Electronic Design Magazine: DIY Electronics Kits Turn Hobbyists Into Engineers

Joseph Bento joseph at kirtland.com
Fri Mar 2 13:42:57 CST 2012


I am not an engineer. I do have over 30 years experience as an 
electronics technician, however. 

What has amazed me is what today's new engineering graduates don't 
know.  In school, they apparently do not handle any physical components 
nor do they breadboard any circuits to observe electrical laws in the 
real world.  They do not handle a soldering iron, and it seems that they 
can scarcely read a schematic, nor understand the use of common test 
equipment.  Old-school engineers were completely different.  They could 
wear both hats as a technician and engineer.

I enjoyed a previous job where I got to build the engineering prototypes 
and helped to troubleshoot when something didn't work as expected.  They 
could design on paper, and I got to prove their concepts with prototypes.

Joe, N6DGY

Andre Kesteloot wrote:
> Phil,
> What motivated my posting was the rather simplistic tone of the tile 
> of the article. 
> Kit building may attract youngsters in the right direction, but does 
> not an engineer make .
> One may or may not learn to think like an engineer by attending college.
> And I also know of many "engineers" who got their diplomas by writing 
> code and / or using simulation software, and could not draw a circuit 
> diagram. 
> I used to interview engineers who had attended college here, and had a 
> EE  diploma. One of the questions I woud ask them was, " having access 
> to any electric or electronic part you may want, please draw now on 
> the white-board how you would design  a ground-fault interrupter. Just 
> think, then show me how you would go about solving this problem".
> The majority of candidates not only did not know how  to go about 
> designing one, but also could not come up with a  general solution.
> The next day, I would ask them again, and maybe one in ten had 
> bothered to go visit the local hardware store, buy of of these devices 
> and open it up.
> Although they had a diploma, I would not call these people engineers 
> either.
> IMO, it takes much more than either kit-building or attending college 
> to make an engineer.
> 73
> André
> On 3/1/2012 15:20 PM, Phil wrote:
>> Come on Andre, deep down you know that you've gotta get the kids away 
>> from the TV and computer games first, before you can mould them into 
>> engineers. Give them the fun first, and the maths later! And 
>> nowadays, you have to get the Dads interested before the kids - 
>> remember, we've lost almost an entire engineering generation to 
>> 'progressive education' and 'health and safety'.
>> Phil M1GWZ
>> On 1 Mar 2012, at 02:13, Andre Kesteloot wrote:
>>> http://www.electronicdesign.com/article/components/DIY-Electronics-Kits-Turn-Hobbyists-Into-Engineers.aspx?cid=ed_newsletter&NL=1&YM_RID 
>>> _
>>> _
>>> Tacoistas,
>>> Silly me ! 
>>> I had always thought that, for me to become an engineer, it had been necessary to attend college, sweat through integral calculus, 
>>> divs and curls, Pointing vectors, etc., study through the nights before finals...
>>> Had I just known this 55 years ago, I could have simply bought a few DIY electronics kits and /voilà/, Instant Engineer...
>>> So much time and money wasted on theory. (While in college I did learn, however, how to drink a fair quantity of beer)
>>> 73
>>> André N4ICK
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