Is ITT Technical Institute that bad?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Khalid Abur-Rahman, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Khalid Abur-Rahman

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 25, 2008
    If so, what's the difference between students who are not able to get good engineering jobs, and students who are able to get good engineering jobs. I've met three students from their who got good jobs as engineers. One worked for a two worked for a company called power wave, one was the lead engineer of a company called Oleum Technologies. Oh and there are three others. One works for a company called Extron Electronics. and one works for a company called Broadcom, and he helped two students get hired on as interns. Oh, wait one more used to work for Intel, but he quit and got a better job somewhere else. But I used to work as an assembler, and most of my coworkers, who were also assemblers, had a BS degree from ITT. I'm trying to figure out, why some get good jobs and why others do not.
  2. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
    Dear Khalid:

    Your last sentence opens up a HUGE topic, which I'd like to address. It expands well beyond electronics to life in general.
    I have only half of an electrical engineering degree, but I've been "overemployed" for my entire life, while I know PhD's in the same field....much smarter, more disciplined, and better educated than me, that have been constantly struggling. I attribute my success to one thing....knowing precisely....well, FAIRLY precisely, what I wanted to do from a very young age. I happened to pick a "niche" which is in very high demand, but which also has almost no competition, R.F. engineering. For about ten years I was on full time staff of the UCLA plasma physics department, just because my skills were so specialized....I certainly wouldn't recommend my bizarre career path to anyone else...but it diemonstrates perfectly why some succeed and others don't. (I think I was the only staff engineer in the history of UCLA that didn't have an advanced degree!)
    Some of it may be sheer timing, as well. When I came to Alaska, it was right in the middle of the pipeline construction, and every type of technical job imaginable was there for the taking. Though I didn't work directly for the pipeline, but rather in broadcast engineering, I benefitted greatly from the entrepreneurial spirit that permeated the entire state at the time. There was a huge amount of "trickle down" economics from the Pipeline.
    Well, I don't know if that answered your question...but hopefully gives you something to think about!

  3. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    This story is consistent with my opinion. It mostly comes down to talent and attitude. Luck and opportunity play some role, since there is a minimum amount of luck and opportunity that anyone needs to succeed. However, once above the threshold, nothing can stop talent and a winning attitude.
  4. digitalmind

    Active Member

    Mar 7, 2009
    I'd like to add something about the brain and the biological basis of ability, if that's of any use.

    I agree with the above posts about high specialisation instead of being a mediocre or even a good generalist, along with a bit of luck and opportunity.

    Consider the case of Albert Einstein. When his brain was dissected, the area of his brain responsible for mathematical thinking, broadly speaking, was unusually large. This area of his brain also "borrowed" grey matter from other parts of his brain to help.

    This can be explained by neuroplacticity, or brain placticity, as it's sometimes called. The brain is very malleable and even thinking about something intensely as well as doing something an area of the brain is largely responsible for, will enlarge that area of the brain and so it would appear, cause new connections to form everywhere it can to other areas of the brain.

    This happened to me when I appeared to be very bright, but in fact I wasn't outstanding at all in the general sense. All I did throughout childhood was play with Lego Technic sets. And I'm not exaggerating about this. When my doctor referred me to a psychologist for an IQ test when I was 13, he was perplexed. I should have been at university already or something. The thing was that my vocabulary was tiny and my general knowledge was poor, among other things. But I effortlessly scored at the highest level possible on the attention to detail sub-test, and in the superior and very superior ranges for short-term memory, logic/problem solving, mental arithmetic and visual-spatial reasoning. I had my good points, but I didn't need to be someone with an IQ off the planet to achieve things that stunned my teachers who initially thought I was dull and a bit backward. (Well I was, in some areas. Still am!)

    The whole point of this is that if you intensely specialise, even become fanatical about it, you will invariably be successful. You'll be developing areas of the brain that help in some area you specialise in. It might take a decade or longer, but it's worth it, if you intend to become professional and outstanding in your field.

    For further reading, take a look at books by psychologist Tony Buzan, like Use Your Head, Master Your Memory, Mind Mapping (throw away disorganised notes), etc. For further detail on the brain grab books like Train Your Brain, which give interesting detail on experiments with people complete with "before and after" fMRI scans of the brain. It only takes a couple of hours a day over two weeks to see that some area of the brain has visibly increased in size. Then you can read more about memory in specialised books on the subject.

    Your brain is really the only asset you have. If you look after it and excercise it, it will repay you in kind.

    On the subject of what to specialise in, perhaps look in areas you enjoy. It might take a little time because the field is so huge, but it's probably safe to say you will be good at what you enjoy. Then become fanatical about it and soak up everything you can about it.

    Perhaps as an interesting side note, Leonardo da Vinci is thought to be the last true all-round genius. He had no formal schooling and simply observed and did. On the other hand he was exceptional - he went "everywhere" and probably developed most areas of his brain.
  5. cultclassic

    New Member

    Mar 10, 2009
    Yes, that "fanatical" part is what great achievements are made of! ...

    When Edward DeBono (the guy who invented the term "lateral thinking"), set out to find that "one" key to success, he ended up finding there was no "cure-all"solution.. There was too much disparity between successful people from different fields; Their abilities, talents, skills varied too much.. There was, however, one common thing: They all had, as he put it, "the ability to convince others"; That's how they got people to invest with them; That's how they got skilled people dedicated to the cause for little money, but promise od a great future...But, convincing people is not one single skill; The skillset varied from person to person; Some of them were charming, some were great public speakers, some commanded respect, some instilled fear, and so on... But there was one thing in common: ALL of them were PASSIONATE, and FOCUSED about what they were doing. Your words "specialize" and "fanatical" reminded me of this...

    That was an insightful and thought-provoking post, digitalmind!
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2009
  6. digitalmind

    Active Member

    Mar 7, 2009
    Thanks! I rambled on a bit, but I think I managed to say what I wanted to. I am certainly aware of Edward de Bono and his achievements. My mother bought me his books and a thinking game de Bono developed when I was a kid. It didn't make much sense to me at the time, but it did as a teenager.

    One example comes to mind when thinking about "fanatical:" Seymour Cray. He devoted his life to supercomputers, and he was probably the best in the world at what he did.

    Early on IBM bluffed and said just wait and see what we'll have in six months... nothing. I remember reading somewhere about an IBM executive asking Cray how he managed to beat them hands down by himself when IBM had the better facilities and all those brilliant engineers. Cray simply replied along the lines of, there, you've already answered your question.

    I think it follows if you have the passion and drive, and don't become distracted, you can be brilliant at what you want to be, as you suggest. The time might vary, but the research and other evidence suggests anyone can be really good at what they do.

    Another interesting case is Sir Isaac Newton. He spent his childhood making mechanical toys and such, and he was good at it. He displayed no particular special ability at school or when he went up to Cambridge. But when he was alone, away from Cambridge because of the plague, great things happened. He was able to single-mindedly pursue things as far as he could. He went as far as not caring about his appearance or anything. He just put in everything he had to his pursuits. And of course "stood on the shoulders of giants." (Start with them, pursue, and achieve).
  7. lemily

    New Member

    Jun 29, 2009
    I think the particular technical school you go to to get your education is important - different schools have different reputations. Some will make possible employers immediately look at your CV in more detail and others won't.
    BUT getting a good job is a matter of talent, attitude, timing and I would say also luck and personality. You can be the most brilliant technica genius but if you are not a socially skilled person, a person who people want to work with you probably won't end up getting your dream job. Period!
    Very often people know that just from interviews and some days of work they won't be able to judge your abilities and potential correctly. But they will be able to judge if they like you and if they can imagine working with you in the future.
    As for luck - often it is just luck that makes you get a job. There are so many different factors involved that you simply can't influence.
    Anyways I think ITT's reputation isn't too bad!
  8. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    He wasn't the last! Maybe he was the most famous, or the most popular.

    Today's academic institutions don't hold any attraction for the true all round genius, I doubt they could stand years in a classroom surrounded by slow dull lesser minds for the sole purpose of attaining a slow dull imperfect degree. So you won't see many Leonardos these days go through the university system.

    But just because the institutions tend to promote and fund the more conservative pedantic type of genius is not proof that the nonconformist innovative genius has ceased to exist. The internet would have become the fastest and most logical educational system for an innovative mind that can learn anything quickly.

    In Newton's day the very best minds sought out universities, you could even say the university WAS the internet. Today the very best minds would reject them as slow, expensive, limiting, obsolete systems of learning. But that's just my take on it.

    Sorry for heading off topic. :)
  9. David Lewis


    Jun 29, 2009
    People of modest intelligence and meager talent are hugely successful as employees when they are perceived as reliable, organized, sane, have their act together and easy to work with.

    People of modest intelligence and meager talent are hugely successful as entreprenuers when they understand the customer's viewpoint, are self-disciplined, recognize opportunity and take massive action.

    It's very unlikely the degree by itself, even from the finest school in the world, can overcome weaknesses in the foregoing areas.
  10. Salgat

    Active Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    I got a great education with electronics at a 2 year community college. Unless you have a specific job in mind, it may be better in the long run to just go for the Associates.