6 responses to “Weekend Journal: Engineer Tabs”

  1. QuadTech

    “A true expert continues learning while applying already learned techniques.”

    Excellent point! I would agree that the hardest transition is from intermediate to expert. That is when a lot of the “why” comes into question. It’s not enough to know how to do something, you need to understand why it is done that way. And “because that’s how everyone else does it” is not the right answer!

  2. Deg

    I enjoyed this article. It reminds me very much of Bloom’s Taxonomy, which is a model for understanding learning/education — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom's_Taxonomy
    I feel like the typical engineering class takes a student to 3 or 4 out of 6..

  3. SiliconFarmer

    Good analogy and comparison.

    One can make it through the beginner stage by practical experience or learning theory in a class. Intermediate progress is hampered if you are exclusively using just one or the other. It is extremely rare to reach the expert level without a balance of both theory and practical experience.

    I took every electronics lab class I could in college, and worked on projects of my own. Still, I think it took a full 10,000 hours to become an “expert”. Without pursuing both learning methods, I am sure it would have taken me at least twice as long.

    I started learning guitar a year ago. It has brought back to me that process where you think you are finally “getting it”, then discover something else you need to learn and realize you haven’t even begun to master the subject. Both in music theory and technique. But at least I can play the theme to Firefly.

  4. Daniel in Portland

    Well-done. I actually started in electronics (as a hobbyist), got into music, went to school for music education (guitar as my primary instrument), and taught/performed for a decade. Now I’m going to start school this fall in electronics. No surprise that I’ve often compared the creative sides of music and electronics.
    So your start in electronics was not as a hobbyist, but by simply deciding to do electronics and then going to school? This is something else I’ve been thinking about: Is electronics an arbitrary career choice for some people? I’m sure it is, but it’s something I can’t wrap my mind around.
    Would love to hear your (and everyone’s) personal story!

    1. Chris Gammel

      Well Daniel, I guess this article was written for you! Crazy how that lines up sometimes.

      My own story went like this: I was in high school, stressing out about what to do with my life (I was a very uptight teenager). I knew I liked physics and that I wanted to do something that would have challenging work over a long period. I had also started pulling apart cell phones around this time and was clueless as to how it might work. So I decided there and then that I wanted to design cell phones. I started my search for EE programs and ended up finding one that I really liked. Then I began my journey towards nerd-dom (well, continued, I’ve always been a nerd). I’ve talked with my fiancee about it before and basically I was very luck it worked out. Not many people guess correctly what they might enjoy doing with their life when they’re 17. Since that time I’ve realized how much I’ve missed by not practicing electronics outside the classroom, so I’ve been honing my skills at home.

      Also, interesting coincidence: I ended up working on cell phones, albeit indirectly. First at a chip fab that made memory utilized in cell phones, among other devices. And secondly at a test and measurement company that sold equipment directly to cell phone manufacturers. They were both by chance but the happenstance is not lost on me.

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