Topics: Mentoring, a valuable source of learning and maturing as an engineer.
on General Discussion
Mentoring, a valuable source of learning and maturing as an engineer.
My father was a pioneer in the RF field from the 1950's onward. he explained AC/DC and the behavior of the R, L, C elements when I was 11 years old (I earned my amateur radio license that year)
There have been many mentors in my life and they have added so much to my life, not only as an engineer, but as a person. The skills and ethics we all strive to attain are products of those who selflessly share their knowledge. .
Please share your experiences.
11-05-2013 06:07 AM
Well, I was the first in my family to really love engineering (most in my family were government employees), looking at job security, social status etc! However, 2 people really turned me on, towards engineering. My professor at graduate school, and another professor at my master's program. They were such fantastic teachers, with deep insight into their subjects and also love for the students. These 2 great people got me hooked on to engineering, and that love for engineering still remains 20+ years after formal education. These 2 professors would have been famous, if only they had taught in an eco-system that truly encouraged engineering design and technology. Instead, they were trapped in an eco-system that did not value engineering design and innovation. So they did what they could, which is to be great teachers and create good engineers. I still love them for adding so much meaning in my life! Take care, Sirs, and be well!
11-05-2013 08:53 AM
I have your books and refer to them often. I certainly agree that having a mentor(s) and being one is recommended. Everyone should have at least one mentor. Your Father was a good one. But over time I have experienced that some who possess valuable knowledge are not willing to share it with others. Fear of competition I suppose. Dr. Edgerton of Edgerton Germeshausen and Grier (EG&G - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) had a philosophy of "Tell everyone everything you know." Well...with regard to me, it wouldn't take up much of your time to tell you! As it is, though, you can learn something from anyone, no matter who they are. Just listen.
I was W5JGS-no longer active (CW-35 WPM); Signal School, Fort Monmouth, NJ & Advanced Signal School, Carlisle Barracks, Penn; US Army, Army Security Agency (ASA) Radio Station, Asmara East Africa-Mussolini's Headquarters WWII.) I processed through the Pentagon and traveled on a passport (to get through Cairo Egypt.) Even then, we were monitoring (censored) and other radio stations. You know the story today with the NSA. "You talk, text or twitter...we listen.)
11-05-2013 11:40 AM
Guru (Mentor) and Guri (In Kannada language meaning is Aim) are the two primes for anybody's success. In 12 th century a Kannada poet called Kanakadasa told that Unless you become the obedient follower of guru you don't get the success.First set an aim, destination or final then put in hard work under the guidance of guru.
In the today scenario we find good Guru's in the form of available literature in web, good persons answering the questions.
11-05-2013 02:38 PM
I keep hearing companies saying they cannot hire someone with this or that skill. Few if any seem to support on the job training and mentoring. Few power supply engineers graduated from schools with any or good power supply programs. Yet we learned it from others, publications, conferences, special classes like Ray Ridley's classes. Companies could do much to help the process. Unfortunately companies run by managers who believe the propaganda the software vendors feed them do not know who the better employees are to train them. I never could get my employer to send me to Ridley engineering class (cost to much) although later I did get others sent. To also add historical antidotes I learned about tubes then entered graduate school and had to teach myself about transistors. At Hewlett Packard medical instruments division I designed EKG amplifiers with transistors and soon after started learning and using ICs. Luckly I worked in the North-East and attended some early Unitrode seminars about early switching supplies and got interested. Engineers always have to keep learning a process that can be greatly helped by employers, classes like Ray's, good books, and to my surprise PhD thesis.
11-05-2013 05:26 PM
I learned Power supply designs from my experience through Delta. And my mentors are my seniors, who taught me the design through the practical ways. Also gained knowledges through leasons learned, MS/PhD thesis, technical papers from unitrode, Ray's papers, & Books (Marty Brown, Pressman, etc.,) ...
11-05-2013 08:21 PM
Many employers do not appreciate the importance of post education "mentor" education which also includes the published materials of the day. The difference between blue collared apprentices and the mentored/self-educated engineers is the ability to appreciate the true technology advances and trying them out. The availability of conference information and the availability of hands-on experience, give us engineers much more insight into the "true" useful advances which are truly applicable. This allowed additional peer review of the new ideas by the early innovators.
We (I) did not receive a formal university "power supply" education. Dr. Ridley's classes serve a great post-education opportunity. Theory plus hands-on, and sometimes failure educational experience is invaluable. I, myself, with the design cycles of the olden days, allowed me to actually play with power supplies for a year (before there were SMPS controllers). SMPS materials were very limited. I later learned from Dean Venable (breakthrough in feedback loop analysis),, Alex Esterov (planar xfrmers), Ray Ridley (feedback loops), and may more, etc.
We all benefit from the information available today via the internet. We all learn from multiple sources, not only to utilize the advice of real practicing engineers, but also from the resources available on-line.
Our present hiring managers do not understand or do not have our resumes reviewed by field-knowledgeable engineers within their companies. Agreed, with company outsourcing and the reduced internal technological knowledge, we are viewed as "equal" with company-sponsored outsourced engineers. Outsourced companies say "sure we have a power supply design department", but not really? These outsourced groups mainly rely upon vendor ap notes and datasheets.
Along my life, I have met many foreign engineers within the US, who have chosen to strive beyond the average. To those, I have the utmost admiration, are those who inquire about advanced subjects within our field, trying to learn about subjects beyond the formal teaching.
To those who feel an obligation to nurture the future of the field (small as we are)( to potential mentors, kudos to all of you.. The power field is one that requires more physical understanding than other field (as well as RF).
regards, Marty Brown
11-05-2013 10:57 PM
It seems that mentoring is a luxury today. MBAs, with their minimalist staffing requirement, is a non-essential entity. This is an informal variation of the "apprentice" program of the electrical, plumber or building. The sharing of knowledge is vital to the future of all fields.
I learned bench skills from an Ex pat Cuban technician, RF from my father, and logic and MPUs from myself in the days of the 4004. MBAs are the scourge of the universe. .
11-06-2013 01:09 AM
MBAs will be around, whether we like it or not. As will be economists who think they are seers. It is society's blind admiration of the MBA phenomenon that must moderate.... Farmers, artisans, technicians, engineers, scientists, and most importantly, teachers need to occupy a greater respect in society's collective conscience.....This is slowly happening, and will accelerate in this decade....