Electronic Engineering

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by naveed, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. naveed

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 12, 2008
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    Is it possible to be a perfect engineer of electronics without going to any university? I mean just reading the books and doing practicals on cheap components at home?

    I have found a web on internet where free lectures are available.

    http://freevideolectures.com/

    But I don't know whether there is a complete list of subjects of electronics or not? Also what I should take first and what next...?

    Kindly help me.
     
  2. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    The interaction of a group of peers will expose you to as many new ideas as a book will. I'd say one could do it, but it would be much more difficult without the help of others.
     
  3. bignick270

    Active Member

    Mar 25, 2009
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    More importantly, if you are planning on trying to work as an electronics engineer then you will need the diploma from a University. Without the diploma, a company will not hire you. Of course there maybe some rare exceptions to this but it is a requirement for most positions.
     
  4. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    You can forget about, "perfect engineer". There are so many fields of speciality that you will never know all of them.

    I was just thinking this morning, there are several people on this site that think at stratospheric levels, but it still takes several of them to cover so many subjects as get asked. To me, that means none of them are "perfect engineers" because a perfect engineer would be cutting edge brilliant at everything. It just is not possible for a human to be perfect.
     
  5. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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    I think that the concept of a "perfect" Electronic Engineer is a goal to which many of our members have strived throughout their careers.

    Your question may be better rephrased to "Is it possible to be a proficient Electronics Engineer without the benefit of a formal education in the Discipline?" To this question I would answer a qualified, Yes. The foundation that one receives in an academic environment is broad in that the entry level engineering student is exposed to the full spectrum of engineering early in his academic experience. This exposure is valuable in providing a perspective and appreciation for the full range of engineering.

    An individual that takes the self-taught path to any engineering training misses out on this aspect of knowledge development.

    It is likely to take you much longer to acquire engineering proficiency if you take the self-taught path.

    Getting a job will be tougher as you will be competing with those who have a degree.

    If you are dead set against going to a university for an engineering degree then you should at least consider attending a technical institute.

    hgmjr
     
  6. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    We don't know where you are or your current level of training. At some American universities, a student is allowed to proceed at his own pace. If you are an undergraduate, that generally means you will require a minimum of 2 years (I don't know any examples of that) or more likely 3 years to graduate. The latter is relatively common in schools of Arts and Sciences. Engineering schools may be different.

    If you are in graduate school, degree requirements relative to actual attendance are likely to be more liberal. I know of one notable example of the latter who got his Ph.D. (chemistry) quite quickly and the Nobel Prize at age 40. (Some people claimed the prize committee delayed his recognition because he had bragged about getting it before age 40 ;) ).

    Finally, private universities (e.g., Harvard, Stanford, CalTech, etc. ) are likely to be more flexible on attendance than a state university can be, at least at the undergraduate level.

    My advice is to go to a university as well prepared as you can be. You won't regret it.

    John
     
  7. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
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    The electrical is only one part of a true engineering degree, you also have to be proficient in calculus, chemistry, physics, thermodynamics, report writing and a number of other subjects to be any sort of engineer, the electrical is only a small part of your studies.

    It has become highly specialized, used to only be one aspect of it but now it's branched out into a lot of specialty areas for the electronics part so to get any sort of knowledge beyond that of a basic education you almost need to stick through another year or two to get a masters. Advanced physics is probably the most valuable part of all of it.

    If you're thinking EET then it's a bit easier since it concentrates a bit more on the real world but you've still got to learn most every bit of the above, just not at such an intensive level.

    For example:
    http://www.ceat.okstate.edu/academics/academics.htm

    and that doesn't even begin to list what all you'll have to take just to get into the true grit of the matter, on the other hand the EET program pretty much lets you get near transistors in the first year.

    You can home study but you'll run into so many holes along the way it isn't funny. Start by getting very good at math, physics and chemistry then you can get into thermodynamics and begin some real studies in the electronics part.

    Physics is the basis of all sciences, if you can get that down first the rest becomes a lot easier. I've got almost 8 years of University study yet never a full degree as I kept switching between EE, EET and Physics but when I actually started working for the Physics department it was a "EE degree required" job but they waved that after they reviewed my transcript and real world experience I had between the times I wasn't attending.

    I would highly recommend talking to a counselor at any major University, there are scholarships, grants and student loan programs always going on that can often be attained just from your enthusiasm alone. You may find yourself at a University you're not familiar with but it's all about the education.

    Probably one of the most important thing potential employers consider is that if you were tough and organized enough to make it through college then you've demonstrated the ability to take on challenges and stick through them to the end.

    Find a major University near you and schedule an appointment to talk to a counselor, you might be pleasantly surprised at how willing they are to go out of their way to get you in somewhere at a minimal or no cost basis on your part.
     
  8. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
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    Also good advice. If you can pull 15 hours per semester and toss in a summer course or two you can get an Associate degree in two years, a Bachelor's in about 4 or so and a Master's in 5 or 6. With all the engineers in the job market nowadays the few extra years spent can mean a huge difference in starting pay.

    I see that the University I attended now claims that their EET graduates are getting even higher starting pay jobs than many of their EE's. Used to be the other way around but I guess now that EE has become so specialized your choices are more limited than to those that have a EET. A good EET degree will leave you with a few holes but those can be filled in as you learn the expectations of the position you hire on as.

    You may end up liking University life so much that you end up as a teaching professor or working for them in some other manner, it may not pay quite as well as some of the real world jobs but it's going to be far less demanding, solid work and we need all the good teachers we can get. Please consider this as you move through the system, probably one of the most honorable professions there can be.

    [EDIT:] Professor Naveed, can you help me with this problem? Now how would those words hit you from someone just starting to learn?
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  9. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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    Many universities offer a work/study plan that permits you to work at an engineering company during alternate semesters. This stretches out your education but gives you real world experience early so that you can better appreciate what you are exposed to in your classes. It also provides a small income and on the job training that can open many doors once you graduate with your degree.

    hgmjr
     
  10. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
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    Many Universities also have jobs around campus. You may be cleaning up labs at first but as you progress in your studies they'll move you up to more important (and better paying) positions that don't interfere with you having to leave campus nor your studies.

    I got nabbed into one of those jobs the last time I attended, was taking some advanced physics and a professor mentioned that they were looking for a EE down in the Center for Laser and Photonics Research. I started out working nights down there and once my classes were over I went on full time with them. Sadly all the grant money they were pulling in from (can't say who - military stuff) got cut after a couple of years and I was of course considered to be a luxury. Sure miss being able to design and repair stuff at my leisure since I didn't have any set hours, just a list of stuff to do when I got around to it. I especially miss the full machine shop I had access to.
     
  11. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Nostalgia sets in...using the computer at school to solve problems at work and looking like a genius because of it, then getting paid by the hour to study Calculus because I used the computer to get my job done so quickly.
     
  12. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    You can be self-taught for the basics, but to actually DO anything, you need to specialize, a LOT. Microcontrollers, such as PIC will pop up in both digital and "mostly analog" circuits. The breadth and depth of physics today is to the point where nobody could know the cutting edge of all the possible technologies. The field goes from Power Lines/Grid design to mask design for new processors and ICs. In each major "area", there are at least half a dozen specialties within that area. This is what is decided when you go for the Masters Degree and Doctorate. The Bachelors gives you an overview of all, the foundations that will be used in most areas, but to do more requires more study.

    Companies will often send you to seminars and more classes related to your chosen area of design. It is a never-ending process due to the rate that all fields have been advancing. So if you were a doctorate in ALU Design for CPUs, it wouldn't be applicable for the theoretical next generation in computers, the multi-valued logic and quantum based systems. Never, Ever, Stop Learning.
     
  13. #12

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    Too true. You must have the "never stop learning" attitude. Every job you get will have specialized information that you have to learn when you get there. Every project will force you to look up things and learn things, regardless of how good your schooling was. New chips come out every day, and you have to keep up with what is available.
     
  14. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Even if you learned it all, and were hyper competent, without that piece of paper you will never get a foot in the door. At my company the first question the ask is what was your GPA? I don't agree with this point of view, but it seems to be pretty universal.
     
  15. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    More school days nostalgia...

    The day they sent in a "real" engineer and he submitted a transformer design that couldn't be made because the sum of the windings were larger than the window.

    The time they said, "I couldn't even consider your design without a college degree". Then they hired a "real" engineer who designed a thermal test chamber that melted half a million dollars worth of their products. I still have the photograph and smile at it occasionally.

    You can be really, really good, but you won't even be considered for work in your speciality without the college degree. You can burn up half a million dollars worth of equipment if you have one, and the boss will still think it's "state of the art" design.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  16. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
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    I took a lot of ComSci course that I didn't need to have just to maintain access to the mainframe. When I took Pascal and the professor handed out the course curriculum I turned in the entire semester's homework the next week. When asked why I was even taking this class I told him it was because I really didn't know PASCAL that well but it turned out to be so familiar to other languages that it was easy enough for me. He saw right through that even though Pascal was new to me and figured out I just wanted mainframe access so he upped my CPU & Printer time limits so I could do about anything at will. Hardest thing back in those days was keypunching all the cards then waiting in line to feed them into the reader and waiting for your job to output.
     
  17. #12

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    My school had teletypes in the library. Very convenient. Just type in the program, run it, and rip off the yellow paper with the answers.
     
  18. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
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    Guess we didn't have that luxury but punch cards were a great improvement over the paper tape I had to use in my high school years, at least if you messed one up (or in more often cases the punches were a bit off center) you could just do that one card over.

    We were supposed to stick to the 26 models but if you transposed a few keys you could sneak in and use the 29s which were more accurate. All this programming was initially in Fortran mind you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keypunch
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortran
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FortranCardPROJ039.agr.jpg
     
  19. #12

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    I was afraid you were going to laugh at my school being so old it had teletypes!
     
  20. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
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    I've used them too but it all went on paper tape first. Then you had to take the tape, connect to the mainframe, run the tape through the reader part and hope you got an output back after a while.

    Are we showing our age here? Who cares. These new people don't know how good they've got it.
     
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