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Founding co-host Chris Gammell returns to The Engineering Commons to talk about the importance of interdisciplinary skills with Adam, Carmen and Jeff.
- Knowledge of heat transfer is useful in circuit design, acknowledges Carmen.
- As part of a required engineering class, sixteen Harvard students designed a smoker for cooking the “perfect” beef brisket.
- Chris’ educational site, Contextual Electronics, is preparing to start its third year of operation.
- To avoid software versioning problems, the Contextual Electronics team uses Vagrant, a software program that automates the creation and configuration of virtual development environments.
- Chris continues his work with SupplyFrame to develop parts.io, an online electronics search engine.
- Networking through meetups (like the group Chris founded in Cleveland) is important for maintaining industry contacts and staying abreast of technical trends.
- As the proud owner of a new Wilson II 3D printer, Chris is developing some new technical skills. He hopes to use the printer for enclosure design and fixturing.
- Jeff theorizes that ongoing reductions in engineering staff, along with automation of specialized tasks, is forcing many engineers into develop a greater range of interdisciplinary skills.
- The rate of business formation has been declining in the US over the past decade; Chris notes he has nonetheless seen an increasing number of small engineering firms.
- Foreseeing economic downturns in his first job, Chris actively developed new skills to improve his employability in other technical fields.
- Being a worry wart, Jeff wonders if advances in artificial intelligence will relegate engineers to providing technical guidance, rather than implementing technology directly.
- Adam notes a nearly mandatory requirement for professional engineering (PE) licenses has led to an “apprenticeship” arrangement in civil engineering.
- Carmen recalls Jeff Keyzer’s description of “T-shaped” employees during a past episode of The Amp Hour, which is also described in the Valve new employee handbook (pdf).
- Having a support group can be a great advantage in trying to learn new skills, notes Chris.
- Chris comments on the importance of sharing engineering stories, as is done on The Amp Hour, Spark Gap, and Embedded podcasts, as well as The Engineering Commons.
- Our guest can be found on Twitter as @Chris_Gammell.
Thanks to vxla for use of the photo titled “IC 100 at Chicago Union Station.” Opening music by John Trimble, and concluding theme music by Paul Stevenson.