In the "old days" when I attended college ther was something called a co-op program. You signed up for a major, attended two years of college then strated to work for a company on alternate semesters. It took about 5 1/2 years to graduate but the company had a trained and somewhat experienced engineer who could "hit the ground running." I don'e hear much about thesse programs now. If industry needs better trained engineers this is a proven way to go. Plus teh engineer hasa a job after graduation.
True Charles, I am also in the same thinking that you are in and I do believe that there should be an attention in attitude and positive thinking in order to get the maximum out of subject matter in practice.
Elizabeth, I am an engineer and while it is usually more fun to learn things "hands on", that is seldom an option when one is taking the initiative to become more educated. So I have availed myself of books and manuals and on quite a few occasions learning from "masters" of some skill, all on my own. Many employers were simply not willing to pay for educations, nor willing to allow the time for them.
Of course the other part of the education was always being willing to takle whatever was requested, which provided chances to polish my skills through using them on new things. So it is possible to become educated without having to depend on an employer to pay for the education, but it does take a bit of effort. And, on a few occasions, I also had to answer the question of "Where did you learn to do that?"
I have taken advantage of some of the Design News webinars. I like the format, and have found them very beneficial. I have listened to the first two in the PIC series that is going on this week, as a matter of fact. Unfortunately I can't always participate when they are live, but I do when I can.
Good points, Ttemple. As an example of what you're sahying, Design News has plenty of free online training programs, both radio shows and webinars. And they'll all archived, so we have quite a library.
I am not an engineer, but I personally find it far more difficult to learn merely by reading books or manuals. I think nothing beats hands-on, as real world as possible training, and I have no doubt many engineers and anyone learning anything new would agree with me.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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.