The question about how many skills and knowledge to involved an embedded system research project

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by lys1234, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. lys1234

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 30, 2016
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    Hi everyone, my name is Wilson and I have the few question regards about the embedded system research project:
    Question 1
    - If I want to involve the embedded system development project, could you roughly estimate how many times required to develop an embedded system such as Raspberry Pi, ARM Cortex microcontroller and so on?

    Question 2
    - How many knowledge and skills involved in order learning embedded system if I want to learn embedded system? How many equipment that involved to do the embedded system projects?

    and the last one is a bit silly question, how many item including the knowledge, time, skills, cost and equipment are involved the actual post-doc level project related to the embedded system?

    Thank you for your time to answering my question. :D
     
  2. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Q1:Yes, given a list of requirements you can develop a specification and estimate the development time for all aspects of a project.

    Q2:The answer to this question depends on your existing skills and abilities. It takes an average of about 2 years working under someone who knows what they are doing to become proficient in developing embedded systems. Some bright people take less, and some dullards take more.

    I don't know much about what people in academia do, all of my experience is in industry.
     
  3. lys1234

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 30, 2016
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    Hey. Thanks for your reply.
     
  4. NorthGuy

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    Jun 28, 2014
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    It is all up to you. Your abilities matter, but if you have clear goals and work hard, you can do it faster.

    I'm not sure working "under someone" is a good thing. The risk of getting into bad habits is too high. For good designs, you need independent mind.
     
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  5. Papabravo

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    You can spend a great deal of time wandering in the wilderness this way. If you reread my post you'll see I mentioned "working under someone who knows what they are doing". You won't learn any bad habits from such a person. You'll be free to develop your own of course.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
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  6. NorthGuy

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    That's how you learn.

    This method is good for plumbers, electricians, or perhaps to learn skills such as soldering or using a scope. But to design something well, you must have a vision, an ability to think outside the box. Following the steps of others is hardly a good way for acquiring such skills. When you solder something you learn soldering. When you follow someone you learn following. You should learn independent thinking instead. Definitely, if the person you "work under" will let you be free and creative, then this is great, but I don't think it really happens in the real world.

    Of course, the world is built in such a way that you most likely will have to work "under someone". This is something that the pupil needs to endure and not lose himself in the process. Very few actually make it through.
     
  7. Papabravo

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    I think your view is overly pessimistic. I may have spent longer than two years learning my craft, but I can tell you that I was amazingly successful as a result. I'm sure there are others who have done it a different way, and I know many who tried, crashed, burned, and left the field. The short story is -- "there are no guarantees of success, regardless of the path you choose."
     
  8. KeepItSimpleStupid

    Well-Known Member

    Mar 4, 2014
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    I don't quite know how to respond to NorthGuy's post, but somehow I think he's right.

    I do possess plumbing skills. Dad taught me. He taught me to tin the pipes method. Later a machine shop person said you don't have to all the time. Swing forward a bit. Me and a friend put in a water heater in his house and he wanted to do it. We came up with a compromise. You can do the easy joints and I'll do the ones that would be difficult to fix if you mess up. Success. He was later able to move a clothes washer into the garage without help and without leaks. He would be doing more plumbing because his copper pipes had pin holes in them. A little direction went a long way.

    The machine shop. Aside from speeds and feeds, the harder process was the set up. Initially, the shop guy would approve my set up and off I went.

    Welding (Mig/Tig/stick) If the process was set up for me I did excellent work.

    Auto repair. I must have started really young like 10 YO or so. Dad taught me how to rebuild a lawn mower engine. I threw a rod running without oil. I put a lot of faith on anti-seize compound and a torque wrench.
    Who can rebuild a carb with 130 parts. The early ones were easy. I made one tiny mistake. I did not tighten the float valve. The hardest part was learning how to set the mixture. A skill not needed anymore -something called "propane enrichment". It happened to be in a carb replacement instructions. The idle system of the carb is dependendent on the butterfly placement. Propane enrichment allows you to find that "sweet spot".

    Starting from "scratch" is really hard and could have some setbacks. Some projects of that nature.

    Install an AC system into a car from a box.
    Just re-purposed my skills working on high vacuum systems and mechanical skill already possessed.

    Install an HDTV antenna
    I had some setbacks including a broken mast and antenna. Re-did it and it all looks good. It just needs some tweaking. the antenna had too come down briefly so a bucket truck could access a tree. That was cake.
    I need to do some real measurements and assess adding a single channel antenna. Reach out and have the headend customized and tweek my choice of taps for a max of 12 TV locations.

    Storm drainage
    What a really interesting project and defnately not complete. I did the 100 year design calcs of 40 gpm.
    There was Miss utility. Digging with a demolition hammer. Rebuilding the demolition hammer.
    Meetin with the Department of Transportation. Getting storm drain maps. Understanding the current code. Guy said, your idea I'll support because it could impact your neighbor in term of ice.

    The Drainage was required because the neighbor re-landscaped.

    It's almost right. There is a silt issue. I tried to make a filter, It clogs and there is no bypass. I have plans to fix that. I do need some drainage rock around the storm drain in the grass.

    Everything else, so far, went fine. Slope, trenching, trenching under a sidewalk, discharge above a water main.
    Tunneling under a sidewalk was difficult in itself. A gutter empties into a storm drain, then horizonal for few feet to another storm drain, and then about 20' in SDR pipe, 10' in ez-drain for drainback. Solid PVC under the sidewalk and flex couplings on either side. Solid PVC with holes above the water main on a base of draineage rock. Riser comes up to a rubber Ferco that the pop-up attaches. Little things like drain back elbows and having to drill holes in the bottom of the storm drains with a rock foundation and silt fabric.

    I have to clean the elbow below the pop-up 2x/year. Retrofitting a bypass will depend on careful measurements. A filter is planned once the bypass is in place. I know, the longer the better and probably 50 um mesh based on experiments.

    I have a 30' x 10' area that has a large fig bush (surface roots) that I need to intrude on. I plan a corrogated with peanuts. I need to re-arrange the distribution, so there are not many or any on the bottom. The soil composition has to be engineered as well. This pipe has to act as a collector and the soil has to be friendly to percolation.

    Work was interesting. There were two people, maybe three, that had some of my skills. Some better at me.
    When they left, I was happier but only because of my supervisor. He realized the value of me if I "floated". There was one instance where 5 minutes of my time was worth two weekend hours of someone with a PHD.
    That should count for something.

    Unfortunately, the next manager after he retired was a micro-manager, a cheap skate and only cared somewhat about safety. We had a 30 k Gauss electromagnet that had loud bell if the water was off. When it broke, he would not let me spend the $70.00 USD or less to fix it. Shutdown would be preferred, but the bell was fine with me,

    Mangers are like that, we had a Hydrogen detection system sitting in a box when the lab exploded because of Hydrogen. A 3000 lb burst of Hydrogen was sent into a Plexiglas enclosure. It likely exploded. All because an excess flow safety valve had failed and the technician assumed the tank was empty. The safety shutdown system I designed shut down (turned off the gas at the cylinder) because the air velocity sensors were destroyed. This was a cylinder change procedure and usually the lines see only vacuum if the cylinder is closed.

    Those lines were upgraded, the excess flow valve removed and an orifice used instead. Another change was to go from non-UL listed 120 V cylinder pressure (3000 psi) valves to air operated pilot valves. It would have the advantage of if a fire broke out and the tubing melted, the valve would close.

    The air velocity sensors got upgraded too. They were somewhat mickey mouse. The new readouts turned out to be vary useful, because as dust accumulated on the sensor, you knew when to change it.
     
  9. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    3 to 5 years to be a good embedded systems designer.

    I had a student who started from scratch and completed his PhD research project in three years. He is exceptionally bright and worked hard at it with little supervision from me. He now works for NASA.

    Everyone learns differently.
    I can do plumbing, electrical, and machining without anyone having showed me how. These areas are better learned by having a good hands-on tutor showing you the tricks of the trade.

    Embedded systems design is different. You have to have the ability to learn and think for yourself. You need a solid background in mathematics and strong analytical skills. You need to be able to read user manuals and component data sheets. When things don't work you have to be able to create your own tests and fix your own problems.

    You learn by doing and that doesn't happen overnight. That is why I say give it 3 to 5 years.
     
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  10. NorthGuy

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    Jun 28, 2014
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    I don't see anything pessimistic in my view. I believe in people. I think they can accomplish anything whatever they put their mind to, and they don't need to be shown the way. If anything, it's overly optimistic :)
     
  11. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Well, I think you are just flat out wrong about that. I believe there are exceptional people who need little or no support. For the vast majority, education is essential. I'm glad you're a member of the 0.1%, more power to ya.
     
  12. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
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    I find working under some one to be a helpful way to learn. But what I learn is not HOW to solve and issue, but WHAT the issue is. Then I use my own creativity to develop my own process/solution.

    Otherwise, totally independent, I flounder around and miss important issues. To which I develop poor coping solutions and learn bad habits.

    Just my opinion.
     
  13. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    One of the most valuable skills you learn is how to divide and conquer a problem. This is especially true in project with multi-disciplinary elements such as mechatronics. We know that nature is inherently driven by cause and effect. If there is a problem with a system, there must be an explanation. Your problem, Mr. Phelps, is to find it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission:_Impossible
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  14. lys1234

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 30, 2016
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    Hi, thanks another good comment. I noted down.
     
  15. KeepItSimpleStupid

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    Mar 4, 2014
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    There was an experience that i remember vividly. I was asked to fix an Auger Spectrophotometer which had lots of parts and effectively attached to a Scanning Electron Microscope.

    I really could not fix it, if dumped in the room with the problem. However, I asked the right questions of the operator and I was able to fix it.

    Those troubleshooting skills that I have really don;t matter what I'm troubleshooting. As long as i have someone that can tell me what's supposed to happen and can push the right buttons correctly, I can fix it.
     
  16. hp1729

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    Nov 23, 2015
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    Hoe does one learn to think outside the box, or understand the limits of the box? Yes, following someone else is not the only aspect. School learning is not sufficient in most cases. By the time a technique gets its way to the school it is already obsolete. You don't discover the new world until you get out of school and under somebody who has stepped beyond the formal education realm. Then, after learning the limitations of the box, you can go outside the box. I think everybody does go outside the box. It doesn't make you special. Even my stuff goes outside the box and I am just a technician by education and experience.
    Everything you do, every thought you have, someone has been there before you and done it.
     
  17. NorthGuy

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    I believe education is essential for anyone. Although, I suspect, I have different opinion on what education is.

    Therefore, the "education" which focuses on memorising various techniques will always fail. Such education will become obsolete even before it started. Instead, education should help you form your vision of the world, and perhaps, teach you some skills on how to make your way through the changing world. At some point in the past there was no electronics, and nobody had any formal training in electronics. Yet, there were people who somehow started it. Do you think these people were uneducated. I don't think so. They certainly had some education, but it wasn't in electronics. However, this education still helped them.
     
  18. hp1729

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    Nov 23, 2015
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    Do you think education only has the quality you mention? Or perhaps education starts with memorization of simple facts to build on later and develop to the level you mention?
     
  19. NorthGuy

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    No. I think education starts with understanding. For example, you can memorize the formula, or you can understand it, which relives you from memorization. Understanding, in this sense, is opposite to memorization.

    A small, and rather primitive example. Imagine you're given a string of numbers:

    01123581321345589144

    and you told to memorize them. It'll apparently take you a while to do,

    Or, you're shown the same sequence of numbers and you're told that these are Fibonacci numbers written next to each other without spaces. Now, you don't really need to memorize the sequence at all. Your understanding of what the sequence is made memorization unnecessary. You can reproduce the sequence without memorizing it.

    In the course of your education, you develop skills which are necessary to understand things, instead of memorizing them. You get a variety of experiences how things may be understood. This gives you an ability to understand things which didn't even exist at the time of your education. At the end, it is no longer important what are the things that you have learnt. If you need to switch to something totally different in your life, you have skills which you can use to understand and learn new things rather quickly.
     
  20. hp1729

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    Could all the above mentioned be included?
     
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