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Getting Shot at Preferrable to Engineering? - RF Cafe Forums

RF Cafe Forums closed its virtual doors in 2010 mainly due to other social media platforms dominating public commenting venues. RF Cafe Forums began sometime around August of 2003 and was quite well-attended for many years. By 2010, Facebook and Twitter were overwhelmingly dominating online personal interaction, and RF Cafe Forums activity dropped off precipitously. Regardless, there are still lots of great posts in the archive that ware worth looking at. Below are the old forum threads, including responses to the original posts.

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Kirt Blattenberger

Post subject: Getting Shot at Preferrable to Engineering? Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 4:12 pm

Site Admin

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm

Posts: 308

Location: Erie, PA

Greetings:

I just read the following in the 12/1/2005 edition of Electronic Design. It is a pretty sad commentary on the state of engineering in the U.S.

"I am 40 years old and have an MSEE. I am so thrilled with this career that I have chosen that I am trying to get back in the military. I would rather have people shooting at me than work in this profession anymore. The U.S. is now allowing more than 30,000 H1-Bs in. We are in real trouble." -- ED reader

For those interested in doing the same, the rule I heard from a recruiter type is that the maximum age for re-entering the service as an officer is around 40 years old (varies with branch of service) plus the number of years previously served. So, if you are 47 (like me) and served 4years (like me), then you do not qualify because the maximum age would be 44. If had served for two tours (8 years), I would be eligible.

The issue relates to the latest RF Cafe online poll on the effects of outsourcing.

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RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster

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Guest

Post subject: Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:34 am

The reason there are so many visas for engineers is because an RF engineer born in this country is becoming a rarity. If you do not believe me just look at the enrollments into enginnering schools across the country. It is even worse in graduate school. When I was going for my masters in EE, there were 3 citizens and 65 forein nationals. The problem begins in primary , and secondary schooling in this country. Alot of teachers emphasize social issues which steer students toward those careers. Also, the lack of "qualified" teachers to teach math and science in a fun and forfilling way adds to the problems. Students at a young age learn to dread math and science because they find it difficult and without purpose. What they do not realize is that mathamatics can be applied to actual useful purposes. I came from the same school system and did not make this connection until I was in electronics school in the military. There, for the first time I realized that I actually liked mathematics and electronics despite taking courses in high school. As far as forfilling engineering jobs in this country, their are good and bad companies to work for. I am fortunate that I have been able to work for good copanies that always through me cutting edge and exciting work. We are presently desperately trying to hire people for engineering positions but have found that it is a challenge to get a resume never mind a person to walk through the door. Yes, we have many engineers with visas, not by company choice but by neccesity. No the salaries are not lower for these engineers. We need to graduate more engineers or else we will most certainly be in trouble. The engineers in China are presently inexperienced and lack many skills. But this will not last forever since the Chinese are determined to be a technological power house. Well I rambled on enough. What are your thoughts?

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Kirt Blattenberger

Post subject: Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:57 am

Site Admin

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm

Posts: 308

Location: Erie, PA

Anonymous wrote:

I came from the same school system and did not make this connection until I was in electronics school in the military. There, for the first time I realized that I actually liked mathematics and electronics despite taking courses in high school.

Greetings Guest:

Good input. I, like you, had what I call my "enlightenment period" while in the military. I always loved science, especially aerospace, meteorology, and electrical/electronic topics, but for whatever reason, never caught on while in school. It's a real joke to look in my high school yearbook where I listed aerospace engineering as my future path, when at the time I could not even factor the simplest equation. I will have to take the blame for it, since my time was filled with building model rockets and airplanes rather than studying.

After electronics tech school in the USAF (radar maintenance), I began a self-study program to educate myself in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and even literature and poetry. In-between deployments, I managed to squeeze in a couple college classes. After separation from the service, I went to school at night to get my Associate degree, then a combination of full-time and part-time college (University of Vermont) to earn my BSEE. Afterward, I took some Masters courses part-time, but never completed the graduate degree – way too busy with kids, job and other life necessities.

So, what to do to stop the bleeding of U.S. students from our engineering and science curriculums? While a lot of the blame rightfully is laid at the feet of the junior high and high schools, the colleges and universities also are culpable. Many students do not want to suffer the professors that are openly hostile and discriminatory against those that do not buy into the extreme liberal, anti-American theme that pervades campuses. Substantiated stories abound about students whose grades are unfairly lowered for not pumping the professor's egos, and the general atmosphere of hatred by nearly entire administrative bodies toward even moderately conservative students does not make one feel welcome. Since, according to the last couple elections, fully half the country does not conform to the establishment liberal system, that means a lot of people are left out. The situation has reversed from the pre-1960s era and the very people who protested against “the man” are now the new “man.”

What I would like to see is for the minority CITIZENS of America to start flooding the colleges as engineering and science students. The proven path to success in this country is to earn a college degree and enter the professional workforce. Many go on to start high-tech companies. With all the government money that is thrown at trying to solve the poverty problem, many more resources should go toward mentoring (preferable by, say Black and Hispanic volunteers) to promote college attendance. Those mentors should eschew the entitlement and the hyphenated-American mindset and promote patriotism with the accompanying desire to better the country by becoming premier citizens in academia and industry. It is a crime that people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are allowed to discourage the minority population from participation in the upper echelons of society by fomenting discontent and anarchy directed toward the very system that could make them successful.

Well, this is certain to rankle some people's sensitivities. Let me know your thoughts (not your feelings).

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- Kirt Blattenberger

RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster

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Guest

Post subject: .. so you can become a teacher, and teach it ..Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:37 am

An anecdote regarding the teaching of mathematics in Canada.

A classmate of mine in the final year of high school (circa 1980), asked our Calculus teacher why we learn Calculus.

In all seriousness, his response was: "so if you become a teacher, you can teach it".

My oldest son now in his first year of medical science at the University of Western Ontario finished his midterm with 99% in calculus. I have never helped him with his school work, not once, but I have always pointed out to him and my other kids examples of where mathematics makes a real tangible difference in their worlds (computers, games, communications etc).

If you show a kid from your own experience how and why mathematics is used, and how important it is, they are that much more interested to learn it. Sadly, the school teachers we have here in Canada seem mostly to be cut from a different cloth, and will never provide that vision.

(He did equally well in both chemistry and biology, is a body builder, and plays football and rubgy-- so it's not necessary to be a nerd, or Chinese, to excel at science.)

My second son, now that's a whole different story .....

Cheers,

ColdMortimer

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guest

Post subject: WhatPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:00 am

People should stop focusing on the visa situation as mentioned here and look at Graduate schools: there are no citizens, hardly any in North America studying in the field. It has gone downhill fast and since schools need to make money and a reputation for themselves, they take more and more foreign students. Of course, people naturally blame the VISA situation but look at your own people: people just don't want to study, young kids would rather do something that gets them rich quicker, with minimal work. Stop whining and look around.

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AP

Post subject: Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:52 pm

Kirt Blattenberger wrote:

So, what to do to stop the bleeding of U.S. students from our engineering and science curriculums? While a lot of the blame rightfully is laid at the feet of the junior high and high schools, the colleges and universities also are culpable. Many students do not want to suffer the professors that are openly hostile and discriminatory against those that do not buy into the extreme liberal, anti-American theme that pervades campuses. Substantiated stories abound about students whose grades are unfairly lowered for not pumping the professor's egos, and the general atmosphere of hatred by nearly entire administrative bodies toward even moderately conservative students does not make one feel welcome. Since, according to the last couple elections, fully half the country does not conform to the establishment liberal system, that means a lot of people are left out. The situation has reversed from the pre-1960s era and the very people who protested against “the man” are now the new “man.”

I don't think that this has to do with the lack of engineering students in universities - in my undergrad we took a total of 2 courses that came from the Arts faculty over 4 years, and there were no politics in any of the science or engineering courses, nor were there any when I became a grad student.

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guest

Post subject: duuhhh..Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:17 am

on some forums he says no politics, then here he injects politics where it's not needed. go figure !

face the facts, kids are getting dumber and lazier: too much TV and internet and toys.

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Kirt Blattenberger

Post subject: Re: duuhhh..Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:06 pm

Site Admin

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm

Posts: 308

Location: Erie, PA

guest wrote:

on some forums he says no politics, then here he injects politics where it's not needed. go figure !

Greetings guest:

If you read carefully, you will see that only on the Anecdotes & Gripes forum do I request no politics - that one is supposed to be pure entertainment.

Politics affects nearly everything we do professionally, publically, and privately, so mentioning how it affects topics on the forums is entirely reasonable and often necessary to make a point. A rational, level-headed discussion that takes political policies into account is not discouraged at all. What I discourage is a flame session that exists purely to incite the tempers of others. If you want that kind of experience, go to one of the other popular forums.

It truly is hard to lay the blame for laziness at the feet of entertainment providers. There have always been plenty of distractions for uncommitted and undisciplined people. The missing element is commitment on the part of parents and teachers to sufficiently discipline kids. By discipline, I do not mean whipping them physically, I mean exercising authority to force, if necessary, the kids to do the work and to study even the "hard" subjects. The kids from countries that are running over us are strictly disciplined by their parents and teachers - it is as simple as that.

Leading by example is also a good policy to motivate our youngsters - like using proper grammar (sentence/pargraph structure, punctuation, capitalization, etc.), even on Internet forums.

_

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- Kirt Blattenberger

RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster

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mshafer

Post subject: Posted: Thu May 04, 2006 5:12 pm

Colonel

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:49 pm

Posts: 29

Location: Overland Park, Kansas

Kirt - I wouldn't mind giving my 2 cents based on 10+ years of interviewing RF Engineers (I am an MSEE and MBA). My opinion can't speak for the entire industry completely, but hopefully, my comments have a little insight in them that can pertain someone to many.

The greatest reason why engineers I know loose their marketability, in my opinion, is that most learn less annually each year that passes in their career, but their salary expectations and view of their skills continues to go up.

I don't know if it's American culture, but it seems most of us once the cash starts to roll in from our first job, we stop trying to learn at the same rate we did when we were struggling in engineering school. I too struggle to keep myself from falling into this downward spiral.

I've had to hire new grads (best and brightest) and grow them to meet my needs because interviewing most 7 to 10 year engineers showed they had even less in-depth knowledge than I could, with much coaching, grow in 18 months in a new grad.

The other thing I've noticed about undergrad programs is that schools in India really prepare their students well for careers in RF CDMA/EVDO/System Engineering. Indian schools also stress presentation and oral comm training far more than it appears other international schools do, so when their students interview, many of them score high in the technical knowledge area and ability to articulate.

I have a couple 20+ year CDMA/EVDO Engineers who are invaluable and highly compensated because they commit themselves for life to intense learning of the latest and greatest technological changes.

Just my 2 cents.....

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