How Promising is the Future for my career in Electronics

Thread Starter

Exjay

Joined Nov 19, 2015
166
Hi,

I would be going to the US for my masters in Electrical engineering, concentration on Industrial and Automation Systems. However, practically I am not sound. What can I be doing when I get their to improve my technical skills while I'm learning that would improve my employability? One of the idea I thought, is starting a workshop at home and building electronics and stuff that interests me from electronics magazines or online projects.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,767
Hi,

I would be going to the US for my masters in Electrical engineering, concentration on Industrial and Automation Systems. However, practically I am not sound. What can I be doing when I get their to improve my technical skills while I'm learning that would improve my employability? One of the idea I thought, is starting a workshop at home and building electronics and stuff that interests me from electronics magazines or online projects.
That's a great start. You can hang around this site and try to understand the questions and answers as a second (additional) learning method.

Where will you be studying? Which school or city (if you feel comfortable answering).
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
9,265
That would be a good start, to learn the practical techniques of building and troubleshooting circuits. As an EE, though you should eventually be designing your own circuits. You should also explore opportunities for an internship when you get here.
 

Thread Starter

Exjay

Joined Nov 19, 2015
166
That's a great start. You can hang around this site and try to understand the questions and answers as a second (additional) learning method.

Where will you be studying? Which school or city (if you feel comfortable answering).
Northern Illinois University. Electrical engineering
 

Thread Starter

Exjay

Joined Nov 19, 2015
166
That would be a good start, to learn the practical techniques of building and troubleshooting circuits. As an EE, though you should eventually be designing your own circuits. You should also explore opportunities for an internship when you get here.
Thanks. I hope there would be enough time for me to develop myself there.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,767
Northern Illinois University. Electrical engineering
Look into internships (and research partnerships) with local companies like...
- Abbott Laboratories - it used to be pharmaceuticals but has since sold that off to become a medical devices and diagnostics company.
- Many, many Medical device companies in the Chicago area
- Shure Electronics (microphones and teleconferencing conferencing)
- there are many small mechatronics/automation companies supporting automation in the automotive industry across the central states
- many jobs and engineering services companies (many with locations in/near chicane) with the major projects designing server farms, power, power distribution and more.

good luck.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
31,079
If I may, I would like to suggest the following:

1) You should already have a strong interest and foundation in physics and mathematics.
2) Acquire knowledge and experience in analog and digital circuit design.
3) Acquire knowledge and experience in microcontroller hardware and programming.
4) Develop strong writing and speaking communication skills. I would highly recommend joining a Toastmasters club.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,264
Hi,

I would be going to the US for my masters in Electrical engineering, concentration on Industrial and Automation Systems. However, practically I am not sound. What can I be doing when I get their to improve my technical skills while I'm learning that would improve my employability? One of the idea I thought, is starting a workshop at home and building electronics and stuff that interests me from electronics magazines or online projects.
When I was working at a university in the electrical engineering department I was surprised and disturbed that the very high level of theoretical knowledge and facility with simulation tools was accompanied by almost no practical experience. Basic things that people with far less knowledge of theory had as second nature were a complete mystery to many of the graduate students in our labs.

On the other hand, the people I know from electronics practitioner communities (e.g.: amateur radio, Arduino enthusiasts, &c.) knew the things that were needed to make things actually work because they had to—they were building stuff they needed. This of course was not necessarily, and probably most often, not accompanied by an understanding of why they had to do these things.

Things as simple as pull up and down resistors, choosing TTL vs. CMOS, debouncing, bypass capacitors, and methods of interconnection were very frequently not in the toolkit of the grad students. This is because they never had to build anything in the physical world and got by on simulations that sometimes accounted for the necessity of these things and sometimes didn’t.

Once they were told about them, their theoretical knowledge made the necessity for these practical elements obvious. They could see why they would be needed even if they hadn’t anticipated them. This gives them a leg up on the practitioners who knew what but not why, and wouldn’t readily understand the why when explained.

So, I think you are on the right track with the idea of building things. By trying to make the things you’ve successfully simulated the range of practical skills you haven’t need until now will become necessities and you will learn them, quickly. Other practical things in the areas of materials science and chemistry will also be needed and you will learn things you don’t have a theoretical background for as well.

Soldering is materials and chemistry, adhesives are as well. Fabricating enclosures will teach you about the 3D aspects of your designs, etc. I believe that prototyping, physically solving the problems your circuits are designed to solve, is probably the top best teacher to fill the gaps you are seeing.

Very similarly, helping others by answering questions here, is a brilliant teacher. If you see a question that interests you, try to solve the problem. Research it, possibly breadboard a circuit, see what you come up with. You may be able to add to a thread–or not–but you will always be adding to your knowledge.

If you are inclined, pursuing a practitioner hobby like amateur radio or maker-related things can be a good medium for learning as well because it constantly offers new practical challenges to solve.

However you do it, exposing yourself to actual applications and solving the problems they present is the most efficient and effective way to master the practicalities.
 
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MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
31,079
There are just too many practical and essential things that they do not teach you in school.
Just as an example, they do not teach you the importance of 100nF decoupling capacitors across the power rails or why NE555 or LM555 timers are terribly noise generators on the supply lines.

When I was going through university I learned a huge amount from a lab technician. He had received no formal university education.
 

Thread Starter

Exjay

Joined Nov 19, 2015
166
Thanks
Look into internships (and research partnerships) with local companies like...
- Abbott Laboratories - it used to be pharmaceuticals but has since sold that off to become a medical devices and diagnostics company.
- Many, many Medical device companies in the Chicago area
- Shure Electronics (microphones and teleconferencing conferencing)
- there are many small mechatronics/automation companies supporting automation in the automotive industry across the central states
- many jobs and engineering services companies (many with locations in/near chicane) with the major projects designing server farms, power, power distribution and more.

good luck.
 

Thread Starter

Exjay

Joined Nov 19, 2015
166
So I have found myself some resources to start with. Electronics Fundamentals, Electronics Devices and Practical Electronics Design for Experimenter are my best bet based on my research. Also, I would be looking at Projects from Elektor magazines of the past to understand and solidify my understanding in electronics. But tools is my problem. Can I buy used oscilloscope, function generator and power supply units or I build them as my learning process? I have function generator and PSU circuits from Elektor.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
31,079
You can definitely build your very own modest signal generator and power supply.
Yes, shop around for a used oscilloscope.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
5,078
NIU in Dekalb IL, known locally as "The Nightlight for the Cows" (although the only cows in the area are housed in large multifloored butler buildings used as feed lots and never see the light of day). Situated in the middle of a cornfield for 60 miles in every direction. For any real fun you have to go east into Chicago if you dare. No real industry nearby to intern with other than a DelMonte Cannery, DeKalb Corn seed research facility and a Wurlitzer factory. My uncle taught theoretical physics there for many years before retiring. DeKalb's claim to fame is the guy who invented barbed wire.
 
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nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,552
So I have found myself some resources to start with. Electronics Fundamentals, Electronics Devices and Practical Electronics Design for Experimenter are my best bet based on my research. Also, I would be looking at Projects from Elektor magazines of the past to understand and solidify my understanding in electronics. But tools is my problem. Can I buy used oscilloscope, function generator and power supply units or I build them as my learning process? I have function generator and PSU circuits from Elektor.
One of the prime problems with building (anything) electronics is uncertainty. Buying used, good quality, test equipment reduces the measurement uncertainty in circuits and helps you built your own test gear faster and better.
 
It's great to hear that you're planning to pursue a master's degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Industrial and Automation Systems in the US. As you mentioned that you don't feel technically sound, it's wise to consider ways to improve your skills while studying to increase your employability.

Starting a workshop at home and building electronics and projects from online sources or electronics magazines is an excellent idea. This can help you gain hands-on experience and improve your technical skills, which can be an asset in your future job search.

Additionally, you may want to consider joining engineering clubs or societies at your university. Participating in extracurricular activities such as hackathons, engineering competitions, and industry events can provide you with opportunities to network with professionals in your field and gain practical experience.

Another suggestion is to look for internships or co-op programs related to your field during your studies. These can give you practical experience in a professional setting and help you develop skills that are highly valued by employers.
 

Thread Starter

Exjay

Joined Nov 19, 2015
166
It's great to hear that you're planning to pursue a master's degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Industrial and Automation Systems in the US. As you mentioned that you don't feel technically sound, it's wise to consider ways to improve your skills while studying to increase your employability.

Starting a workshop at home and building electronics and projects from online sources or electronics magazines is an excellent idea. This can help you gain hands-on experience and improve your technical skills, which can be an asset in your future job search.

Additionally, you may want to consider joining engineering clubs or societies at your university. Participating in extracurricular activities such as hackathons, engineering competitions, and industry events can provide you with opportunities to network with professionals in your field and gain practical experience.

Another suggestion is to look for internships or co-op programs related to your field during your studies. These can give you practical experience in a professional setting and help you develop skills that are highly valued by employers.
Thanks, I never thought of the second option you advised.
Do you stay in the US?
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
5,078
concentration on Industrial and Automation Systems
You should also consider membership in Students- ISA. The International Society of Automation (formerly the Instrument Society of America). They have local sections that meet monthly and give you a chance to network with other engineers and technicians in the field of Industrial Automation, provide lectures, tours, instrument shows, and scholarships. Student membership is $15 a year which provides their monthly magazine and access to their well renowned ISA Standards, which are used in industry. Our section also had a summer picnic (shrimp boil with open bar) membership drive and a very nice Christmas dinner party with entertainment paid for by the section using the revenue from our yearly Instrument Show.

Edit: There is a Will-DuPage Section of ISA a bit over halfway between Dekalb and Chicago. Will-DuPage - ISA Connect I'm sure you would be welcome to attend their meetings and events as a student member.
 
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Thread Starter

Exjay

Joined Nov 19, 2015
166
You should also consider membership in Students- ISA. The International Society of Automation (formerly the Instrument Society of America). They have local sections that meet monthly and give you a chance to network with other engineers and technicians in the field of Industrial Automation, provide lectures, tours, instrument shows, and scholarships. Student membership is $15 a year which provides their monthly magazine and access to their well renowned ISA Standards, which are used in industry. Our section also had a summer picnic (shrimp boil with open bar) membership drive and a very nice Christmas dinner party with entertainment paid for by the section using the revenue from our yearly Instrument Show.

Edit: There is a Will-DuPage Section of ISA a bit over halfway between Dekalb and Chicago. Will-DuPage - ISA Connect I'm sure you would be welcome to attend their meetings and events as a student member.
Thanks. I really appreciate. I would consider that and I hope to see you soon.
 
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