Author Topic: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?  (Read 45628 times)

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Offline dannyf

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #75 on: February 08, 2015, 06:27:14 pm »
Quote
This is a problem.

Yes and no.

The schools' job is to teach their students for a skill so they can make a living. Thus they will need the technique to be "teachable" and then to always yield the right answer. So it needs to be "generic" and "correct". That means that it has to be structured and it is necessarily inefficient for the cases such technique is applied to.

An out-of-the-box solution is not teachable nor does it always yield a solution.


Quote
the degreed people are spoon-fed the notion that they are better.

Maybe they are taught that but only the stupid degreed people remember that.
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Offline Mechanical Menace

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #76 on: February 08, 2015, 06:54:55 pm »
the degreed people are spoon-fed the notion that they are better. this is a fact in a lot of universities.

In my own experience it's undergrad* students who are so convinced they're better than everybody else, well generally until they hit their final year.


*I don't know if any EE degrees are integrated masters...
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Offline mtdoc

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #77 on: February 08, 2015, 07:16:31 pm »
Quote from: free_electron link=topic=42676.msg604916#msg604916
Here is a , at first sight, simple question where you can weed out people who have just a degree , and people who have actually built something 'outside school' or have some real experience designing stuff. The been there done that, burnt my fingers , got it working learned a lot kinda people.

Simple opamp, inverting amplifier. 9k from out to + , 1k from + to gnd. ( so gain of 10 )
5 volt power rail.
2vpp sinewave in

initially we assume bandwidth is not a problem

The theoretical guys ALL get it wrong. even a lot of the guys that have built stuff get it wrong.
here is where they fail

- clipping against power rail because too large gain
- clipping of the input because the input goes below ground and the opamp
- fail to ask if this thing is rail to rail on input and or output
- fail to ask if common mode includes ground and if not how high it sits off ground


when they finally struggle through this and get a signal out i will drill deeper and ask em this
assuming the output stays within the rails ( i lower the input amplitude or decrease the gain )
q:  what will happen if this opamp is bandwidth limited and you approach the bandwidth.
- they mostly know the output amplitude will drop. but almost all of em fail to mention the phase shift and even phase inversion.


I find it surprising that an EE would not be able to answer that correctly.  Even as someone relatively new to electronics I knew it. In fact both of the introductory (online) college electronics courses I have taken cover this ground well.

Perhaps farther into an EE degree one forgets the fundamentals?  Probably especially true if one is not actually building things...


 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #78 on: February 08, 2015, 07:21:33 pm »
I know great (software) engineers, many of them have advanced degrees from top universities,

Just so.

Quote
so I don't understand the stereotypes and eduphobia here.

Sometimes the eduphobia is indistinguishable from a massive chip on the shoulder. And that's just as silly and bigoted as presuming a degree is essential.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline mtdoc

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #79 on: February 08, 2015, 07:34:02 pm »
the degreed people are spoon-fed the notion that they are better. this is a fact in a lot of universities.

I don't think spoon-fed is the right term since that usually refers to feeding some one complex information by breaking it down and giving it to them bit by bit.  The idea that my [insert relevant group identity here] is better than others is a pretty simple concept and unfortunately way too common.

I think what this thread demonstrates is that everyone approaches this question with their own experience and developed stereotypes. It's an insight into human prejudices and how they develop.

Those pursuing an EE degree spend most of their time among other EE's and have a vested interest in thinking their degree is worth the money and time they devote to it.  And it is- but it's just one path (the most common one) to their destination.

Depending on their job experience out of college and who they work with, they may or may not soon learn that the real world is a much broader place and that degree or not, what matters is being able to get the job done.  This applies to many fields - not just engineering.

Then of course there's those without formal education - self taught - who excel in their chosen field and therefore conclude that degrees are not necessary (or useless!).  Some of them may end up with a chip on their shoulder due to the real or perceived discrimination they've had to deal with.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #80 on: February 08, 2015, 07:35:34 pm »


Sometimes the eduphobia is indistinguishable from a massive chip on the shoulder. And that's just as silly and bigoted as presuming a degree is essential.

Ha! looks like we were cross posting and making the same point. :)
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #81 on: February 08, 2015, 07:49:28 pm »
Do you think it's possible to be formally taught analytical skills, or is it something that comes innately?

I think some analytical skills are probably teachable but overall analytical aptitude is largely innate IMO.  Anyone with more than one child sees first hand how different kids seem to be born with certain abilities. Of course it does take some basic level of education and opportunity to allow those abilities to flourish.

Testing someone's analytical abilities is difficult but I don't think it is impossible. 

Urban legend type "match box assembly line" questions aside, I don't think it can easily be determined in a typical job interview.  I also don't think the typical undergraduate degree says much about that ability since anyone with average intelligence who is willing to work hard and persist can get a degree. This is where previous job experience and good references can help.

There's a whole body of psychology devoted to quantifying and testing for such things.

Anyone in the US who has taken the GRE (graduate school entrance exam) has experienced the "analytical" section of the test which , while not perfect, I think does a pretty good job of evaluating that ability - although it may have changed in the 30 years since I took it.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #82 on: February 08, 2015, 08:02:49 pm »

I find it surprising that an EE would not be able to answer that correctly.  Even as someone relatively new to electronics I knew it. In fact both of the introductory (online) college electronics courses I have taken cover this ground well.

Perhaps farther into an EE degree one forgets the fundamentals?  Probably especially true if one is not actually building things...

BINGO !

indeed , they are shown this in their first year, but if you never build an actual circuit you will forget those things. that is how you weed out the 'paper only' candidates from the people that got the degree because they were interested in the engineering bit as opposed to the 'prestige and money' bit... There is a difference between being able to write down Maxwell's equations and being able to place parts so you don't get radiated emc problems.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 08:05:57 pm by free_electron »
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #83 on: February 08, 2015, 08:09:30 pm »
  • clearly never having worked in a research and development environment; if you had you would realize that your statements are very wide of the mark
23 year track record in semiconductor lab. it doesn't get much more hardcore than that...
i can give you oodles of 'outside the box' thinking ..  like using laser focus light in a darkroom under a microscope to pinpoint the leaky pathway inside a chip.

Quote
  • not have seen nor conceived of the different techniques that can be used to help people think out of the box


that i would be very much interested in. outside the box thinking is the only way to make mayor progress. rewashing something that already exists gets you nowhere.
pointers please ?
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #84 on: February 08, 2015, 09:13:39 pm »
... how you weed out the 'paper only' candidates from the people that got the degree because they were interested in the engineering bit as opposed to the 'prestige and money' bit...

The difficulty of sorting out the "interested" from the "seems like a good career" types is something that has to be done for whether or not a degree is involved.

Fit the skills to the job at hand.
Don't pigeonhole someone based on the presence/absence of a piece of paper.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #85 on: February 08, 2015, 09:26:07 pm »
  • not have seen nor conceived of the different techniques that can be used to help people think out of the box


that i would be very much interested in. outside the box thinking is the only way to make mayor progress. rewashing something that already exists gets you nowhere.
pointers please ?

I've been on several courses in companies such as CCL and HPLabs, but the names are long forgotten. They were pre-www, so links aren't obviously available. The key features were firstly to ensure that all participants weren't afraid of making stupid suggestions, then several phases for re-defining the problem, then makking all sorts of wacky suggestions in a non-judgemental situation. During each phase  the "problem owner" kept their mouth shut, but between phases they could choose which set of ideas to discard/persue.

To give a flavour of such techniques, one of my favoured questions when an unproductive lull had been reached was "how would you do it with yoghurt?". It usually provoked a WTF reaction, but one person in the meeting would have their thinking jolted to think about how fat or strawberries or liquid or plastic or a pot (or ...) could help solve the problem.

Wacky? Yes.
Effective? Sometimes but not always.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 09:29:19 pm by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline zapta

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #86 on: February 08, 2015, 09:30:45 pm »
23 year track record in semiconductor lab. it doesn't get much more hardcore than that...
i can give you oodles of 'outside the box' thinking ..  like using laser focus light in a darkroom under a microscope to pinpoint the leaky pathway inside a chip.

Are these the typical achievements of non academic EE practitioners or is it just an anecdotal outlier?  You get the point.
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Offline dannyf

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #87 on: February 08, 2015, 11:52:57 pm »
Quote
In my own experience it's undergrad* students who are so convinced they're better than everybody else, well generally until they hit their final year.

On one of those fortune cookies, I read something like this: A wise man knows how much he doesn't know.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #88 on: February 09, 2015, 06:07:22 am »
23 year track record in semiconductor lab. it doesn't get much more hardcore than that...
i can give you oodles of 'outside the box' thinking ..  like using laser focus light in a darkroom under a microscope to pinpoint the leaky pathway inside a chip.

Are these the typical achievements of non academic EE practitioners or is it just an anecdotal outlier?  You get the point.
i had at least 15 collegues from all walks of life that had no 'paper' apart from the school of hard-knocks. One was a butcher... one lady learned finished college with  french literature had two kids at age 18, went to mexico with a bunch of hippies, learned  how to fix tv's from her husband did all kinds of stuff and retired at age 76 as head of a validation team that did signoff and final test of the RTL code for multimillion gate asics. Se could write VHDL and Verilog like the best of em. completely self taught.

i know a bunch of such people. They may not be 'typical' non degreed EE's but there is way more of em than you may think.
I've seen all kinds: degreed and non degreed and my experience is : that paper proves nothing, apart form the fact you fit the requirements to get the paper.

It does not tell me if you are genuinely interested in engineering at all , it does not tell me if you have brilliant idea's, it does not give me an indication of how creative you are ,it does not tell me how many things you have done on your own and built that were original.

It only tells me you belong to a group of people that followed a 4 year course and held it up till the finish line. Of course it does not preclude you having brilliant idea's or being a super creative person , but that paper does not guarantee that. Just like not having that paper doesn't preclude the same.

So if i am after someone who has original idea's and is a super creative mind to further my business that paper is irelevant.
If all i need is someone who can do a bunch of math i'll go get someone from the 'degree' pool. Maybe a mathematician.

Now, your experience may vary , and i don't know how it goes in 99% of the world but i can tell you this : come apply for a job in silicon valley and look around at what 'characters' are around here, and do a couple of job interviews . 

Before i switched jobs half a year ago i did several interviews with different companies. Here's how it went : I walked in with a huge cardboard box with all the circuit boards i had made in my life, and samples of actual products that were in the stores that had my designs in em and copies of my published works. I would pour the contents on the table in the meeting room and wait for the interviewers to come in.

NOBODY ever asked if i had a degree and what it was. They were to busy digging in the pile of stuff. :)

One company showed me a bunch of their schematics and asked me if i could tell what the circuitry did. i looked at it for a few minutes and pointed out 7 or 8 mistakes in their design.
They asked me again if i could tell what the circuit did. i said ,yes , something that ain't going to be working quite right. they laughed and admitted those schematics were from a prototype before they debugged it and had found the issues i pointed out as well. And then i explained them in detail what that circuit did , how they could improve it and make it cheaper. At that point there was only one further questions: Not about education , not about degrees , just when i could start.

Everyone of the companies i interviewed with had an offer on the table within a few days. Only one HR guy remarked that i hadn't listed any university or degree on my resume. I asked him if that was a problem. He said no ,cause none of the interviewers had asked about it, it was just something that he found odd.

I've always worked in companies where nobody thought any less of another because of a lacking piece of paper. Show what you can do, don't tell me.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 06:17:55 am by free_electron »
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Offline coppice

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #89 on: February 09, 2015, 09:40:27 am »
In my experience (UK experience) the great majority of microwave engineers don't have degrees in electronics. They have degrees in physics.

In 25 years of working in RF and microwave electronics in the UK, I know three with a physics degree and about 100 with electronics degrees. Two of the three with physics degrees were among the worst engineers I've ever encountered. The third was one of the best.
Interesting. Back in the early 80s I went to a large number of electronics engineers of various types looking for members of the IEE. Almost every microwave engineer I asked had a physics degree, and at that time they were not eligible for a simple route to IEE membership.
 

Offline Neganur

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #90 on: February 09, 2015, 09:56:14 am »
Times have changed quite a bit, 30, 40 years back it wasn't the most important thing to have the degree. You would also work for the same company for a long time and you would have opportunities to advance based on your performance.

Then those companies go bankrupt or close business, you get kicked out. In this now newer world it seems that papers (anything that proves your education or experience) are all that matter. I don't know if it is because a lot more people have a degree than back in the days, so expectations have just gone up, or if it is a pay thing. In Germany it is very common that you will not be paid an engineer's wage if you don't actually are an engineer. You might not even be considered for the job (unless you have an exceptional wealth of experience to display).

Would I employ someone without a degree? Yes. There are plenty of electronics related vocational educations that are very good for many kinds of jobs. And even if you require a degree, it doesn't have to be a master, a B.Eng (not B.Sc) is not too hard to obtain either. I guess it's a question of outlining the skill set that you require from your worker. If you think general knowledge in circuits is enough (repairs, simple designs) you may not require someone with a degree.

 

Offline coppice

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #91 on: February 09, 2015, 10:04:44 am »
Times have changed quite a bit, 30, 40 years back it wasn't the most important thing to have the degree.
Maybe things vary form country to country, but 40 years ago in the UK a bachelor degree was the basic requirement to be considered for any decent engineering job. Very few UK engineers went for a higher degree at that time.
 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #92 on: February 09, 2015, 10:15:33 am »
As a professional engineer I would not accept a job in which a non professional engineer was the manager.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #93 on: February 09, 2015, 10:26:17 am »
Times have changed quite a bit, 30, 40 years back it wasn't the most important thing to have the degree.
Maybe things vary form country to country, but 40 years ago in the UK a bachelor degree was the basic requirement to be considered for any decent engineering job. Very few UK engineers went for a higher degree at that time.
Pretty true.

Those without degrees, but with ONC/OND/HND/HNC (IIRC!) or apprenticeships, became technicians. Both were necessary, with each's disadvantages being covered by the other's advantages. Both knew it.

All doctors know how much they owe to nurses just after they graduate, and also rely on nurses day-to-day. There is some overlap between what nurses and doctors can do - but only a blind fool thinks a nurse is competent to do everything a doctor can do.

There are sufficient similarities between the engineer:technician and doctor:nurse relationsips to make the analogy have some value.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 10:35:07 am by tggzzz »
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Offline electrolux

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #94 on: February 09, 2015, 10:38:35 am »
I don't care for degrees  :blah: , if the person has potential or is clever, yes.  :-+
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Offline Neganur

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #95 on: February 09, 2015, 10:47:04 am »
Maybe things vary form country to country, but 40 years ago in the UK a bachelor degree was the basic requirement to be considered for any decent engineering job. Very few UK engineers went for a higher degree at that time.

Well my point was, that those technicians, after 20 years, have advanced their career into positions that nowadays would require the degree.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #96 on: February 09, 2015, 01:48:31 pm »
Another difference between full and non full boxers is the balance (heads are heavier than tails), pass then on and edge and let the full ones (less balanced) fall down.

The main difference between full and non-full boxers in my experience is whether or not the person wearing them has passed out drunk after a large meal.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #97 on: February 09, 2015, 02:02:45 pm »
As a professional engineer I would not accept a job in which a non professional engineer was the manager.
Why not ? What is the role of a manager ?
A manager is there to schedule the workload and to make sure the people doing the work have the resources to do so. If he understands what the people under his management do that is a bonus.
A good manager does not make technical decisions unless there is a duality.

Maybe you misunderstand what managing is. Understandable as too many managers are not really managers.
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Offline Mechanical Menace

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #98 on: February 09, 2015, 02:39:27 pm »
Maybe you misunderstand what managing is. Understandable as too many managers are not really managers.

Do you get the case in proper engineering like in software development when the person carrying the title of "project manager" is often really the project lead?
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Offline linux-works

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Re: Would you employ someone without a degree in electronics?
« Reply #99 on: February 09, 2015, 03:05:36 pm »
in today's 'agile environment', the manager is not *supposed* to be the project leader or tech leader.  he's not even supposed to vote on features; the group does that and also sets their own priorities.

in software, everyone is (sigh) moving to agile style instead of waterfall style.  is that also happening in the hardware/EE world, as well?  if it is not, it will be (like it or not; and I actually don't love agile, truth be told).
 


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