I need your advice, experienced engineers

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by searchformeaning, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. searchformeaning

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    I have a job opportunity in programming (as a beginner programmer). I have an overview in programming basics. The job opportunity that I have right now is related to 'embedded systems'. It's available for about 2 months. I found a good online course as an introduction to embedded systems. Here is a link to the course

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...0&feature=plcp

    I took a look at it. I guess I can finish it in less than 2 months. One of my friends told me if I show them that I can teach myself (by reading/watching videos/making a research online/forums...etc) and show them something I made like that robot head in the course, they'll accept me for the entry level programming job. I'd like to hear your opinion (experienced engineers) about the course and about programming. I'm 27, is it a good age to start a new career in embedded systems or it's difficult?
     
  2. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    You can not learn to swim without getting wet. Lectures may help. But more important I will say. Is hands on experience. You can not learn to debug, or master the art of decoding datasheets. With only watching lectures. But the good thing is that this skill may be obtained with a relative small investment. I would not recommend training with PIXaxe or Arduino. They may be popular in hobbyist circles. But are not used very much if at all in commercial applications.
     
  3. jimkeith

    Active Member

    Oct 26, 2011
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    How many other programmers /engineers are present at this location? You will need their support to jump initial hurdles (get started) or else it may not be a good experience. If you will be essentially working by yourself, it will be very difficult.

    Find out which microcontroller they generally use and make sure that you study that in particular--obtain some sort of development system that uses this device and get at least a simple task off the ground--then things will start to get easier.

    At age 27, the sky is the limit.
     
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  4. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Becoming an embedded systems programmer/engineer is not something you can learn overnight. It will take years of learning, proper training and building experience. It should not be taken lightly. If you want to be good at it and make a career out of it be prepared for a high degree of dedication to learning.

    What is the level of your math skills?
     
  5. wmodavis

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2010
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    Some good advice by others.
    I am not a programmer, rather a design engineer so will say this...

    You do not say what you currently do or what your interests/aptitudes are. Programming is a learned skill but IMHO is not suited to everyone. Again IMO programmers are a somewhat special breed. I had an opportunity late in my career to try programming. I was not the appropriate breed or something. But I did get to try it.

    Your mental age, not biological age, is much more important. If I was hiring I'd be interested in your proven desire to learn to add to your current knowledge and skills and if I gave you a chance I'd assign a peer mentor and closely monitor your progress, success and performance in getting the assigned work done. If those came up mostly positive I would seriously consider you for a more than 2 month position. But if it is just a 2 month crunch type project I would more likely want to start out with an experienced, proven, productive programmer.

    Go for the course though and see if really believe it is something interesting to you and therefore desireable to pursue as a career.

    see this thread http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/showthread.php?t=67410
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  6. searchformeaning

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    Unfortunately, I don't know how many engineers/programmers work there. As far as I know, they work in groups on different projects. The main thing as I said is that they don't want an experienced programmer/engineer. They want an ENTRY LEVEL programmer. After they choose one or two for the job, they'll make "on the job training" to show what the new comers will work on. But I don't know how much they will help me to learn because all of them are busy most of the time.

    I don't know the micro-controller they use and it's not mentioned in the job description either. That means they'll ask GENERAL questions and they won't ask specific questions related to what equipment they use on their projects.

    "At age 27, the sky is the limit." I hope that it's true because it gives me hope to achieve something. Currently, I work with server administration (AD domains). I thought it would be a nice job at the beginning. But after a while I got BORED as I do the same set of tasks over and over again and I have to go from one company to another ALL the time to break that boredom. I hope that I make a career change to use my mind in a better way (creative, changing, interesting) and make better money (of course :) ).

    Thanks for your reply
     
  7. searchformeaning

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    Years of dedication ...:(. would you tell me what are the skills/knowledge that I should strengthen? and what are the better techniques to achieve that in a good time?

    I have good math skills (Basic arithmetic and algebra). BUT not high level mathematics. Calculus is not easy. It would be fine if you tell me what areas of math are most used in embedded systems.
     
  8. searchformeaning

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    I administer windows server AD domains. I troubleshoot servers and client computers. The initial setup and design is interesting. But after a while everything is stable (I mean servers and domain controllers) and all what you have to do is to solve users mistakes, deal with viruses, outlook problems, connectivity problems, hardware issues...etc. Boring stuff :(

    "programming is not suited for everyone" I guess that's true. But you know, one cannot say he is good or bad in doing something without trying it himself.

    The job post in the link you sent is really difficult for me. It'll take me 2 years to study all those mandatory requirements. I said I want an interesting job not a killing one :D
     
  9. wmodavis

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2010
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    I agree with your comment "But you know, one cannot say he is good or bad in doing something without trying it himself."
    And that is exactly what you should do IF ....

    You have the interest to pursue what is necessary to stay with it long enough to give it a fair trial to see if it suits you.

    The job post was just to give you info as to what someone who is hiring for same type of work is looking for. It could help you know more about yours or similar positions to make a better decision.

    You, as a beginning programmer are not expected to know everything or do everything. But if you know about some of those things on the list, at least the nomenclature, you will be one step further along. Pick one or two of them and learn something about them. Use it as question material when you interview - but not in a way to make yourself sound like you know more than you do. They will see through that.
    If you may make it a new career you'll spend more than a couple of years studying that stuff. Just Do It. And good luck.
     
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  10. MrChips

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    Oct 2, 2009
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    It is not how much you already know but how much you are capable of learning.
    Someone good at math would have strong analytical skills, problem solving, linear thinking - all critical skills that are required for complex programming tasks. Are you good at games such as chess? Can you plan six moves ahead? Can you ask "what if I do this?" and be able to predict the outcome? These are the skills they will be looking for.

    Do you like solving Rubik's Cube or Sudoku puzzles?
     
  11. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    I've always read "ENTRY LEVEL" to mean "NO MONEY."

    A while back when I was interviewing engineers or technicians I still remember one candidate who brought his senior project along with him. While there was some issue why he could not turn it on (he was very eager to show it off) The device was a very neatly laid out hand wired breadboard of some purpose I do not remember.

    He was my top choice for just bringing this with him. I didn't even need to see it work.
     
  12. searchformeaning

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    Entry level means little money. That's true. But I cannot apply for a high engineering/ programming job without experience. They'll kick my *** :D. I think it's the same in all careers. I have to start at a lower position and make progress from there. I could not administer servers without being a computer technicain or a help desktop. They won't trust me to do the job. And they are right without experience I may mess up with servers and cause chaos in the environment.
     
  13. searchformeaning

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    Good. I'll try to look it up and read about that. But you did not say what do you think about the course link I sent. Please, when you have time, take a look at it. It's not a short course. It has 13 lectures and about 14 labs + books. So if it's not worth time and effort, it'll be better to find something else to work on. I found it suitable for me because it assumes zero experience working with embedded systems.
     
  14. searchformeaning

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    Sudoku is fine for me. I don't try Rubik's cub e a lot though :)
     
  15. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    I am completely terrible at chess. Sudoku bores me to tears except for the part of my brain that is attempting to create a solution algorithm so I can write a program to solve it for me.

    Rubik's Cube is so very 1980's and not the easiest to find. When it first came out I was completely fascinated and had a free week to devote to the solution. I still keep a cube handy home & office to solve it every week or so, least I forget my method.
     
  16. MrChips

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    Oct 2, 2009
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    I still keep a couple of Rubik's Cubes around the house to play with once in awhile.

    Actually, Sudoku is easily solved on a computer. I wrote a program in Matlab in a couple of hours and it makes for a very interesting Computer Science exercise.
     
  17. searchformeaning

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    Hey, guys. First off, thanks to you all for your informative replies. But nobody said any comment about the course link I posted. Is it worth time and effort or not?
     
  18. MrChips

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    Oct 2, 2009
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    The fact that you ask this question says something.
    What is your time and effort worth?
     
  19. searchformeaning

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    Time and effort worth a lot. Let's assume that I dedicated myself to study and prepare myself for months. But in the wrong direction or using resources that are not suitable for me at the moment. Of course, I'll be frustrated and disappointed. Because it's a waste of time an effort without any tangible output.

    If it's something simple that I can learn in a week or two, it won't be a problem to throw it away after that. But months of reading and trying things without a real change...I guess, it would put anybody in a bad psychological status. It's the feeling of FAILURE and inability to achieve something after a hard effort.
     
  20. nixnax

    New Member

    Mar 18, 2012
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    Go for it! Somewhere in the middle you will come to realize if it's worth the effort or not. Failure is part of learning. If you don't accept it, I am afraid you are not ready for it. Nothing will be wasted as long as you are learning.
     
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