Author Topic: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?  (Read 885 times)

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Offline bjdhjy888

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How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« on: September 20, 2019, 01:31:37 am »
I started to learn electornics since July, 2018. I knew high school physics and took some univeristy-level science courses, before I began learning electronics engineering.

Now, I was wondering how much I should have achieved by now. Am I being too slow?

To evaluate one's skills, I think it's fair and practical to judge him, by using his *works*.

Well, I can now make a PCB with STM32 and MPU-6050, though I am still troubleshooting its I2C, to read RX data on serial monitor.

So, how would you judge a beginner? How fast should he progress?

Thanks.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 11:51:37 am by bjdhjy888 »
 

Offline ArthurDent

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2019, 01:41:19 am »
We all learn at different speeds and go in countless different directions. Some could care less about computers and only be interested in metrology or RF. Unless you are in a hurry, learn at a speed that is comfortable for you and go where your interests take you, otherwise you might suffer burnout.
 
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Offline xrunner

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2019, 01:46:57 am »
I started to learn electornics since July, 2018. I knew high school physics and took some univeristy-level science courses before I began learning electronics engineering.

Now, I was wondering how much I should achieve by now. Am I being too slow?

To evaluate one's skills, I think it's fair and pratical to judge him using his *works*.

Well, I can now make a PCB with STM32 and MPU-6050, though I am stilling troubleshooting its I2C, to read RX data on serial monitor.

So, how would you judge a beginner? How fast should he progress?

Thanks.

What ArthurDent said.

I can't say where you should be, but it sure seems like you have the "fire in the belly" for electronics from what you've been doing. Keep going it takes a lifetime to learn it - I'm still learning from the members here myself. Read this foum a lot and you will be ahead of the game.  :-+
I am a Test Equipment Addict (TEA) - by virtue of this forum signature, I have now faced my addiction
 
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Offline Nusa

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2019, 02:08:19 am »
If you're self-teaching, there is no right speed. You go in the directions and at the speed you choose to go at. Nobody learns all aspects of the field, although there are obviously basics that everyone should be exposed to.

If you're taking formal classes, then there should be a framework of material the degree program teaches over several years that you can look at.
 
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Online wch

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2019, 02:14:13 am »
I started to learn electornics since July, 2018. I knew high school physics and took some univeristy-level science courses before I began learning electronics engineering.

Now, I was wondering how much I should achieve by now. Am I being too slow?

To evaluate one's skills, I think it's fair and practical to judge him using his *works*.

Well, I can now make a PCB with STM32 and MPU-6050, though I am still troubleshooting its I2C, to read RX data on serial monitor.

So, how would you judge a beginner? How fast should he progress?

Thanks.

As AD said, you seem to have the motivation...  Electronics is a vast field. You can spend a lifetime doing audio or RF or environmental sensing and control or robotics.  So two suggestions... first choose a subfield that interests you. What kind of experimenting do you want to do? Or what do you want to build? Let that guide your study and practice.  Second, don't worry so much about comparing yourself against others or some imaginary timeline.  Instead, measure yourself against the kinds of work you do and how much fun you are having as you go.

Maybe you start out building kits or following someone's instructions for making a particular gadget. Then you finding yourself want to make improvements to stuff. Then you design something simple. You'll go through this loop again and again. As time passes, what you are capable of grows out of what you've done already and all the mistakes you make.   

Oh yeah, did I mention, have fun!   ;D
specialization is for insects.
 
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Offline rstofer

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2019, 04:53:54 am »
Electronics exists on at least two levels:  Hobbyist versus Engineer.  The hobbyist is more of a technician, capable of assembling most circuits and designing some.  The engineer will know vastly more.  You can spend a lifetime just tinkering with projects and never really need to know much about engineering but when it is required, you will hit a wall.  That wall is math.  Engineers take a LOT of math classes.

First semester EE school:  DC Circuits including Norton, Thevenin and Kirchhoff.  You need matrix algebra to solve the equations although row elimination will work for simple projects.

Second semester EE school:  AC circuits similar to DC circuits but involving complex numbers, sinusoidal voltage and current, phase shift through capacitors and inductors and so on.

By the end of the second semester, the student has enough circuit analysis background to be a really decent tech.
 
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Offline scatterandfocus

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2019, 01:41:25 pm »
We all learn at different speeds and go in countless different directions. Some could care less about computers and only be interested in metrology or RF. Unless you are in a hurry, learn at a speed that is comfortable for you and go where your interests take you, otherwise you might suffer burnout.

Excellent answer, and it really does apply to learning in general.

Some people really are just mentally sharper and quicker than others in general, and sometimes that only applies to more specific areas of intelligence.  And some topics of study are more difficult than others.

Aside from learning speed, some people will want to spend more time gaining a deeper understanding in some areas, while others won't.  How do you measure that in terms of speed?

And everyone has different backgrounds of collective experiences.  Maybe one person came up in an environment chocked full of experiences which lend to thinking about electronics (maybe your father was an EE, for example), and another person didn't.  Maybe one person had excellent formal education experiences which lend to easier learning of electronics, while another had education experiences which lend to easier learning of other things.

There could be lots of factors at play in how fast someone picks up electronics (or any other area of interest).  But more important than that is following your interests (whatever they are), figuring out how to work through problems, and developing understanding along the way.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2019, 02:25:57 pm »
At a hobby level, most 'make' projects are copy-and-paste.  Somebody else did the engineering calcs and thousands of people use the results.  Progress in the 'make' field can be quite fast as long as the hobbyist doesn't bother to go back and figure out how the circuit really works.  I'm thinking about the simple 1 transistor capacitor coupled amplifier with emitter degeneration.  There's a lot of arithmetic in that little circuit.

What is being 'learned'?  Unless the hobbyist is willing to spend the time with datasheets and calculations, the project is just copy-and-paste and very little is actually learned.  That's why college doesn't spend all that much time in the lab and lots of time with calcs.  The standing joke is that new engineers couldn't build a circuit if their life depended on it.  But there wouldn't be a design for the technicians to build were it not for engineers doing the math.

First, decide 'at what level' and then decide on what is to be learned.
 

Offline Fredled

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2019, 08:18:16 pm »
There isn't much maths for most projects because as rstofer said, these maths have been done before. There is no need to redo the same calculation, to get the same optimal result: Follow the guidelines.
Electronic is also more and more dependant upon programming. The world of microcontrollers, I2C, arduino and visual interface is basically connecting ic's together, with basic electronic knowledge, then programming it to make it work.
 
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Offline nigelwright7557

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2019, 01:14:57 am »
I have been in electronics and software for 40 years and I am still very much a learner.
These fields are so massive its impossible to know it all.
Best way to learn once you know the theory is to make things.
I thought  I understood SMPS until I actually had to design one and build it.
I have also designed USB scopes and that was a huge learning exercise too having to work with fast analogue and digital signals.
To start with I got a lovely pc display with a sine wave and 8MHz clock superimposed on it !
That was down to poor pcb design having a clock oscillator too close to an op amp high impedance signal.

The software side is massive, like trying to learn fast fourier transforms for my usb scope.
The sky is the limit really.




PCBCAD51 PCB design software https://www.murtonpikesystems.co.uk
 
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2019, 08:59:02 am »
I started to learn electornics since July, 2018. I knew high school physics and took some univeristy-level science courses before I began learning electronics engineering.
Now, I was wondering how much I should achieve by now. Am I being too slow?

To evaluate one's skills, I think it's fair and practical to judge him using his *works*.

Well, I can now make a PCB with STM32 and MPU-6050, though I am still troubleshooting its I2C, to read RX data on serial monitor.
That's nice!
How much Electronics Theory have you learned?  ;D
Quote

So, how would you judge a beginner? How fast should he progress?

Thanks.
 

Online RoGeorge

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2019, 09:13:04 am »
I started to learn electornics since July, 2018. I knew high school physics and took some univeristy-level science courses before I began learning electronics engineering.

Now, I was wondering how much I should achieve by now. Am I being too slow?

To evaluate one's skills, I think it's fair and practical to judge him using his *works*.

Well, I can now make a PCB with STM32 and MPU-6050, though I am still troubleshooting its I2C, to read RX data on serial monitor.

Not slow at all, you did great!   :-+

Online BravoV

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2019, 10:27:58 am »
And do not feel guilty to self, when you burnout throughout the journey, face it and live with it, and let it come back naturally, as natural as like your body muscles need to rest, after heavy contractions.

My 2 1/4 watt of resistors worth.

Offline Rerouter

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2019, 11:01:35 am »
The more you learn, the larger your concept of "electronics" grows, at some point programming, physics, chemistry and engineering begin to bleed in, So do not feel like you need to master everything, its like trying to memorize Wikipedia, changing every day and extremely vast in all directions,

Instead focus on chipping away at the topics that matter to you, you work a little outside your comfort zone, get used to it and wrap your head around it then continue. After you have done this for a while, you will begin to settle around functional blocks of software and hardware. that you have used in the past, know works, and can drop into a new design without much issue, these make it easier to work on more complex things in the future,

I2C / SPI was a hurdle for myself in the past, specifically AVR's slave select pin for SPI, but once you get it working, then for any future projects with similar hardware, you will be able to skip past and dig into the next challenge. This is why you still see projects based around very old low resource components when a more modern solution seems like a better option, When you have 2/3rds of what your trying to do already built and trusted for a past project, your preference shifts closer to that old part,

As to how I would judge a beginner, The only reliably metric is how willing they are to try something new, You will end up getting stuck at times trying to make your solution work vs trying a different solution, This is not to say that you should abandon things at the drop of a hat, but more when your trying to attack a problem, and are getting stuck, try looking at it from a few different angles, sometimes even rephrasing your questions will get you further,

And finally when you really find yourself stuck, you can put part of a project on hold, Its rare that a person is only working on 1 project or part of a project at a time, Taking a 15 minute walk outside, working on something different for a while or even a nights rest helps you stop stressing on that one part, and gives you some time to unpack it, and understand it, Even writing it out like your trying to explain the task to someone else can help you grasp what your missing. If you just double down on a single issue you can find yourself burnt out for a while.
 
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Offline GerryR

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2019, 11:04:56 am »
As someone stated earlier, learn the math.  That will give you a deeper understanding of what is going on, and you will be able to analyze circuits to find out what is going on.  Also, if you are really committed to a particular area, try finding a job working with some seasoned engineers in that area; the best way to learn is by doing with some mentors to bounce ideas off of them.

If you go looking for work in a particular area, don't be afraid to tell them you are just a beginner; they will know anyway.

When I started out (48 years ago), I got into an area that didn't suit me, but I was up in salary, so trying to go in a different direction was a big decision.  Well, I made the decision, took a cut in pay to get into the area I liked and got to learning and relearning electronics.  As they say, the rest is history.  I ended up self-employed, doing what I really like, for the last 28 years.  You just have to be committed to your goals.

There is an old story about 3 frogs that fell into a jar of cream.  Two of them drowned because they gave up kicking.  The third walked out of the jar on the butter!  "If life gives you a licking, keep on kicking, don't mutter an utter, for one more kick may bring the butter."

Have a great career!



Still learning; good judgment come from experience, which comes from bad judgment!!
 

Offline bjdhjy888

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2019, 11:22:43 am »
Speaking of math, I was not good at it at all. It wasn't until I started to work with my PhD coworkers that I realized how important and cool math was. The spirit of doing researches and making things also inspired me to learn electronics. I value them.

The algorithms for IMU projects may involve Kalman filter, which might be difficult math. But I will learn it, and write my codes based on other people's codes.  :)

Thanks, guys!
« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 11:24:42 am by bjdhjy888 »
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2019, 03:54:44 pm »
Speaking of math, I was not good at it at all. It wasn't until I started to work with my PhD coworkers that I realized how important and cool math was. The spirit of doing researches and making things also inspired me to learn electronics. I value them.

The algorithms for IMU projects may involve Kalman filter, which might be difficult math. But I will learn it, and write my codes based on other people's codes.  :)

Thanks, guys!

Big hint:  Nobody is good at math coming out of public schools.  There may be a very few in the AP classes who might have a clue but even they are going to have a climb when Calculus comes up.  And that's just the beginning...

The only way to get through this stuff is in some kind of study group.  A few folks, sitting around a table, solving problems.  It keeps the motivation up, it provides different viewpoints and the practice in known to work.

Good news:  Khan Academy, CalcWorkshop, 3blue1brown, MathTutorDVD are all helpful.  Top two sites:  Desmos.com for graphing and Symbolab.com for solving just about anything with explanations (there is a subscription plan for more detailed explanations).  There are a lot of tools available, resources abound, all it takes is effort.

Don't overlook your community college for many of these math topics.  In fact, the first 2 years of a 5 year program should probably be at the community college level just for cost.  If you go this route, talk to the counselor about the proper sequencing (IMPORTANT) and avoid classes that won't transfer to a college or university.  They have all the details.
 
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Offline scatterandfocus

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2019, 03:56:49 pm »
At a hobby level, most 'make' projects are copy-and-paste.  Somebody else did the engineering calcs and thousands of people use the results.  Progress in the 'make' field can be quite fast as long as the hobbyist doesn't bother to go back and figure out how the circuit really works.  I'm thinking about the simple 1 transistor capacitor coupled amplifier with emitter degeneration.  There's a lot of arithmetic in that little circuit.

What is being 'learned'?  Unless the hobbyist is willing to spend the time with datasheets and calculations, the project is just copy-and-paste and very little is actually learned.  That's why college doesn't spend all that much time in the lab and lots of time with calcs.  The standing joke is that new engineers couldn't build a circuit if their life depended on it.  But there wouldn't be a design for the technicians to build were it not for engineers doing the math.

First, decide 'at what level' and then decide on what is to be learned.

It seems to me that starting from a 'make' level first would be a good thing, rather than starting from the math end.  Lots of practicalities will be learned as well as gaining some hands-on experience of constructing circuits, while using very basic math.  All sorts of questions will be raised for those who want a better understanding of what is going on, which leads into actually wanting to reach for and use the math end of things.  I strongly subscribe to the idea that so many people have issues with learning math because they don't have immediate practical needs for what is being learned.  In other words, there is nothing there to apply the math to, making it appear to be useless abstractions built on top of other useless abstractions.  It is being pushed onto learners who have no need for it and nothing personally interesting to do with it.

I would make a similar analogy in learning music.  A beginner should start by first having a genuine appetite for music, then start learning the mechanics of playing an instrument, not by learning music theory.  Then the beginner should learn to listen and develop a good ear, along with some very basics of music theory, namely, intervals, chords, and time.  Teaching comprehensive music theory, analysis, and composition from the getgo is the wrong way around.  The beginner has no immediate need for it, doesn't have a good ear and intuition to utilize it well, and doesn't have a range of music under the belt to think about how others have applied it or intuited it.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 04:19:54 pm by scatterandfocus »
 
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Offline FreddieChopin

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2019, 04:26:58 pm »
But I will learn it, and write my codes based on other people's codes.  :)

You won't, you'll copy-paste somewhat working code from SO and pretend to understand it. That's how it always turns out 🍆🍆🍆🍆🍆🍆💦💦💦💦💦💦
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2019, 06:09:09 pm »
First, decide 'at what level' and then decide on what is to be learned.

It seems to me that starting from a 'make' level first would be a good thing, rather than starting from the math end.  Lots of practicalities will be learned as well as gaining some hands-on experience of constructing circuits, while using very basic math.  All sorts of questions will be raised for those who want a better understanding of what is going on, which leads into actually wanting to reach for and use the math end of things.  I strongly subscribe to the idea that so many people have issues with learning math because they don't have immediate practical needs for what is being learned.  In other words, there is nothing there to apply the math to, making it appear to be useless abstractions built on top of other useless abstractions.  It is being pushed onto learners who have no need for it and nothing personally interesting to do with it.

Absolutely correct.  First define what 'learn' means and then figure out how to get there.  For the vast majority of hobbyists, a few simple ideas (Ohm's Law, Kirchhoff's Laws, Thevenin's Theorem and Norton's Theorem) are about all they will ever need and the arithmetic behind them can be quite simple.  Okay, solving the simultaneous equations that result from circuit analysis can be a bit complex (pun intended for those doing AC circuit analysis) but there are tools for that.  Really simple tools that are easy to use.  The whole thing is no more than simple algebra, sometimes just simple arithmetic.

But it comes down to the definition of 'learn'.  Like a hobbyist or like an engineer?  There's a HUGE difference.

The hobby stuff is a lot more fun!  Just build stuff that interests you.  Learn what you can and move on!
« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 06:13:26 pm by rstofer »
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2019, 07:13:06 pm »
There's another related question that is relevant to both hobbyists and professional engineers. For the former it is merely a case of what gives most pleasure, but for the latter it is a significant career choice.

So, do you want to be
  • highly expert in one topic. or
  • a jack of all trades and master of none
Either choice is equally valid, but it is worth realising the choice has to be made.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline bjdhjy888

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2019, 10:18:07 pm »
Believe or not, one of the motivations for me to play with electronics(STM32, IMU, PCB) is to master programming. VB, C++, C#, C, Python, Assembly, and Java, along with VS, Keil, (DSP, FPGA), you name it, I learned it!

Programming itself appears more intriguing to me than circuits, though I do value schematics or layouts.

I also followed tutorials to parse sample codes on various projects. So, I guess I won't fool myself by pretending anything, wasting my $ and time.

As my favourite YouTuber Paul McWhorter says, "Never fold like a cheap lawnchair." I won't. I promise ya!
 :-*
« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 10:21:03 pm by bjdhjy888 »
 

Offline AngusBeef

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2019, 11:45:06 pm »
If you're a hobbyist, I don't think asking yourself "how much should you know" is a relevant question. Yeah, sure, some engineers will throw fire at you for failing to recognize some 'basic' concepts they were taught as a freshman in college, but it's really not relevant.

I think a more relevant way to look at the situation is to decide what you want to achieve - whether it's a particular project, an understanding of how something works, or whatever particular matter it is that interests you. The rest of the information will come as you journey along the way. It's the same reason why people can be phenomenal while assembling an Arduino and still fail to understand basic electrical engineering. It's just that the information wasn't relevant in order for them to accomplish their task. Does this lead to mistakes and some magic smoke? Yeah, perhaps. But it's a hobby so nobody's lives are depending on the outcome of your firmware/hardware issues (unlike, for instance, the engineers for Boeing's autopilot).

I started in electronics about 3 months ago. I'm about as ADHD as they come and when I was in University I majored in a foreign language. I ask a lot of dumb questions on these boards (after I've googled of course) and of course struggle with some things that are either implied tasks (aka when you edit hex files for EEPROM you must also update the checksum on each line) or make the assumption of pre-existing knowledge (such as following the instructions on patching the Rigol Oscilloscope). But at the end of the day I'll struggle through and develop enough knowledge to accomplish the projects I desire to accomplish, and that's enough for me.

And @tggzzz, I think there is more gray area than you believe. Most "experts" are hardly an expert in one topic, but in many. As an example, if HF communication is a topic, think of all the supporting topics you must be an expert in just to think about calling yourself a HAM wizard. The HAM wizard has a ton of knowledge that is cross-compatible with other fields. I think "jack of all trades and master of none" is not the opposite of "highly expert in one topic" but instead a separate question concerning one's desire and dedication. But it's just my opinion and you can disagree!  :-+
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2019, 12:35:54 am »
And @tggzzz, I think there is more gray area than you believe. Most "experts" are hardly an expert in one topic, but in many. As an example, if HF communication is a topic, think of all the supporting topics you must be an expert in just to think about calling yourself a HAM wizard. The HAM wizard has a ton of knowledge that is cross-compatible with other fields. I think "jack of all trades and master of none" is not the opposite of "highly expert in one topic" but instead a separate question concerning one's desire and dedication. But it's just my opinion and you can disagree!  :-+

Basically I agree; the world is indeed shades of grey rather than black and white. And your point about being expert in one field requiring knowledge of other fields is absolutely correct.

Nonetheless, thinking in terms of world-expert vs jack-of-all-trades is a useful trick because it can cause people to consider what they want and what they are prepared to not have. Examples:
  • if you are a world-expert then you will probably be highly rewarded while that expertise is valuable - but what happens when it has ceased to be valuable?
  • if you are a jack-of-all-trades then you probably won't be such a "high flyer", but may have more stable employment over time
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2019, 02:12:52 am »
My original reply was tongue in cheek, but there was a real point to it.

The STM32 & MPU 6050 stuff is great, but people can & do develop capability in the use of such devices whilst having only the vaguest knowledge of fundamental Electronics theory.

In a way, it's like being able to use a multimeter, or to solder------- great skills, but not really Electronics knowledge.

It is a real problem.
I've run into people with an "Advanced Diploma in Electronics" from TAFE, to whom Ohm's Law is a new & startling concept.
It seems that IT material has became such an important part of their syllabus that if you "are good with computers", you can skate over all the other stuff.

It has been noted on this thread that the "maths are pretty simple" for things like Ohm's Law, Kirchoff's Laws, Thevenin's Theorem, & so on, but that is only half of it.

Approaching them as solely Mathematics formulas, anyone with a fair ability could solve most problems, but they are a way of describing the operation of Electronic circuits, which otherwise require long, tedious, verbose descriptions, not the "be-all & end-all" of Electronics.

I have been both lucky & unlucky by being able to see many concepts intuitively.
Lucky, in that I didn't need to agonise over them, but unlucky in that, being lazy, I didn't bother with the maths to rigorously prove them.

This came back to bite me when I tried to explain how a test using a stairstep waveform & a simple differentiating network could be used to determine the linearity of a system.

It was obvious to me, but explaining it to someone who had never seen it done before, & was of a different mind set, meant I had to drag out my ancient, & then quite poor, Differental Calculus skills to "get the idea over".
As soon as he saw the mathematical basis of the test, "the light dawned".
« Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 07:58:17 am by vk6zgo »
 

Offline scatterandfocus

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2019, 05:40:54 am »
Charles Proteus Steinmetz wrote an interesting paper in 1908 on electrical engineering education.  Here is a snippet of it to draw you in:

Quote
https://www.eeekenya.com/electrical-engineering-education-by-charles-p-steinmetz/

To the subjects taught and the methods of teaching very grave objections may be made. The glaring fault of the college curriculum is that quantity and not quality seems to be the object sought: the amount of instruction crowded into a four years’ course is far beyond that which even the better kind of student can possibly digest. Memorizing details largely takes the place of understanding principles, with the result that a year after graduation much of the matter which had been taught has passed out of the memory of the student, and even examinations given to the senior class on subjects taught during the freshman and sophomore years, reveal conditions which are startling and rather condemnatory to the present methods of teaching.

It stands to reason that with the limited time at his disposal, it is inadvisable for a student to waste time on anything which he forgets in a year or two; only that which it is necessary to know should be taught, and then it should be taught so that at least the better student understands it so thoroughly as never to forget it. That is to say, far better results would be obtained if half or more of the mass of details which the college now attempts to teach, were dropped; if there were taught only the most important subjects-the fundamental principles and their applications-in short, all that is vitally necessary to an intelligent understanding of engineering, but this taught thoroughly, so as not to be forgotten. This, however, requires a far higher grade of teachers than are needed for the mere memorizing of text-book matters, reciting them, at the end of the term passing an examination on the subject and then dropping it.  The salaries offered by the colleges are not such as to attract such men. When the student enters college he is not receptive to an intelligent understanding, for after a four years’ dose in the high school of the same vicious method of memorizing a large mass of half and even less understood matters, the student finds it far easier to memorize the contents of his textbooks than to use his intelligence to understand the subject matter. After graduation, years of practice do for the better class of students what the college should have done-teach them to understand things. It is, however, significant that even now young graduates of foreign universities, in spite of the inferior facilities afforded abroad, do some of the most important electrical development work of this country. Men who never had a college education rise ahead of college graduates. This would be impossible if our college training gave what it should, an intelligent understanding of electrical engineering subjects.
 

Offline FreddieChopin

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Re: How fast is a beginner supposed to grow/learn/make?
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2019, 06:55:13 am »
Charles Proteus Steinmetz wrote an interesting paper in 1908 on electrical engineering education.  Here is a snippet of it to draw you in:

Quote
https://www.eeekenya.com/electrical-engineering-education-by-charles-p-steinmetz/

To the subjects taught and the methods of teaching very grave objections may be made. The glaring fault of the college curriculum is that quantity and not quality seems to be the object sought: the amount of instruction crowded into a four years’ course is far beyond that which even the better kind of student can possibly digest. Memorizing details largely takes the place of understanding principles, with the result that a year after graduation much of the matter which had been taught has passed out of the memory of the student, and even examinations given to the senior class on subjects taught during the freshman and sophomore years, reveal conditions which are startling and rather condemnatory to the present methods of teaching.

It stands to reason that with the limited time at his disposal, it is inadvisable for a student to waste time on anything which he forgets in a year or two; only that which it is necessary to know should be taught, and then it should be taught so that at least the better student understands it so thoroughly as never to forget it. That is to say, far better results would be obtained if half or more of the mass of details which the college now attempts to teach, were dropped; if there were taught only the most important subjects-the fundamental principles and their applications-in short, all that is vitally necessary to an intelligent understanding of engineering, but this taught thoroughly, so as not to be forgotten. This, however, requires a far higher grade of teachers than are needed for the mere memorizing of text-book matters, reciting them, at the end of the term passing an examination on the subject and then dropping it.  The salaries offered by the colleges are not such as to attract such men. When the student enters college he is not receptive to an intelligent understanding, for after a four years’ dose in the high school of the same vicious method of memorizing a large mass of half and even less understood matters, the student finds it far easier to memorize the contents of his textbooks than to use his intelligence to understand the subject matter. After graduation, years of practice do for the better class of students what the college should have done-teach them to understand things. It is, however, significant that even now young graduates of foreign universities, in spite of the inferior facilities afforded abroad, do some of the most important electrical development work of this country. Men who never had a college education rise ahead of college graduates. This would be impossible if our college training gave what it should, an intelligent understanding of electrical engineering subjects.

I once heared a quote: if someone can work he works, if he's too incompetent for work then he teaches if he is too noob to teach the he becomes a subhuman.
 


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