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Robert Jordan and Engineering

Started by enigma, October 15, 2007, 05:55:49 PM

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Wow, I had no idea that he had died, although I knew he had been sick.  Just googled his name, and I guess he only died a month ago.  Still looking forward to reading the last book, if it is actually published, and I would recommend reading it, as its one of my favorite series.

I had no idea that beta testing took so long, only beta testing I've known about was for Der Langrisser and I think that took about 3 weeks.

It seems like you said somewhere that you were an electrical engineer, but that could be somebody else.  If you are an electrical engineer, then I'm curious as to what you do at your job, because I'm going to college for engineering next year and haven't decided what field of engineering to go into yet.

EDIT: maybe I should have put this in general message board.


Yeah, I'm an electrical engineer. I work on hand held test equipment for detecting moisture.  It's a small company, and actually, I'm the only engineer there right now (usually there are two people). I've been there for nearly 5 years now. I do a little bit of circuit and hardware design, and then I also do firmware development for the devices, and also do the PC applications to interface, download, and control them. So, I have a broad range of experience since I am the 'jack-of-all' trades here. Unfortunately, I get plenty of crap work to go along with it as they try and make me the mechanical engineer, the chemical engineer, and push a bunch of unrelated paperwork and other nonsense.

I'd rather be a software engineer and stick to firmware development and/or PC applications and have been trying to make the transition, but I haven't been able to land a new job yet and I'll tell you why.

1. My company being small is cheap and generally low budget, so I usually don't get to work with the latest and greatest technology or software and am lagging behind when it comes to getting a real software job where they are looking for experience with newer or more advanced things.

2. For firmware engineering, we do small chips here that don't use real time embedded OS's. Many firmware jobs on the market today are for processors running embedded OSs such as VxWorks and/or utilize DSP processors in some way. I don't get experience with that at my job, so they don't want to give me the time of day.

3. Again, because the company is small and not ISO9000 certified, we don't deal with formal software design documentation such as UML and/or RationalRose.

Those things have really been hurting me. You are balled and chained to your direct work experience, so choose your first job carefully. It doesn't matter if I'm perfectly capable of doing all of the above things, they look at what you're doing now and don't want to give you the time of day if you don't match.

And when I apply for PC software engineering jobs, they turn me down because it looks like my skill set is too 'firmware focused'.  It's a bunch of BS really. But I've been at it for several months now and I can certainly see these patterns occur over and over.

So, the life lesson I have learned from all this is your first job out of college counts and it counts big time. Unfortunately, when I graduated, it was right after Sept. 11th and the job market was bad. It was either take that job or be unemployed because everybody was getting laid off and hardly anybody was hiring.

As for other areas of engineering, I have been exposed to mechanical engineering and chemical engineering. Mechanical engineering is primarily all CAD related work. Learn how to use AutoCAD well, that's a given. I can't stand any of that kind of work. I hate CAD work and 3D drawings etc. If you like that sort of thing though, sounds like it might be a nice, easy job, however very repetitive, but what job isn't after you've been doing it awhile. ;) Chemical engineering that I have been exposed to was in the area of designing plastic molding compounds. Really, it's beyond me, there's so many different kinds of materials that go into things. it seemed pretty boring and un-fun to me, but I really have only had to get involved on one or two projects.

I guess I'm highly biased toward electrical engineering, but I guess it depends on where your interests and skills are. - The central hub of the ROM hacking community.


Thanks a lot.  Now I'm pretty convinced that I don't want to do chemical engineering.  It didn't sound like something I would enjoy anyway, and having somebody talk about it a little definitely makes me think I made the right choice.