Author Topic: Complaining about the "broken education system" is getting old  (Read 40828 times)

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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.
 

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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!!!!!!!

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)
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
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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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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
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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

  • Regular Contributor
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  • Posts: 167
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 »
 


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