Episode 25 — Spark

sparkJeff talks with his three new co-hosts about what sparked their interests in engineering.

  • Co-host #1 is Adam, a civil engineer who works for a Department of Transportation in the Upper Midwest.
  • Co-host #2 is Brian, an electrical engineer who has spent a good deal of his career doing hardware design for the aerospace industry.
  • Co-host #3 is Carmen, an electrical engineer in the analog semiconductor business.
  • Adam never had any doubt that he wanted to become an engineer. He fell in love with traffic engineering, so became a civil engineer.
  • Civil engineering seems to be a field with good employment prospects, as the U.S. transportation infrastructure needs a lot of updating.
  • Brian started out in journalism, but found an engineering professor who sparked an enduring interest in embedded systems.
  • Carmen enjoyed enjoyed the robots classes he took in high school, leading him into electrical engineering.
  • Working with an experienced engineer during an internship made Carmen realize he wanted to focus on analog design.
  • Brian and Carmen don’t have any current interest in being managers, although Jeff wonders if that might not change in the future.
  • Software packages are making it easier for non-engineers to perform engineering functions.
  • Jeff recalls that W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. limits the number of employees in each of its divisions.
  • Jim Williams, author of Art and Science of Analog Circuit Design, has noted that development time remains the same, even though the number of features per device continues to increase.
  • A discussion ensues about the advantages and disadvantages of complexity in engineering design.
  • In his book, The Black Swan, author Nassim Taleb discusses why it is so hard to anticipate what will go wrong with a process or system.
  • Jeff quizzes Adam about intersections, highway design, and asphalt durability.
  • Carmen’s blog is Fake EE Quips, and his twitter handle is @FakeEEQuips.
  • Brian’s twitter handle is @B2theory.
  • Although he hasn’t posted anything in a while, Jeff’s blog is Engineering Revision. He can be found on Twitter as @sheltoneer.

Thanks to Tc Morgan for the photo titled “Ignite the moment…” Podcast theme music provided by Paul Stevenson

One thought on “Episode 25 — Spark”

  1. Good to hear some fresh co-hosts.

    I meant to leave a comment after listening to the “priorities” episode. You touched on many things that I too struggle. I wish you talked more about how to actually choose what to read and what to ditch, whether to start new projects and so on.

    In this episode Brian touched again on the subject of work-life-balance. I’m pretty much just like Brian described and I think it’s fairly common amongst the passionate engineers. It’s easy for me to spend too much time at work since most of the time I enjoy being there. On my free time I try to do my own projects but rarely finish them. And I’m constantly doing “research” on various topics that interest me. I have a chronic lack of time.

    Although I’m quite happy, sometimes I catch myself pondering if I’m missing out on the real life, whatever that might be. On the other hand I feel I’m so busy and there’s so many things I want to learn and accomplish that I don’t have a chance for normal life.

    Maybe you could do a whole episode on the subject. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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