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Maths & other areas to study up

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logictom:
This summer I'm going to be brushing on my maths and was after some advice from anyone that's employed as an electronic engineer or similar.
I'll be brushing up on what I've been taught but was wondering how much of it will actually be useful and be used regularly.
A lot of what we have been taught has never been used in anything other than the maths course, I understand it's useful to know this extra 'stuff' but I would like to concentrate on what will be the most useful down the line. Also if there are any areas that perhaps aren't usually taught that maybe useful?

I hope to get a job in designing embedded systems and what to present a strong set of skills so I'm interested in any advise as to which other areas I could look into studying over summer.

I know these are very general questions but perhaps someone can offer some advise?  :)

mkissin:
Sorry, I can't advise on embedded systems directly, but I can tell you that as a power electronics engineer I regularly use every single bit of maths that I was ever taught.

Some of it isn't used directly. For example, it's rare that I have to actually go through the rigor of taking the Fourier transform of a signal, but it's very important to be able to guess basically what the answer would be if I was to do it. It will help hugely in your debugging to know that the high-frequency content of a square wave is not related to the actual frequency of the waveform itself, but instead to the slew rate of the edges.

The more you know (about everything), the better you will be as an engineer.

EEVblog:
It's hard to say, as individual areas of electronics can differ greatly. But I can say that in my 20 years, I've had to calculate an actual integral exactly zero times as an example. Same with Fourier transforms and other advanced stuff. Maxwells's stuff - forget it.
That being said, the concepts are important and I've had to use them many times.
Day to day math for most engineers is generally little more than ohms law and other basic formula.

mkissin mentioned power electronics, and that's probably one area that would be different and require more math.

As for embedded systems, the math should be very minimal. But it would not be uncommon to have to implement an FFT routine for example. But rarely would you code it from first principles for example, you'd just use a pre-written routines.

So generally speaking, all that first principle stuff you'll rarely if ever use, but knowing what to expect and the concepts are important.

Dave.

logictom:

--- Quote from: mkissin on May 01, 2010, 10:42:56 pm ---The more you know (about everything), the better you will be as an engineer.
--- End quote ---
Couldn't agree more.

--- Quote from: EEVblog on May 01, 2010, 11:44:02 pm ---It's hard to say, as individual areas of electronics can differ greatly. But I can say that in my 20 years, I've had to calculate an actual integral exactly zero times as an example. Same with Fourier transforms and other advanced stuff. Maxwells's stuff - forget it.
That being said, the concepts are important and I've had to use them many times.
Day to day math for most engineers is generally little more than ohms law and other basic formula.

mkissin mentioned power electronics, and that's probably one area that would be different and require more math.

As for embedded systems, the math should be very minimal. But it would not be uncommon to have to implement an FFT routine for example. But rarely would you code it from first principles for example, you'd just use a pre-written routines.

So generally speaking, all that first principle stuff you'll rarely if ever use, but knowing what to expect and the concepts are important.

Dave.

--- End quote ---

Thanks for the info, there are plenty of areas I will be reading up on to re-familiarise myself.

How important is it to know and be able to use the different software packages, things like Labview. We have it at uni and there are 101 adverts for it everywhere but we haven't actually used it, would it be worth familiarising myself with different packages like Labview?

EEVblog:

--- Quote from: logictom on May 02, 2010, 04:45:29 pm ---How important is it to know and be able to use the different software packages, things like Labview. We have it at uni and there are 101 adverts for it everywhere but we haven't actually used it, would it be worth familiarising myself with different packages like Labview?

--- End quote ---

Labview is more specific to test and production system engineering and the like, but handy to know.
Matlab is another biggie that's common for say signal analysis and processing.
And a flavor of SPICE, like LTspice is commonly used.
Those along with a PCB/Schematic package like say Altium Designer are basic tools used in the trade.

Dave.