9 responses to “What did I get myself into?”

  1. An old engineer

    Several reasons why I became an engineer.
    1. It was the profession of choice for a son of a Chinese family in the ’60s & 70s.
    2. All my cousins had engineering majors when they went to college.
    3. I liked my drafting classes in high school.
    4. Remember that aplitude exam you took in high school? It said that I should be an engineer.

    To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was in high school. All I knew was that if I didn’t go to college, I stood the chance of getting drafted into the military. That meant getting sucked into that historical disaster called the Vietnam War. I didn’t have my draft number yet, but I wasn’t willing to bet my life on a bunch of ping pong balls in a box.

    So I went into engineering. My father gave me the choice of University of New Mexico (I was born in NM) or going to San Francisco State College. Well, after living in Roswell, NM for 10 years, I was definitely ready for a chance. UNM was hot, dusty, and dull. SFSU was new, exciting (especially after the student riots in ’69), and so very cool. I was in San Francisco a week after I graduated from high school.

    What I found out when I started college was that I was totally unprepared for a college education. I didn’t know how to study, etc. If it wasn’t for a bunch of older military vets in college on the GI bill, my butt would have been tossed out of college for being too stupid and dumb. They took me under their wings like a bunch of older brothers and we all worked together to get everyone through the classes. It took a couple of years to get straighten out, but eventually I figured out how to work the system to get my classes., study for classes, etc.

    Then in ’73, my family had the crazy idea that I apply for transfer to UC-Berkeley. Just to keep my family happy, I did, thinking that UC-B would never take in an average student already in a 4-year college program. When I got the letter saying that I was accepted, I didn’t know what to do.

    Well, all of friends who I had spent 3 years with at SFSU told me to transfer. For them, it was a no brainer to transfer from a fledging engineering school to one of the best in the country. Even my professors all told me to go.

    UC-B was entirely different than SFSU, everyone was really smart, the work load was twice what I was used to. I managed to survive and finally graduate in Decemeber 1974 with my BSME. I knew that I would never make it through graduate school, so I went to full time work at the place where I was interning at.

    Eventually, I got my PE.

  2. Fluxor

    Commercial modeling software is definitely used more in industry than university research. Else, the companies making those software will never turn a profit as unversities typically receive heavy discounts on such products. Our company here has an entire team of people dedicated to modeling silicon devices — caps, resistors, inductors, diodes, varactors, etc. Another team dedicated to modeling packages, bondwires, and board traces. And another team dedicated to testing real life components to see if they match the virtual models. I’m still amazed by the number of people necessary just to get a chip out the door. Circuit designers are only part of the story.