world bogs itself to standstill with flawed regulation.
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #134 on: May 05, 2012, 11:46:39 pm »
You finally admit that having the piece of paper makes a difference.  And, as I already pointed out, it is not uncommon for employers to pay for the cost of school.  If the schools weren't teaching anything useful, employers wouldn't pay for it now, would they? 

Another metric is the fact that very few folks in the upper half of my graduating class could not find work.  Obviously the students had something to offer that employers were looking for.  To me, that indicates anything but unemployable people.  And if Asian countries have it figured out so well, why is it so common for Asian students to study abroad, for example, in USA?

Less government interference would help, no argument there.  The first thing we actually agree on...
No one has yet to answer my question about how to fix the "broken" system.  Why complain if you can't suggest a better alternative?
Hell that's an easy one!  Base rewards on ability and productivity! Cadetship based user/s pays education. Let industry wear the cost and the benefit of education. Educational institutions working with industry rather than being an insular process line for unemployable w**kers. 

Add less government interference and you have a recipe where innovation and ability reaps national rewards. Asia has no problem with this while the western world bogs itself to standstill with flawed regulation.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #135 on: May 06, 2012, 12:07:09 am »
You finally admit that having the piece of paper makes a difference.
I never claimed a qualification was a bad thing, it is not! What a qualification also isn't, is a licence to behave like an elitist prat. Nor is a degree licence to deride the demonstrated skill and education achieved by other through less formal means.

Quote
  If the schools weren't teaching anything useful, employers wouldn't pay for it now, would they?
Somewhat of a contradiction from your prior argument bollocks that it was all about marketing and certification.   

Quote
Another metric is the fact that very few folks in the upper half of my graduating class could not find work.
Obviously the students had something to offer that employers were looking for.
Who can tell there may be a huge demand for prats with attitude or office idiots in your country!  There are skilled graduates all over the planet flipping burgers, your arguments above confirm current economic trends will see a whole lot more.

Quote
To me, that indicates anything but unemployable people.
How is your mandarin?

Quote
And if Asian countries have it figured out so well, why is it so common for Asian students to study abroad, for example, in USA?
Western subsidisation, me thinks? Hell the US built and paid for most of Japan's industry, may as well pay to educate their youth as well.

« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 05:07:27 am by Uncle Vernon »
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #136 on: May 06, 2012, 03:47:51 am »
One more thing; you know who is the first to go when there are budget cuts?  That's right, the strictly technical folks.  Management gets a raise for saving the day by slashing expenses.  And people wonder why I chose the managerial route...
No one has yet to answer my question about how to fix the "broken" system.  Why complain if you can't suggest a better alternative?

Then why didn't you go for an MBA,instead?
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #137 on: May 06, 2012, 04:02:23 am »
I didn't get an MBA because I had no interest in it.  The EE program was fun and a great challenge.  I figured that I could easily get into engineering management without the MBA and I was right.  Haven't regretted it in the least, after seeing how EEs are treated at most places. 

Electronics is a great hobby and I spend hours tinkering with stuff at home, but I couldn't be paid enough to do it for a job.  Between projects that I had no interest in and almost zero job security, I decided that business is less interesting but a safer career path.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #138 on: May 06, 2012, 04:09:36 am »
wow... looks like someone can't bring up the dedication to stick with it  :P
maybe you are not that interested in engineering after all..
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #139 on: May 06, 2012, 04:14:25 am »
At least where I live, it is very common for employers to pay for school.  Kind of hard to turn down free money, isn't it?  Not to mention a healthy pay raise when your finished.
In that case,you are extremely fortunate.The days of "Cadet Engineers" are long gone in my country!

Can't pay for undergraduate school?  Yep, me and most of my buddies actually worked our way through school.

From your "healthy pay raise" comment above,you were already working in the Industry.
I can't see MacDonalds giving you a pay rise when you graduate! ;D


When there is a will, there is a way.

Again,priorities intervene.
If you had to work menial jobs,& raise a family,buy a house,plus pursue your University studies,you too,may have decided it was not worth it!
To those of us of an earlier generation, except for those fortunate enough to obtain a Cadetship,which were never plentiful, University was really not a viable option,as we needed to be making reasonable money from the time we left school.
Many Techs did "Go back to school"& do Engineering Degrees when they were more financially stable.Most of these people were very fine Engineers.


  I have a lot of respect for techs; I personally would never do that kind of work, though I'm certainly capable of it.  The EEs that I've worked with have no reason to go to a lab troubleshooting circuits.  Instead, their pre-occupied with managing the project and / or designing circuits.  And most do a damn good job at it.

There are numerous telecom companies in my area.  Most don't have a lab here; instead, we have design, management, and customer support personnel.  The test / manufacturing has been outsourced to China, Korea, and a host of other countries.  It won't be long before the lab skills are completely unnecessary in most work places.
Quote
Many types of equipment require testing over & above that performed at the factory.
Technicians do still need to do a lot of the stuff I enumerated earlier,both in installation & ongoing customer support.
Your scenario seems more gloomy for EEs than for Techs.




 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #140 on: May 06, 2012, 08:52:55 am »
Then why didn't you go for an MBA,instead?

Can see a bunch of knob-jockey MBAs whining about engineers using the term "engineering manager" without what they see as sufficient management qualifications.  ;)  Can also see vxp036000 whining about it like a spoilt child without ever seeing the irony.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 08:54:31 am by Uncle Vernon »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #141 on: May 06, 2012, 11:32:49 am »
I didn't get an MBA because I had no interest in it.  The EE program was fun and a great challenge.  I figured that I could easily get into engineering management without the MBA and I was right.  Haven't regretted it in the least, after seeing how EEs are treated at most places. 

So you actually worked your way into management without any formal qualifications in the field? Fancy that! ;D
What if you have to find another job, and you come across a company that rejects you because you don't have that MBA?
(BTW, that's actually not uncommon here in Oz, MBA's have been all the rage in the last decade or so)
What is the difference between you working your way into management without qualifications in management, and someone working their way into engineering without (or with lesser) qualifications in engineering?
Both engineering management, and practical engineering have long histories of allowing technically "unqualified" people into the roles (at least in Australia, I won't speak for other countries). The difference is just semantics.

Dave.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 11:34:29 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline dcel

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #142 on: May 06, 2012, 01:57:29 pm »
I have re-read this entire thread again and I seem to think that the point here is truly being missed.
Yes, its possible that the education system is somewhat broken, but, I think what has been taught to children, a must have college degree, is what is really broke. I have read here and elsewhere that a lot of people are sick and tired of cubicle life, having that white collar job ain't as glamorous as it was made out to be. Some of those people are longing for the sense of accomplishment from creating something with their hands.

I would rather work with and/or for someone without a college degree than with. I have found out that most people with a "degree" don't know jack when it comes to real world stuff. I'm a tech and will always be one, even though I have engineered outdoor power equipment from the ground up; concept, prototype to production unit, two models. I have my worthless name on a couple patents to prove it, although no longer with that company by choice. I did this without a college degree, as did the owner.

I think that there are a number of kids, or college applicants, that don't really have a clue what they want to do for a career, or worse yet, choose something that they don't have a clue about or a passion for. So these students go through the course, get a degree, and are turned out into the world just as clueless as they started. Educational fail? Maybe, maybe not. There is allot more to an education than just the degree; mentoring, on the job training, or just plain having the drive to figure things out for ones self play a huge part as well.

As an aside... Arguing with someone in a on-line forum is like wrestling with a pig in mud, after a while you will realize the pig really likes it, and you both end up with mud on your face.

Chris

I had forgot where I had seen this but found it in my bookmarks...

www.mikeroweworks.com

Check out the video of Mike speaking in front of congress.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 02:06:17 pm by dcel »
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #143 on: May 06, 2012, 03:00:39 pm »
I see a tendency to use to term practical engineering for what I consider to be the lower level engineering jobs, as if higher level engineering (at the level of architecture, systems engineering, modeling, etc.) is less practical.  I think we can all agree that lower engineering functions can be accessible to someone without a degree.  Just like the lower to middle levels of management are attainable by someone without the MBA.  But as you progress up either one of these ladders, the more important the degree becomes.  I know plenty of degree-less folks that made it into lower level engineering jobs after 10 years or so experience, only to hit a glass ceiling because they had no formal qualifications.  The same is true with management.  And yes, when the MBA becomes a limiting factor, I have no reason not to go back to school at the company's expense.
 

Offline FJV

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #144 on: May 06, 2012, 04:47:37 pm »
I think I'll just add some fuel to the fire and mention that "I'm better than you" issues are not restricted to different levels of education. There is also the whole "I'm better than you" between different fields of engineering.

I think I will now sit back and enjoy the dysfunctional family circus. 8) (secretly laughing at chimp behavior)

PS
My experience tells me, I am only considered as good as my last engineering task. If the last task went well everybody praises me and I can do no wrong, if last task went bad/wrong everybody vilifies me and I can do no right.

The second situation cannot be avoided, when you are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Customers always want things twice as fast, twice as cheap, exotic features, etc...

This means that often university educated engineers break good design rules, not because they "don't know crap", but because they are expected to deliver designs meeting specifications that cannot be achieved using the conventional engineering  way of doing things.

 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #145 on: May 06, 2012, 05:07:13 pm »
This is absolutely correct: most of the poor designs out there are a direct result of managerial decisions, whether they be budget limitiations, ridiculous schedules, impossible to meet specs defined by marketing, and the list goes on.  One of the many reasons I got away from engineering is because I was appalled at the shortcuts that were taken to meet some milestone.  And then management comes down on the engineer wondering why the product doesn't work.

I'll give an example.  I was working at a semiconductor company and found that one of the ICs exhibited a very poor PSRR.  I talked to the circuit designer and he used a resistive divider for a critical supply voltage.  Wtf?!  Apparently this guy had absolutely no clue what a band gap reference was (yes, the circuit was also supposed to be stable from 50 K to room temperature, no exaggeration).  To make a long story short, management, in it's infinite wisdom, decided to have a digital designer do the analog circuitry.  I could come up with dozens of other examples of horrid designs that were productized because of management decisions like this.  So think twice before blaming the designer. 

I think I'll just add some fuel to the fire and mention that "I'm better than you" issues are not restricted to different levels of education. There is also the whole "I'm better than you" between different fields of engineering.

I think I will now sit back and enjoy the dysfunctional family circus. 8) (secretly laughing at chimp behavior)

PS
My experience tells me, I am only considered as good as my last engineering task. If the last task went well everybody praises me and I can do no wrong, if last task went bad/wrong everybody vilifies me and I can do no right.

The second situation cannot be avoided, when you are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Customers always want things twice as fast, twice as cheap, exotic features, etc...

This means that often university educated engineers break good design rules, not because they "don't know crap", but because they are expected to deliver designs meeting specifications that cannot be achieved using the conventional engineering  way of doing things.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #146 on: May 06, 2012, 05:58:02 pm »
so here's a question ... why did you move into management then ?

It is the job of the engineer to educate management. if they tell me they need x in y amount of time with z performance and my gut says it can't be done i TELL them! i give them a couple of options but i am not going to deliver a mediocre product. i have, on numerous occasions, gone in against 'the managers' , even in front of our customers. They appreciate this tremendously. Whenever there is a design review meeting or kickoff meeting for a new design one customer DEMANDS that they fly me over ... even if i only need to be there for 10 minutes.

better to take an extra day to work it out than spend 3 months trying to fix it later ...
I simply refuse to deliver crap and i make this very clear. i am not afraid to speak my mind.

Simply nodding 'yes' is the best way to end in the downward spiral of delivering crap , having to fix it later and then being labeled a 'bad designer' since it didn't work right and 'how come your stuff ran over budget and over time'. once you are 'burned' you are 'burned' for the rest of your life. I refuse to fall for that.

And as far as the 'marketing and sales' promises to the customer are concerned : they can get stuffed for all i care.
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Offline gregariz

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #147 on: May 06, 2012, 09:33:48 pm »
I didn't get an MBA because I had no interest in it.  The EE program was fun and a great challenge.  I figured that I could easily get into engineering management without the MBA and I was right.  Haven't regretted it in the least, after seeing how EEs are treated at most places. 

So you actually worked your way into management without any formal qualifications in the field? Fancy that! ;D
What if you have to find another job, and you come across a company that rejects you because you don't have that MBA?
(BTW, that's actually not uncommon here in Oz, MBA's have been all the rage in the last decade or so)
What is the difference between you working your way into management without qualifications in management, and someone working their way into engineering without (or with lesser) qualifications in engineering?
Both engineering management, and practical engineering have long histories of allowing technically "unqualified" people into the roles (at least in Australia, I won't speak for other countries). The difference is just semantics.

Dave.

The big difference IME is that the MBA is a load of crap. In fact I want a refund because I'm still trying to figure out what I was supposed to have learnt. Its a course that tried to teach you that you needn't know anything about your industry and at the same time it teaches you efficiency is everything (ie cut as many corners as legally possible). Several years ago there was a case at Harvey Mudd College where a MBA grad sued the school because he suspected he was more stupid after having completed the degree.

It is so easy in fact I never did any study except for the night before any exam. It was easier than my 2 year engineering tafe course by a country mile.

Moreover I've never been around a bigger pack of assholes in a University environment. Some of the students were just plain psychotic, many of them clearly incompetant and were there simply there to try to get out of whatever job they had which no doubt they were at best average at.

I did the course because I was at the time at a large company like vxp is no doubt at, and they all seemed very anal about it in management. I did the course just part time in my spare time because I wondered what the fuss is about. The one thing I did learn is that most managers cannot possibly know what they are doing because nobody has a crystal ball to see the future. After I did it I stopped going to quarterly results reviews and town halls because I didn't want to kill any more braincells by subjecting myself to bullshit.

Vxp: there are other avenues to get some respect in the workplace rather than trying to climb the corporate ladder in a multinational. I found that pursuing that something akin to giving oneself a labotomy. Smaller companies are less bureaucratic and less kiss ass and as a result you are likely to be a much more core member of the team as an engineer. This is simply because small companies can't afford to pay people to bullshit. Ironically I found they also pay better. At the extreme, in the startup environment, the engineers are most often the most important employees of the company. In fact in the startup realm there is a very high rate of entrepreneurship amongst postgraduate engineers. I also found by experience if you do want to stay in a large company, foreign companies are often better than US managed companies. Japanese companies have traditionally had a low rate of MBA's in management and haven't swallowed the Harvard crap machine. You could argue that the influx of MBA's has actually been a precursor to some of them coming unhinged.
 

Offline FJV

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #148 on: May 06, 2012, 09:39:52 pm »
It is the job of the engineer to educate management. if they tell me they need x in y amount of time with z performance and my gut says it can't be done i TELL them! i give them a couple of options but i am not going to deliver a mediocre product. i have, on numerous occasions, gone in against 'the managers' , even in front of our customers. They appreciate this tremendously. Whenever there is a design review meeting or kickoff meeting for a new design one customer DEMANDS that they fly me over ... even if i only need to be there for 10 minutes.

Individual experiences vary. My experience is that I tell them, they repeat the same thing, I tell them again they repeat the same thing again, etc. Any further discussion is useless, might as well get going instead of wasting time.

The reasons why are not that far fetched, for instance:

Sales promised a customer a ridiculous delivery date and has agreed to a contract with a fine for every day the delivery is late. On top of that the contract is not carefully worded, so any last minute changes in demands by the customer will not shift the delivery date back, neither will late delivery of information the customer needs to provide. Just a desperate need for an order to keep a company from going bankrupt is enough to cause this.

I can tell management that the delivery date is shit as often as I like for as long as I like and I would be right. But it is the kind of being right you choke on. They need a design and they need it fast.

And right now, in economic bad times, there are a lot of companies agreeing to some really shitty orders to stay afloat.

better to take an extra day to work it out than spend 3 months trying to fix it later ...

Agree, but it is hard to sell, because while everybody knows this is true, you cannot point specifically to where this saves money and how much money is saved. It is the same for a systems administrator, who cannot point to the network shutdowns that didn't happen, because they hired him.

I simply refuse to deliver crap and i make this very clear. i am not afraid to speak my mind.

Simply nodding 'yes' is the best way to end in the downward spiral of delivering crap , having to fix it later and then being labeled a 'bad designer' since it didn't work right and 'how come your stuff ran over budget and over time'. once you are 'burned' you are 'burned' for the rest of your life. I refuse to fall for that.

And as far as the 'marketing and sales' promises to the customer are concerned : they can get stuffed for all i care.

I have designed a lot of things that needed to be fixed later and I have been labelled a "bad designer" more than once. I also have been labelled "an excellent designer" more than once. In my opinion mistakes are inevitable when you are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. How someone deals with those mistakes can tell a lot about his/her quality as an engineer/tech/designer.

You can give a good designer a lot of really difficult jobs and make him/her appear worse than a bad designer you lots of easy jobs.

Also a designer that works 5 times faster than another designer while delivering the same quality will appear to be worse, because in the same time period he/she makes 5 times more mistakes.

As for marketing and sales, without sales you have no orders, without orders you have no job.


 

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #149 on: May 06, 2012, 10:59:29 pm »
I see a tendency to use to term practical engineering for what I consider to be the lower level engineering jobs, as if higher level engineering (at the level of architecture, systems engineering, modeling, etc.) is less practical.
Then in simple terms your interpretation is entirely incorrect.

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I think we can all agree that lower engineering functions can be accessible to someone without a degree.
I think we've all agreed your an opinionated and struggling second rate engineer masquerading as a third rate manager.

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Just like the lower to middle levels of management are attainable by someone without the MBA.
Hell yeah even near useless engineers who've proven absent of sales skills qualify for those gigs. All you need are cufflinks and poor to non existent interpersonal skills.

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But as you progress up either one of these ladders, the more important the degree becomes.
Which is exactly why pretenders without an MBA will eventually plateau at the lower levels of middle management.

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I know plenty of degree-less folks that made it into lower level engineering jobs after 10 years or so experience, only to hit a glass ceiling because they had no formal qualifications.
I know of legions of brain dead engineering graduates with no real lust for their chosen profession, who've ended up as paper shuffling middle managers or golden teeth sales engineers <-- Yeah brochure monkeys use the term too!

Quote
The same is true with management.  And yes, when the MBA becomes a limiting factor, I have no reason not to go back to school at the company's expense.
Forgotten something? With unemployed MBA graduates now in plague proportions, what company is going to spend money on further education for their, as you put it,  low hanging fruit?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 11:01:46 pm by Uncle Vernon »
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #150 on: May 07, 2012, 01:06:20 am »
Struggling?  You're the one throwing around insults left and right because you can't prove your point.  At least where I work, only the best engineers are given the opportunity to move into management.  The so-so ones are stuck remaining technical, and the bottom half are walked out the door.  It doesn't bother me how much you dislike paper shuffling managers; they bring in millions of dollars worth of sales each year, and are paid a pretty penny for it.  And it really isn't at all difficult to get an employer to pay for business school, unless you happen to be one of the bottom performers.

I see a tendency to use to term practical engineering for what I consider to be the lower level engineering jobs, as if higher level engineering (at the level of architecture, systems engineering, modeling, etc.) is less practical.
Then in simple terms your interpretation is entirely incorrect.

Quote
I think we can all agree that lower engineering functions can be accessible to someone without a degree.
I think we've all agreed your an opinionated and struggling second rate engineer masquerading as a third rate manager.

Quote
Just like the lower to middle levels of management are attainable by someone without the MBA.
Hell yeah even near useless engineers who've proven absent of sales skills qualify for those gigs. All you need are cufflinks and poor to non existent interpersonal skills.

Quote
But as you progress up either one of these ladders, the more important the degree becomes.
Which is exactly why pretenders without an MBA will eventually plateau at the lower levels of middle management.

Quote
I know plenty of degree-less folks that made it into lower level engineering jobs after 10 years or so experience, only to hit a glass ceiling because they had no formal qualifications.
I know of legions of brain dead engineering graduates with no real lust for their chosen profession, who've ended up as paper shuffling middle managers or golden teeth sales engineers <-- Yeah brochure monkeys use the term too!

Quote
The same is true with management.  And yes, when the MBA becomes a limiting factor, I have no reason not to go back to school at the company's expense.
Forgotten something? With unemployed MBA graduates now in plague proportions, what company is going to spend money on further education for their, as you put it,  low hanging fruit?
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #151 on: May 07, 2012, 01:11:09 am »
in a sense it is sad that you spent 8 years obtaining an 'official' degree and now don't use it by going into management...
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Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #152 on: May 07, 2012, 01:20:51 am »
I used it as a qualification to get my foot in the door.  I never could have started out where I did without the degree.  And I do use it, just at a higher level than circuit design.  Someone without a technical background would have a hard time leading any engineering project, making architectural decisions, future product enhancements, reasonable estimates for bids, recognizing BS from marketing folks as such, etc.

in a sense it is sad that you spent 8 years obtaining an 'official' degree and now don't use it by going into management...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #153 on: May 07, 2012, 01:34:41 am »
I used it as a qualification to get my foot in the door.  I never could have started out where I did without the degree.  And I do use it, just at a higher level than circuit design.  Someone without a technical background would have a hard time leading any engineering project, making architectural decisions, future product enhancements, reasonable estimates for bids, recognizing BS from marketing folks as such, etc.

Not necessarily so.
A good technical manager who understands the technology is of course often desired, but it's by no means essential. Just having good people skills, time management and budget skills, and isolating the engineers from the other company BS and focussed on the work can be more than enough to make you an incredibly valuable project manager. The senior engineers on the team can often work together to make the (often peer reviewed) decisions for the direction of the project at the day to day level, that doesn't need to be the project manager.
Often it's someone like the CTO that will dictate the architectural decisions, future product enhancements etc, and not the active project manager.

Dave.
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #154 on: May 07, 2012, 01:42:25 am »
Struggling?
Hell no! Business is doing well actually.

Quote
You're the one throwing around insults left and right
That's a touch hypocritical, coming from a master of condescension.

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because you can't prove your point.
Actually you have been doing most of the legwork to prove any point I have made.

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At least where I work
"there was this one time, at band camp"

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only the best engineers are given the opportunity to move into management.
if shiniest cufflinks equates to best.

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The so-so ones are stuck remaining technical, and the bottom half are walked out the door.
My how you must enjoy this fictional workplace, as you type from your dim cubicle.

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It doesn't bother me how much you dislike paper shuffling managers
that's nice for you!

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they bring in millions of dollars worth of sales each year
or they would do if only there was a market for shuffled paper.

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and are paid a pretty penny for it
sure many middle managers are rewarded far more than they are worth, at least in monetary terms, but the comparisons you suggest are far from universal.

Quote
And it really isn't at all difficult to get an employer to pay for business school
yeah sure, when buy-in dills are a dime a dozen. To employers MBAs are like Cisco Certification, most sensible companies are not going to invest in an employee that will leave the moment they attain qualification. Your 90's vision of the corporate world suggests you may not have too much to do with engineering or management.

Quote
unless you happen to be one of the bottom performers.
How is that cubicle? Have you got a print of a car you cannot afford to decorate it?
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 07:05:34 am by Uncle Vernon »
 

Offline jerry507

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #155 on: May 07, 2012, 01:59:08 am »
I used it as a qualification to get my foot in the door.  I never could have started out where I did without the degree.  And I do use it, just at a higher level than circuit design.  Someone without a technical background would have a hard time leading any engineering project, making architectural decisions, future product enhancements, reasonable estimates for bids, recognizing BS from marketing folks as such, etc.

Not necessarily so.
A good technical manager who understands the technology is of course often desired, but it's by no means essential. Just having good people skills, time management and budget skills, and isolating the engineers from the other company BS and focussed on the work can be more than enough to make you an incredibly valuable project manager. The senior engineers on the team can often work together to make the (often peer reviewed) decisions for the direction of the project at the day to day level, that doesn't need to be the project manager.
Often it's someone like the CTO that will dictate the architectural decisions, future product enhancements etc, and not the active project manager.

Dave.

This is absolutely right. Managers shouldn't really be dictating terms to engineers, but should be getting input from engineers to toss back to whoever else is in the process. The engineer is supposed to be a technical reference, not just a monkey churning out product.

Also, at my last company it was sales people that generated most requirements. After all, they are the ones most involved in what the customer wants. Of course, there has to be a healthy back and forth on those requirements to make it work. Management was largely involved in customer interactions (with the biggest ones) but also sequencing projects to manage resources. Overall it worked quite well. Just goes to show that every company and situation is different.
 

Offline slateraptor

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #156 on: May 07, 2012, 07:36:03 am »
Quote
And it really isn't at all difficult to get an employer to pay for business school
yeah sure, when buy-in dills are a dime a dozen. To employers MBAs are like Cisco Certification, most sensible companies are not going to invest in an employee that will leave the moment they attain qualification. Your 90's vision of the corporate world suggests you may not have too much to do with engineering or management.

You'd be surprised at the number of large US companies willing to pay for graduate school in general, not just business school. It's often used as an incentive for recruiting top undergraduate talent.
 

Offline Kremmen

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #157 on: May 07, 2012, 09:26:01 am »
I used it as a qualification to get my foot in the door.  I never could have started out where I did without the degree.  And I do use it, just at a higher level than circuit design.  Someone without a technical background would have a hard time leading any engineering project, making architectural decisions, future product enhancements, reasonable estimates for bids, recognizing BS from marketing folks as such, etc.

Not necessarily so.
A good technical manager who understands the technology is of course often desired, but it's by no means essential. Just having good people skills, time management and budget skills, and isolating the engineers from the other company BS and focussed on the work can be more than enough to make you an incredibly valuable project manager. The senior engineers on the team can often work together to make the (often peer reviewed) decisions for the direction of the project at the day to day level, that doesn't need to be the project manager.
Often it's someone like the CTO that will dictate the architectural decisions, future product enhancements etc, and not the active project manager.

Dave.
Exactly right. One should make a clear distinction between "small" scale and "large" scale development projects without just now going deeper into the line separating those two. A small project might very well have one of the designers act as the project manager and it can be all right. A large project - no. Project management in the large is a strict discipline requiring skills an electronics designer won't have. And i don't mean because he is stupid or anything, it is just another ballgame altogether. Most designers couldn't give a shit about management as long as they get to design but that just disqualifies them as project managers. Anyone seen the movie "Right Stuff"? There is the scene in the Happy Bottom bar where the journalist asks these flyboys what keeps their planes flying. One of the B29 jockeys starts how aerodynamics is a difficult subject and a newspaper man can't be expected... until the news guy interrupts: funding. Thats what flies your planes. It never ceases to amaze me how many serious designers have real difficulties with this concept. Not all, not always, but there are so many who just don't get it. Of course a designer is supposed to design but thinking that is all is not seeing the wider context.
The manager of a big project does not necessarily need any technical qualifications. He is not supposed to architect and design anything, but run the management processes that allow other people to do that. There will be architects, designers, testers, customer tailoring teams and all kinds of people involved. It would be counterproductive to attempt managing all of that by a person whose qualifications are totally unsuited for the job, however good he or she is as a designer.
Just to clarify: in a big project the PM is expected to do at least the following:
- Participate in creating the business case. This would be a document outlining the reasons why this project should be done in the first place and what are the benefits and costs to the company in doing so. In a big company already this phase makes or breaks project managers because the foundation is laid here. If it turns out the business case was unrealistic, then so is the entire project.
- Create the project budget from resource assignments, all necessary procurements, various service fees and costs for things needed for the duration
- Fix and manage the project scope by formalizing the baseline requirements - in the worst case by first creating a requirements management process and repository and then by creating a change control process to manage the inevitable modifications and new things in a controlled way
- cost control or bean counting, one of the all time antifavorites of those who think money comes out of a wallet
- human resources management from the interviews for initial role assignments to worktime management and all around babysitting. Includes taxi rides to rehab for the hardest pressed memebers of the project
- quality management starting from defining the target quality and then finding a way to assure that it happens, by setting up test environments, labs and whatever and staffing them (see above). Then organizing the QA strategy, planning, test methods and results reporting - hopefully with the assistance of a good test manager
- communications management is a key process to publish the project and its status, progress and all interesting info in whatever way is relevant to the project stakeholders. The stakeholdders also need expectation management, motivation and commitment building. For a big project this is like running an election campaign and news agency rolled into one.
- to avoid nasty surprises risk management is needed to regularly map the scenery to locate the threats to project success and invent ways to avoid or mitigate them. For a high risk project this can be a time consuming effort but seldom understood at all by those not aware how projects are really managed.
- monitor the actual project progress by regular followup and action any deviations.
- Regularly report all of the above to the project steering group usually consisting of middle or higher line management, in a quantitative way that enables the decision makers to see concrete indicators of the project's status.

All of that naturally divides into regular periodic work to run the process, workshops to unravel the difficult points and endless meeting just to keep information flowing. Should the PM then also design the system on top of all that? I don't think so. I have seen a statistic that says 80% of all failed IT projects fail due to inferior project management. Knowing what i know today, i can believe it
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #158 on: May 07, 2012, 10:20:28 am »
Great post Kremmen, and spot on.
I love The Right Stuff!

Dave.
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #159 on: May 07, 2012, 11:22:54 am »
...The manager of a big project does not necessarily need any technical qualifications. He is not supposed to architect and design anything, but run the management processes that allow other people to do that.

The managers I like most, all have (some) (ex) real hands-on technical background.

Like the Mechatronics manager that welded his own bycicle when he was 16, or others that played or hacked around with a Commodore 64, but now runs a production facility.

When his pure management skills are good, his tech domain doesn't have to be related, but has to exist.
I get sick of most of the others, stuck in their educational terms and examples.

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If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.
 

Offline Kremmen

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #160 on: May 07, 2012, 11:45:43 am »
I know what you mean and i fully agree. It is far easier to communicate if there is a common language and shared background. Then the PM can be one of "the boys" even if not strictly able to act in a designer role. The fact however is that this cannot be the primary criterium for a PM role, only an added bonus although not an insignificant one.
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Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #161 on: May 07, 2012, 11:48:36 am »
I prefer managers with a solid technical background, as opposed to sales guys who'll say anything, psuedo managers with rows of self help/motivation books on their shelves and accountants looking to cut costs in the short term.
The main point is that the managers should understand the business or the project that they are managing because they are the key decision makers.
Managers who are just facilitators of other people but don't understand how the business or project will work will be more prone to making bad decisions.

I notice Dilberts managers aren't technically competent.
 

Offline GeoffS

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #162 on: May 07, 2012, 12:29:07 pm »
I notice Dilberts managers aren't technically competent.

Dilbert's managers aren't competent in ANY  sphere.

I've had a few like that ...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #163 on: May 07, 2012, 12:36:18 pm »
he main point is that the managers should understand the business or the project that they are managing because they are the key decision makers.
Managers who are just facilitators of other people but don't understand how the business or project will work will be more prone to making bad decisions.

That's why a good design team doesn't need the manager making the technical decisions. They are there to manage the project, not necessarily make technical decisions. It's hard to focus on project management and be abreast of all the design issues and correctly make the big decisions at the same time. I think that's asking too much and could actually lead to bad or even worse decisions!, regardless of how good the technical oriented manager is.
A good large design team will have dedicated project technical decision makers/leaders to handle that stuff, as Kremmen mentioned.
In an ideal team, you want the best people doing their rolls. The best manager, the best technical leader/decision maker, the best designers, the best techs, etc, each 100% focussed on their role. The role of the project manager is to ensure the others are 100% focussed on their roles, and all on the same track. And that does not necessarily require good technical skills.

Dave.
 

Offline Kremmen

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #164 on: May 07, 2012, 01:35:56 pm »
he main point is that the managers should understand the business or the project that they are managing because they are the key decision makers.
Managers who are just facilitators of other people but don't understand how the business or project will work will be more prone to making bad decisions.

That's why a good design team doesn't need the manager making the technical decisions. They are there to manage the project, not necessarily make technical decisions. It's hard to focus on project management and be abreast of all the design issues and correctly make the big decisions at the same time. I think that's asking too much and could actually lead to bad or even worse decisions!, regardless of how good the technical oriented manager is.
A good large design team will have dedicated project technical decision makers/leaders to handle that stuff, as Kremmen mentioned.
In an ideal team, you want the best people doing their rolls. The best manager, the best technical leader/decision maker, the best designers, the best techs, etc, each 100% focussed on their role. The role of the project manager is to ensure the others are 100% focussed on their roles, and all on the same track. And that does not necessarily require good technical skills.

Dave.
I'm sure the point was made already, but let me still illustrate the multitude of roles a PM may encounter in a bigger project, using a real life example. NDA prevents me from being specific, but this much i can tell you. In February i completed a 3 year consultation job for a world class corporation that you all are guaranteed to know by name. The job was to manage the creation of a mission critical semi realtime provisioning system and its deployment into a highly available, multiply redundant operational environment. I won't go into the boring details of the deliverables, but just check the roles that were involved in the project:
The core team included the following roles:
- Business Development Manager who is familiar with the organization from a long time back and has a wide network of contacts all over the place. His knowledge is used for high level requirements gathering and long term roadmapping. This is the guy that chairs the feature priorization, high level scheduling and release lifecycle process meetings. He is not the sole decision maker though.
- Concept Owner who makes sure the project deliverable is in line with whatever was agreed regarding the product's positioning in the IT process map
- Chief Architect who is responsible for Enterprise Architecture conformance and high level solution architecture
- Data Architect, responsible for Data layer architecture, data presentation schemas and such
- Solution architects responsible for identifying and specifying actual components of the overall solution
- Lead Develpoper (or Designer) responsible for turning the architecture descriptions into actual specifications and coding work packages
- The design team consisting of programmers, database experts, communications experts and so on. People like scrum masters for the agile development teams are in this group
- test manager and core test team to run the QA as per plans
- Configuration Manager who oversees the numerous things necessary for proper deployment from software installations to firewall configurations and all such things. He interfaces with the actual operations teams and any extrenal parties that need to do something to create a working setup
Outside the core team there are several roles that directly work with the project to make everything happen:
- the Enterprise Architecture team that provides quidance to align the project with the overall corporate IT architecture and review & approve conformance
- Enterprise security to audit and approve the architecture and software solutions for security and confidentiality
- Financial analysts to verify proper accountabilities and checks and things like SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley for the non yanks) compliance
- External specialists such as DBAs and sysadmins with special knowledge of the operational environments and how to integrate into their processes
- PMs and managers of integrated products and services to ensure correct and timely data exchanges with systems providing or receiving process info. Same with managers of internal it services.
- Product and Service Managers who are responsible for the product and service once it is in production. The project needs top provide all necessary information for that and
- Production manager who owns the operation environment
- Service operation, incident management and problem resolution teams in the operation. All of those are needed during the project to setup the staging environemnts from development to regular production and to verify that transition to operational mode has been successful.

That's off the top of my head. I'm sure ther is more but you get the picture already. There is just no time for the PM to try and contribute anything to the actual product, and he is not expected to. If he understands the system itself it is good, but if not there are those who do. In this case i did understand the system on a deep level but that was of course due to my background.
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Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #165 on: May 07, 2012, 02:34:14 pm »
I see your point but.....

Microsoft, Apple, Fairchild, Intel, Google, Facebook etc etc etc all initially had managers that were well across the technology that their companies were creating while those companies were in their growth phase. 

Now the list of technology companies that got bought out by managers and businessmen that didn't understand the core business and failed would be quite long. I am trying to think of some, Myspace, Warner buying AOL, Yahoo getting a manager who pretended he has a Tech degree. I am sure there is more.

My experience obviously has been different to yours, I have seen a few bad managers and failed projects. You can tell your bad project/company manager the train is approaching and if he cant see it he might just say "get your neck back down on the tracks".

ps. My favourite episode of Dave's is the one about failed projects:
http://www.eevblog.com/2009/10/28/eevblog-40-dilbert-and-the-world-of-micro-managed-engineering/

I might just watch it again, it'll cheer me up. ps. I normally work for small companies on small projects so I am coming from a different perspective.
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #166 on: May 07, 2012, 03:37:29 pm »
... It is far easier to communicate if there is a common language and shared background. Then the PM can be one of "the boys" even if not strictly able to act in a designer role. The fact however is that this cannot be the primary criterium for a PM role, only an added bonus although not an insignificant one.

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...

.
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.
 

Offline vxp036000

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #167 on: May 07, 2012, 04:40:31 pm »
You know what I like about the engineering firms in my area?  No degree, no EE job.  Undergradute graduate, you start off in product engineering or some sort of support role.  MS or higher, you get to do design.  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.


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...

.
 

HLA-27b

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #168 on: May 07, 2012, 05:07:47 pm »
Jack Tramiel the guy behind Commodore, a non tech, provides a very good glimpse into project management in his talk for the Computer History Museum.

Some of the interesting points that he makes are:
- Leave tech stuff to techies.
- Techies do not know if an idea would sell 1000 or 10000000 but the manager has to know early on.
- Always be ready with your next step
- Keeping the price low discourages competition
- Launching the product in the country that is anticipated to provide competition will delay them.


Search YouTube for      Commodore 64 - 25th Anniversary Celebration      (no link because it displays the whole video)



 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #169 on: May 07, 2012, 05:20:38 pm »
You know what I like about the engineering firms in my area?  No degree, no EE job.  Undergradute graduate, you start off in product engineering or some sort of support role.  MS or higher, you get to do design.  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.
good ! stay in your chauvinsitic stuck up nose country then. Meanwhile the rest of the world moves on.
Professional Electron Wrangler.
Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #170 on: May 07, 2012, 11:05:14 pm »
Quote
You know what I like about the engineering firms in my area?  No degree, no EE job.  Undergradute graduate, you start off in product engineering or some sort of support role.  MS or higher, you get to do design.  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.

Don't feed the trolls.
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old
« Reply #171 on: May 08, 2012, 10:00:03 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.

.

If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.
 

Offline FJV

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Hm
« Reply #172 on: May 08, 2012, 05:04:06 pm »
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.
???

Impossible to make statement accurately without having spent adequate time with the person in question.

As for management: I'm not all that willing to accept pro management statements. One thing that doesn't add up is that with all the advances in information technology we should see a decrease in the number of managers. I don't see that decrease.

Also these advances in information technology should make management more effective, causing me to have more and more time to focus on my "core competence" which would be technical. Instead time spent on administrative tasks seems to increase.



 

Offline IanB

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Re: Hm
« Reply #173 on: May 08, 2012, 11:53:09 pm »
As for management: I'm not all that willing to accept pro management statements. One thing that doesn't add up is that with all the advances in information technology we should see a decrease in the number of managers. I don't see that decrease.

Also these advances in information technology should make management more effective, causing me to have more and more time to focus on my "core competence" which would be technical. Instead time spent on administrative tasks seems to increase.

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.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: Hm
« Reply #174 on: May 09, 2012, 12:23:48 am »
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.
 

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?
 

Offline 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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