Career problem (serious engineers/academics please?)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by fez, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. fez

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Hello. I'm a young electrical engineer and I'm having a bit of a problem. I'm curious about so many things electronic (that's a lie actually. Physics, Math, Art and Music all interest me as well. But lets stick to electronics), and I want to know them all one by one... starting from where-ever I eventually decide to. My problem is, I have this somewhat rational fear that I'll forget things as I learn them. I'm using the Arduino and I'm already forgetting parts of C. I'm afraid that as I learn more about electronics I'll forget them or muddle them very quickly, and so it'll all go to waste.

    So I decided to take notes. Take notes of anything interesting or valuable. But that's becoming a chore too. It takes time & effort to develop notes, to pick out important points and write them down. It takes time and effort to keep them organized, and to store them somewhere where you can dig them out whenever needed. I've tons and tons of stuff from the web bookmarked that I'd love to go through; hordes of books on electronics that I've purchased or have the names down, but the thought of taking notes from them all is wearing me out as is. And yet, noting things down, working them all out on paper has always made me absorb things better.

    I need help. How do you, professional engineers and academics, keep growing your knowledge AND keep it remembered? I'm very anxious over the whole matter.
  2. debjit625

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    I learnt many things,and I forget them too,when I forget I take reference thats what everybody does.You can't remember each and every details of some subject that you don't work on everyday,its better to use your brain for processing rather than dumping stuff in it.Yes at some point you will know every details of some subject,if you are working on it for a very long time.

    Good Luck
  3. jwilk13


    Jun 15, 2011
    Unfortunately, you're going to forget A LOT of what you read (at least I do). The more important thing for me is knowing where to find the information. You're going to forget certain details, and that's OK. If you know where to find it, you'll be plenty successful.
  4. BillB3857

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 28, 2009
    One of the most important lessons I learned along the way was that it isn't important to remember details as long as you have a good understanding of the basics. All details are nothing more than a combination of basic concepts.
  5. tshuck

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    The thing about a career in electronics, math, and physics in general, is that you will forget more than most people will ever learn. The things that interest you most will be more memorable, but if someone was to ask me for the formula for a general Fourier Series, I'd have to disappoint (as embarrassing as it is...). The fact is, I know exactly where to look to give an answer. After a quick Wikipedia search, I can explain the concept, the formula, and techniques I learned to help evaluate the expression.

    So, the takeaway?
    It's not about what you know, it's about what you know how to find.
  6. JMac3108

    Active Member

    Aug 16, 2010
    You learn, forget, re-learn ... its a cycle. Don't worry about it. As long as you have a good grasp of the basic principles you'll be fine.
  7. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    I had the same problem.... over time, the human brain gets filled up. My boss made me learn how to use Protel and the next thing I couldn't remember how to shift my car into third gear.

    You remember what's important and what you need to remember.

    It's not essential to remember every thing, you just need to remember where to look to find it and how to use it once you get it.
  8. fez

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    So.. its completely OK to hear SPI and I2C, and poles and filters and having an idea of what the do, but not remembering exactly how they do it unless one picks up a book/notes/internet-article? Using the Arduino and some basic analog design I've encountered all four. I know that SPI and I2C are communication protocols, and I remember learning their protocol, but I can't recall it on the spot. Its just some... protocol. Same with analog design, I have to review aspects of capacitive action, time constants etc, pole frequencies, etc...
  9. fez

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    I'm used to taking notes the old fashioned way, on paper. So they're all spread around, in pages of various sizes. What if I went digital? What if I used one of those mind-mappers to make notes on the computer, and create a singular directory of note-collections on my HDD? Has any body experience with this, or something along the same line of thought?
  10. tshuck

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    I have all of my notebooks from school on my bookshelf. I have been meaning to move them to digital copies for backup, but can't seem to find the motivation to do it...

    I haven't had any problem using them for reference as is, though, so I'm not in a big hurry.... though, it would be cool to have them in Google Drive to be able to look it up anywhere....
  11. Papabravo


    Feb 24, 2006
    For any new processor project I get the serial port up and working first. I've done this maybe three dozen times of the last 50 years and each time I write the code from scratch because that is quicker than looking for my notes from years ago. So the variable names change but concept of queues and circular buffers remains the same. The code may not be the most efficient but it is straightforward and I get it right the first time more often than not.

    In short don't worry about what you're going to forget. Every time you revisit a topic it all comes flooding back. If you never revisit a topic then it probably wasn't very important anyway.