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How Do You Educate Yourself?
July 10, 2012
3 Min Read
One of the topics we spend a lot of time ruminating about here at Design News is how engineers educate themselves on new technologies. We offer lots of different vehicles to achieve that goal. And, for better or worse, there's no single answer to the question. In fact, making it even more difficult for people like me, who spend a good portion of their time trying to answer that question, it's often difficult to get a consensus. In my experience, when you ask five different people the question, you get five different answers.
One of the things we provide here at Design News are the obvious Web and print publication, the not-so-obvious live events (Design East and West), virtual events, and information through the usual social media tools. Another fairly new tool we deployed earlier this year is the Digi-Key Continuing Education Center. These are biweekly 30-minute classes on a complete range of topics.
However, I've learned over the years that the best way for us to know what you're looking for is simply to ask you. Hence, we used LinkedIn to ask our readers, "How do you learn about new engineering technologies?"
Emilijan Iljoski, a general manager at EiP Elektronika, says that he likes the live events, including symposiums, professional congresses, conferences, and trade fairs. He also favors publications of professional bodies, patents, and patents reviews, and professional magazines. He goes on to point out that there is "a whole palette of sources accessible only to members of professional associations."
The moral of this story is that if you aren't plugged into some of the professional societies and associations, you're probably missing out on some good information.
Rafael Lopez, an advanced electrical design engineer at Stoneridge Electronics, adds to Iljoski's comments, saying that some of the best vehicles for education are:
...publications of professional bodies, like trade magazines in whatever industry you are in, browsing all (or most) of new product introductions, and watching all the new stuff at trade fairs. Keep your eyes and ears open, and read, read, read. This is where the Internet comes in handy. However, once something catches your eye, then you must dig and dig for the whole of it, to check if it is for real, and who else is getting on it.
I guess that's good advice. Be forewarned -- don't believe everything you read.
Design News contributing technical editor Jon Titus says that he relies on magazines, application notes, seminars, manufacturer Websites, and trade shows. He says:
As an editor I review press releases on company websites, too, because not every announcement gets into print or posted on a website. I get a few email newsletters. I also like to attend manufacturer-sponsored seminars given locally in a meeting room or at a distributor. Then I can talk with the experts and field-application engineers. I like webcasts and short videos that focus on specific products or solve specific problems.
I encourage you to respond to this question and others like it. The place to do that is in the Design News Systems & Product Design Engineering group on LinkedIn.
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