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Describe your engineering job.

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What's a typical day in the office like for you other engineers?  Is there any type of work that you'd like to do but don't get to do?

Here's a description of mine (in no particular order):
1.  Interface with suppliers/vendors. 
2.  Review and approve vendor drawings, specifications and test reports.
3.  Attend numerous meetings to plan and kick-off projects.  Attend even more meetings to coordinate projects.
4.  Occasional failure analysis of electromechanical parts.
5.  Writing all kinds of reports, reports and more reports.  Occasional PowerPoint presentation of report findings.
6.  Analyzing and sorting data using spreadsheet applications.
7.  A bunch of other large-corporation paper-pushing -- i.e. 5/15 reports, updating milestone tracking system, detailed recording of time charges, etc.

Here's what I don't do (at work):
1.  Real hands-on EE design.   :'(
2.  Software programming.   :'(

A-sic Enginerd:
Design, build, and debug some smaller part of a very large chip.
That's it, that's all she wrote.

Oh, and it's all in the digital world so I never have to count higher than 1. It's a really tough day when I have to add or gate a 0 and a 1. That really taxes the grey matter.

coffee, forum, code,
reverse engineer code/algorithms/hardware,
debug other peoples hardware,
persuade large  OEM's they have some serious bugs causing performance issues and thats it not the bandwidth tester at fault and logically yes that there is a point where you're the first person to find a huge problem and not rely on the well no one else has that (no one else tested it),
bypass OEM's, switch OEM's,
source chips,
deal with how bad UPS is,
deal with customers who're worried about shipments because of how bad UPS (shipping) is,
design new hardware because of lack of availability,
order new dev boards,
finish code for old board, even though youve only got enough for 50 or so,
find compiler problems,
rebuild servers that are supposed to arrive ready to run,
start writing new compilers since compiler writers are too slow and "corporate" to fix things in a reasonable amount of time,
meetings with asic guys,
find new engineers to hire that can do some of that,
find more time,
code, forums, try to do some of the personal fun projects, sleep, repeat.

thats a small sampling of a typical day around here, spattered with the odd trip to the race track or dyno shop.

today was fun though, reflowed some pcbs, hand soldered some, reverse engineered the xbox 360 controller, and found out that the at90can128 and at90can64 don't support the same programmers!

What I do mostly is (in no particular order):

- Electronics hardware design (analog, digital, mixed signal stuff, some power electronics), drawing schematics, doing calculations/simulations etc.
- Preparing manufacturing documentation
- Writing prototype test plans
- FPGA/CPLD design (designing, simulating and testing in final hardware) mostly using VHDL (until some customer absolutely insists using Verilog!)
- Support for SW guys (i.e. they come to me and tell me that something does not work)
- Support for assembly houses in case of issues which often come up when first boards are assembled
- Supervising PCB layouts and sometimes I even do them, or some critical parts of it (it sure took me by surprise in beginning to notice that most "pro" layout persons around here usually know very little about electronics, not even mentioning high-speed stuff!)
- Checking/correcting finished layouts
- Prototype testing and troubleshooting (first prototypes of any project are usually quite interesting in this respect)
- EMI/EMC testing and troubleshooting
- Approving/finding second source/alternative components in case original is no longer made
- Customer support when they start using our stuff
- Sometimes writing small test software for microcontrollers
- Maintaining our company component database system for PADS
- Sometimes helping my colleagues in my specialty areas (EMI/EMC, SI and high-speed digital)
- Attending various meetings


Well, besides the typical management crap like meetings, reports, HR stuff, reporting up the chain as to what is going on, I actually have a rather interesting job.  I propose and design control system concepts, circuit design and debug and field support for our stuff.  Now I actually have a number of engineers doing a lot of the grunt work, but I frequently get my hands on doing design details of circuits, PCB etc and guiding those doing detail design and debug.  I never got too far into the software detail.  I can write and read code, but I don't have the patience to do code day-in and day-out.  So I have a great guy who does it.  

I still like and have the opportunity to do detailed circuit design, software concept and design (but not code) and system level concept and design.  I get out several times a month.  Usually to meet with customers.  Sometimes to see, evaluate or debug some equipment problem.  Usually I have an engineer with me to do the grunt work.  

I would like to spend more of my time on design stuff, but the management BS limits my time.



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