Author Topic: How much more math do I need to study???  (Read 6568 times)

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Offline kasumyku

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How much more math do I need to study???
« on: January 23, 2013, 08:50:10 pm »
Hi everyone, ( English 2ND language  ;)   )

I am 1/4 way in ET course and before applying I was told that my basic math skills are good enough to get me throughout the whole course. Neeh , only this far and already I need Linear Algebra ( that's not basic algebra!!!), also Trigonometry is needed later on.

Just got the taste of electronics and I'm stuck at learning math  :(
After all studying math it's not the problem, the issue is what type of math do I really need?
So far studied Introductory and Intermediate Algebra, which step is next...Geometry , Trigonometry then Linear Algebra ???

I would appreciate any tips or suggestions regarding what math branches do I need to study before going any further and in what order.

Thanks guys!
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 09:03:29 pm »
What's ET? You definitely need calculus, at least, the beginning ones (get through derivatives and integrals). Trigonometry is also very important - it becomes relevant when you're working with AC.. Trig before calculus, and you should be directly ready to start now, no additional prep needed. Coming from a former math student who absolutely adores linear algebra, you don't need it at all for electronics. I have a tendency to shoehorn weird maths into places where they're almost never used and I have yet to find a use for it in electronics (well, except for that one time...  :D) It's more relevant in computer programming, and even then it's usually unnecessary. More important in scientific programming.
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Offline ptricks

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 09:13:12 pm »
Do you have a copy of the book , "The Art of Electronics" ?
If you can do the math that is inside that book then you know enough to be an engineer. Realize that schools always teach you things you may never use so if you are struggling with something try your best but don't obsess over it because a lot of the stuff you will never encounter again .
If there is an equation or something in the book mentioned you don't understand ask about it and maybe someone can point you to what level of math and how best to understand .
 
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Offline kasumyku

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 09:26:57 pm »
 @ c4757p
Sorry, ET- Electronics Technician.

Thanks for your reply, so the only two things that I need now is Trigonometry and Calculus?
Then should I just dive straight into Trigonometry or study Geometry prior to it?
Even though to go to the next module (8TH MODULE-Network Theorems) is asking for Linear Algebra...

Electronics Technician course that I am taking consists of 23 modules:

1Introduction to Electronics
2Current, Voltage and Resistance
3Ohm’s Law, Power and Energy
4Series Circuits
5Parallel Circuits
6Series-Parallel Circuits
7DC Measuring Instruments
8Network Theorems
9Magnetism
10Magnetic Circuits
11Alternating Voltages and Currents
12AC Measuring Instruments
13Capacitance and Capacitors
14Inductance and Inductors
15Transformers
16Alternating Current Circuits
17Resonance
18Coupling and Filter Circuits
19Semiconductor Fundamentals
20Transistors and Thyristors
21Amplifier Circuits
22Integrated Circuits
23Digital Electronics


Thanks!
 
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Offline IanB

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 09:28:52 pm »
What's ET? You definitely need calculus

I would not imagine you need calculus for a technician level course or program (is ET electronics technician?), but you would certainly need it for higher level study towards a bachelor's degree in engineering, for example.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 09:33:40 pm »
Technician level and they're requiring linear??  :palm: I'm taking a full EE course now and they don't require it. I'm not even sure my adviser would know what it is! Well, if they want you to have studied it and you haven't, you'll be damn confused, so might as well. Linear algebra is pretty much a foreign language if you haven't seen it before.

Doesn't the place have prerequisites listed for courses? Like, required ones? I'd be a bit surprised if you can just go ahead, not take Linear, and then go ahead and take a course that calls for it!

In that same vein, geometry isn't really relevant to you and you could get by without it, but it's probably a prerequisite for trig.
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Offline kasumyku

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 09:35:48 pm »
@ ptricks

Thanks for your reply, that's the book that I am studying for, it came with the course DVD ( Its a distance education course) which has the same contents as the book, and on the dvd is mentioned to have Linear Algebra knowledge.

 

Offline ftransform

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 10:07:54 pm »
what you need instead of math classes is a ti89
 

Offline IanB

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 10:10:51 pm »
There's linear algebra and linear algebra. I did basic linear algebra in high school when I was 14, covering basic linear transformations like scaling and rotation in 2D space, solving linear simultaneous equations by Gauss elimination, inverting simple 2D matrices, stuff like that. However, that's very elementary stuff compared to higher level topics.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 10:28:53 pm »
So, basically all the useless stuff, just enough to scare you away from it. Well, OK, useless as a standalone. Why bother with that sort of stuff unless you're going to continue on? The only part of that that I would think would ever be useful by itself is Gauss elimination, and there are usually easier ways to do that.

High school....  :palm:
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Offline ftransform

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2013, 11:16:23 pm »
I wonder how many differential equations dave jones has studied in his career as a EE after college
 

Offline kasumyku

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2013, 11:20:12 pm »
LOL so from what all of you guys are saying is that algebra 1 and algebra 2 is enough for this electronics technician course.

Also instead of me doing all these extra math searches and more math books spendings, all I had to do is just continue with my electronics course and just pick up more info while going deeper into electronics...hmmmmm  ???

If that's the case then thanks guys for lifting a big weight of my shoulders  :-+
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2013, 11:43:22 pm »
just enough to pass the exams. once you exit school you will NEVER use any of that stuff again.

In real life the 'heavy math' ( anything beyond + - * / square root and logs ) is done by simulators or software like Matlab. There is not a person in his right mind that will integrate or derive by hand. Most of the time you don't even need the equations. the computers know them. Plug in numbers and off you go.
Calculation is for machines.
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Offline IanB

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2013, 12:19:21 am »
There is not a person in his right mind that will integrate or derive by hand.

Footnote: There are occasional exceptions to this, for example in chemical thermodynamics. (However, it might still be debated whether chemical thermodynamicists are in their right mind  :)
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Offline c4757p

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2013, 12:38:35 am »
it might still be debated whether chemical thermodynamicists are in their right mind

There's no debate, that case was over a long time ago. Nobody who is a chemical anything is ever in his right mind. Ever. (Not necessarily in a bad way - there's a good kind of insanity  :D )
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Offline GK

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2013, 12:42:33 am »
Also instead of me doing all these extra math searches and more math books spendings,


Should you ever decide to progress with your studies beyond the technician level, you will need calculus. Here is a book that is free; probably the best introduction to calculus around:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/33283/33283-pdf.pdf

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2013, 07:02:48 am »
So herewe go again.

It is totally unpredictable if you later need math again and what kind of math. The worst thing that can happen to you is to get caught totally off-guard in a job where you suddenly need some math - the "wrong kind".

Examples of math I quickly had to (re-)learn in my job as an engineer in the last few years:

Some ugly statistic, in particular a special discrete distribution, because we had to distribute some activities in a machine according to that distribution.

Parts of weighted graph theory, because we used that to model a specific behavior of one of our systems. The actual calculations were done in a Matlab-like software. But in order to understand how to build realistic model we first had to understood the theory.

Geo location stuff. Yes, we use a library to convert all different kinds of coordinate systems (and hell, there are a lot). But to understand the nature and difficulty of the problem and what was relevant for our task I had to learn at least some basics. Once I knew what we were in I managed to get an OK from my management to hire outside consultancy. Yes, I used math to drive a management decision. To give you an idea, here is what Daveland has to say about how they figure out where stuff is in Australia  http://www.icsm.gov.au/gda/tech.html And almost every country in the world has multiple own systems. And unfortunately there are sometimes no analytic solutions to transform coordinates from one system to the other.

So never say never. Tomorrow your boss might give you a task requiring math. And then you are happy that you were once allowed to cut your teeth on the stuff they ask you to do during your studies.
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Offline Christe4nM

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2013, 03:24:14 pm »
I'd second that. I find that knowing your math helps to the occasional do quick calculations yourself, but moreover helps to gain understanding of the structures behind the subject. Now that might not apply to everyone, since anyone could have their own way of learning. Yet to me I feel I 'get' my electronics subject better when I can figure out why formula's and calculations are the way they are. Not so say that it's limited to that, just that math is an important structure laying underneath electronics.

I don't think I would've understand control systems, frequency analysis & plots (as an example) fully without first getting through the (advanced) math. (Like linear differential equations, LaPlace transformations etc.) Then again YMMV.

Now if you don't want to go that deep, know that math can still be of aid in knowing when a computer is lying to you or not. I know for a fact that Bob Pease threw a computer from Linear's rooftop when he found the spice simulation providing incorrect results. That might had to do more with his experience in electronics vs the simulation than with math though ;)

On the other hand, I think learning math in high school or any level above, is also used as a way to train abstract thinking. Or maybe they just use it to test who is smart enough or something alike? (Would be preposterous) I don't know, "your guess is as good as mine"
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2018, 10:05:18 am »
So herewe go again.

It is totally unpredictable if you later need math again and what kind of math. The worst thing that can happen to you is to get caught totally off-guard in a job where you suddenly need some math - the "wrong kind".

Examples of math I quickly had to (re-)learn in my job as an engineer in the last few years:

Some ugly statistic, in particular a special discrete distribution, because we had to distribute some activities in a machine according to that distribution.

Parts of weighted graph theory, because we used that to model a specific behavior of one of our systems. The actual calculations were done in a Matlab-like software. But in order to understand how to build realistic model we first had to understood the theory.

Geo location stuff. Yes, we use a library to convert all different kinds of coordinate systems (and hell, there are a lot). But to understand the nature and difficulty of the problem and what was relevant for our task I had to learn at least some basics. Once I knew what we were in I managed to get an OK from my management to hire outside consultancy. Yes, I used math to drive a management decision. To give you an idea, here is what Daveland has to say about how they figure out where stuff is in Australia  http://www.icsm.gov.au/gda/tech.html And almost every country in the world has multiple own systems. And unfortunately there are sometimes no analytic solutions to transform coordinates from one system to the other.

So never say never. Tomorrow your boss might give you a task requiring math. And then you are happy that you were once allowed to cut your teeth on the stuff they ask you to do during your studies.

Precisely right on all counts.

The OP should be learning what tools are available, when to use them, and how to learn to use a tool they haven't used before.

After they have that understanding they will be in a good position to
  • understand what is happening (in simulation/modelling/measurement) so they can predict causes and effect
  • know what they don't know
  • which claims (technical, sales, management, etc) can/can't be justified
  • know where the dragons lie, so they can avoid being bitten
Ignore statements like "you won't need X". That's a "misspelling" of "I haven't needed X (yet)", or "I never understood X".

Analogy: nurses don't need to understand the theory of everything that goes on in the body, but doctors do. Who do you want to diagnose you and want to define a course of treatment? Who do you want to take a blood sample? Doctors and nurses different and complementary, and both are necessary.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online dmills

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2018, 11:24:54 am »
Trig and calculus are IMHO at least useful, and trig comes from geometry, so....

You will absolutely need complex numbers, so at least the beginnings of vector spaces.

AC networks are hard to really understand without trig, and phasors are much easier to understand once you really get Eulers identity (Which comes from Complex analysis and finite dimensional vector spaces).

Matrix methods are sometimes by far the easiest way to solve a network, which is where linear algebra and Gauss Jordan elimination come in.

The Lapalace transform is profoundly useful for making systems of differential equations more tractable (There are simple geometric rules about pole/zero locations that tell you useful things about stability), which (Like the Fourier transform) comes from basis functions.

It is less about being able to do the maths day to day (I would have to hit the books to remember how to integrate F(x)G(x) between limits these days), as being able to recognise what is going on.

One thing to make sure is that you have the fundamentals down, it is amazing how missing some little piece of basic maths can make things very, very confusing in a later class.

Stats is something I must get better at, but sometimes even the little I do know is very useful.

For doing the mathematics in the real world, we have computers, but recognising the required maths for a given desired result, that is still a human task.

Regards, Dan.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2018, 11:28:55 am »
It is less about being able to do the maths day to day (I would have to hit the books to remember how to integrate F(x)G(x) between limits these days), as being able to recognise what is going on.

For doing the mathematics in the real world, we have computers, but recognising the required maths for a given desired result, that is still a human task.

Those points should be emphasised!

I agree with all your other points.
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Offline GregDunn

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2018, 06:21:02 pm »
Two things that I didn't see mentioned here:

1) An important part of education is not just learning math or rote absorption of various methods of integration, equation solving, etc. - it's training the mind to improve itself and its ability to solve various types of problems.  The more different types of analysis and calculation you study, the better the mind is at adapting to new problems when they are encountered.  As stated above, recognizing the right tool for the right job and recognizing the shape of the expected answer are valuable skills which are honed by math of disparate and increasing levels.

2) Math is characterized by higher levels of abstraction as you progress from basic arithmetic to algebra to calculus and beyond.  It's difficult to fully understand a level until you've acquainted yourself with the next one higher up.  Whether or not calculus is something you'll be using on a day to day basis, learning enough of it to understand the principles gives you an excellent handle on the need and usefulness of algebra.  I didn't really appreciate calculus and its applications until I'd taken two courses in differential equations, and my next course in advanced calculus benefited enormously from the courses in diff. eq. as a foundation.  Being able to visualize the shape and structure of the answer in advance is almost essential for proper application of almost any type of math, and you get plenty of practice with calculus and diff. eq.

The short answer is to take enough math beyond your anticipated need to be fully conversant with the level you will be employing.    I actually do use calculus occasionally to do some electronics design and statistical analysis, so I'm glad I did.  It's surprising how often linear algebra and statistics are useful in non-technical applications, too; lots of common scams or deception can be identified with just a little math, and could save people (and corporations) much money and trouble if used intelligently.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2018, 06:27:10 pm »
Do you have a copy of the book , "The Art of Electronics" ?
If you can do the math that is inside that book then you know enough to be an engineer. Realize that schools always teach you things you may never use so if you are struggling with something try your best but don't obsess over it because a lot of the stuff you will never encounter again .
If there is an equation or something in the book mentioned you don't understand ask about it and maybe someone can point you to what level of math and how best to understand .
It seems most people use a lot less math in real life than in school, although exceptions apply. I think Dave once said something to the same effect. I've found the same to be true too. The real world isn't as scary as it may seem.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2018, 08:55:17 pm »
Do you have a copy of the book , "The Art of Electronics" ?
If you can do the math that is inside that book then you know enough to be an engineer. Realize that schools always teach you things you may never use so if you are struggling with something try your best but don't obsess over it because a lot of the stuff you will never encounter again .
If there is an equation or something in the book mentioned you don't understand ask about it and maybe someone can point you to what level of math and how best to understand .
It seems most people use a lot less math in real life than in school, although exceptions apply. I think Dave once said something to the same effect. I've found the same to be true too. The real world isn't as scary as it may seem.

They use the results of maths every day, and that requires they understand the boundaries in which the maths is valid.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: How much more math do I need to study???
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2018, 11:57:58 pm »
It seems most people use a lot less math in real life...
no if you are on the cutting edge or want to invent something. But if you just want to copy psu design from 1977 magazine like many hobbiests did, then probably you dont need math.
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