Boston, MA â When
started planning for the 2009
Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) held this week in Boston, it was delighted to find out that
attendees could pre-register online for its in-booth educational sessions.
Microchip's game plan was to schedule 10 sessions in its booth, which is
designed to accommodate a maximum of 20 people per session.
It didn't quite work out that way, with five to six times
more engineers than expected signing up for many of Microchip's hour-long sessions
on topics ranging from Ethernet Solutions to RF. Some 161 engineers, for
example, pre-registered for a session titled USB Solutions, causing Microchip
to make a quick decision and move the in-booth sessions to a larger space
within the convention center.
"We didn't really put any cap on the registration, but
clearly the online pre-registration was a factor. Another factor is that we are
seeing a lot of uptake in USB and related topics," says Eric Lawson, public
Lawson says the Microchip courses offered here were designed
to give engineers a taste of a hot topic, and clearly that's exactly what some
of the design engineers here were looking for. With a virtual explosion of
technology to stay on top of, engineers are doing their best to learn when and
where they can snatch the time. In all, they had a total of 85 sessions to
choose from at this year's ESC to do just that.
Andy Leech, a consultant who designs medical equipment,
attended Microchip's session on Human Interface Solutions. "I'm here getting
the flavor of it so that if I have a requirement in the future that is in any
way related to the technology, I have a base to build upon," says Leech. Here
on business from the UK,
Leech says he pre-registered for a few of the sessions that looked interesting,
basically in an attempt to try and keep up with it all. "Engineers are just
getting bombarded with information, there's just this constant need to climb
the learning curve," he says. "At this type of show you get to see all the
things you don't have time to keep up with and maybe learn something about a
few of them."
Paul, another consultant who attended the same session attended
Microchip's session on USB Solutions the day before, and said he was planning
to take it again later in the day. "Microchip's got this 8-bit technology with
USB built right in, they're being extremely aggressive," he said. "Basically
I'm taking the course twice to make sure I understand it."
Consultant Chuck Lippmeier, an expert in LabVIEW (a
graphical programming language from National Instruments) had not taken any of
the Microchip courses at this year's ESC, but says he has in the past. "Every
little bit of information that you gather gets you a little closer to where
you're trying to go," he says. "What I am trying to do now is get on board with
microcontrollers, my level is pretty basic at this point," he says. In the
past, he has used training materials on Microchips's site and attended
Microchip's annual Masters Conference for more intensive training.
In the end, education is part of a never-ending process for
design engineers, a task that many regretfully say they now have less time to
devote to. So every little bit helps. "It's kind of like climbing Mount Everest," says Paul. "One step at a time."
for more information on Microchip's technical training and education