"Yes, completely agree! But I don't think it may affect skills and abilities of electrical engineers in any way. Things may have changed, as it used to be a decade ago, but, it's not like you just have to learn how to use those packages and software and you became an electrical engineer."
Steward, it can affect seriously. They want just to click one or two tabs, instead of remembering formula and equations. Efficiency, accuracy and speed can attain through such tools, but the user's personal knowledge level is deteriorating and dependency is increasing.
You're right about communications skills, and not just for getting the credit you're due. Today, with design teams, customers and vendors working together around the globe a lot of communication is via email. All too often I get an email where someone has a problem or needs something, but from their description I can't tell what they need. If they're on the other side of the globe we can waste several days emailing back-and-forth until I understand the issue. That can have a real impact on schedule!
I also agree. Analysis and simulation tools can (to grossly oversimplify) tell you things about the design you've told it about, but they can't come up with the design and they can't tell you how to fix it when it doesn't work like you thought it would. Inovation, design, and debugging still require a solid understanding of the fundamentals.
When I was doing on-campus interviews a few years back, I was stunned at the EE students who could tell me all about their use of Matlab, but could tell me nothing about a simple RC circuit. To them it was all math, and I don't think understood the underlying principles. In a lab that doing high-performance, deep-sub-micro integrated circuit design you have to have both: a gut feel for how this stuff works, and the ability to run the tools to get the design out the door.
Another thing: The analyzer or simulator may tell you a bald-faced lie. The tools and models are limited, reality is not. If you don't understand the fundamentals and how the design is supposed to work you won't be able to tell when the tool is lying to you.
In addition to all of the technical engineering skills I also took classes in technical writing and public speaking and discussion leading. Then, after I started working I realized that I also needed to study management techniques. I wound up getting a set of textbooks from an MBA student who felt that he would never want them for reference use. So I studied management techniques and business plan development, and also some customer relations topics.
In the opposite direction, I learned to operate most of the machines in the shop so that I would understand a lot of manufacturing processes. It would have taken me a whole lot of years to learn that all at a school, and I probably would not have learned it as well.
I still need to develop a better understanding of organic chemistry, and I ought to learn C programming a bit. But there is only so much time.
I don't understand the point here, is this a wish list, an explanation of the profession geared toward high school students, or something else? It seems to be a bit of filler on the website. We electrical engineers know what skills we have and how important the field is to technology and progress in general. I just don't think this blog adds any value to an engineering-centric website.
I will point out one comment in particular that is patently untrue, however. the second paragraph talks about what electrical engineering students learn, and goes on to say "And they're trained to manufacture and design safe and economical products that can enhance the lives of humans."
That's just not the case. I've been hiring engineers for many years, and oh yeah, I am one, and I can tell you that no EE school I am familiar with teaches students much (if anything) about manufacturing, and nothing at all about safety or designing-for-cost. These are topics we teach in industry, partly because the definitions and objectives change depending on the particular business.
Engineers at Fuel Cell Energy have found a way to take advantage of a side reaction, unique to their carbonate fuel cell that has nothing to do with energy production, as a potential, cost-effective solution to capturing carbon from fossil fuel power plants.
To get to a trillion sensors in the IoT that we all look forward to, there are many challenges to commercialization that still remain, including interoperability, the lack of standards, and the issue of security, to name a few.
This is part one of an article discussing the University of Washington’s nationally ranked FSAE electric car (eCar) and combustible car (cCar). Stay tuned for part two, tomorrow, which will discuss the four unique PCBs used in both the eCar and cCars.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.