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Richard Erlacher
10/04/12 10:00
Read: 613 times
Denver, Co

#188574 - I've interviewed a few ...
Responding to: Erik Malund's previous message
I was very disappointed last time I attempted to select people to replace engineering staff I'd removed. Out of a half dozen candidates, none could pass a simple screening process requiring little more than the ability to read and write. Not just knowing how, of course, but demonstrating the ability to do it successfully.

Engineering, after all, isn't restricted to making sparks and solder-splats in the lab, but mostly to reading, interpreting, and generating detailed specifications, and documenting observations made empirically.

I had these people read a magazine article, then asked them to write a short summary. I then took them to the test bench, and demonstrated a relatively simple procedure. I then asked them to write a short summary of what they'd seen. (a) If they'd been able to read and comprehend the magazine article, they'd not only have been able to write a summary, but, (b) they'd have immediately recognized that the lab procedure was precisely what was described in the trade magazine article. I did (b) in order to determine whether they were unable to write but were, in fact, able to read and comprehend.

Two of those applicants had master's degrees in electrical engineering.

Two of them (not the same two) didn't know the difference between a PLL and a synthesizer. None of them could discuss PLL characteristics such as capture range, acquisition time, tracking range, and settling time, let alone how to manage them. Those things can be learned by reading, however. If one can't read and can't comprehend what's been written, how can they have obtained a degree, let alone an MS. It's worth noting that these degrees were not from diploma mills like U of Phoenix or ITT, or whatever, but from respected institutions.

I have never considered lack a degree to be a disqualification. Back in the '70's, many bright young people left the university to pursue work that they understood, at which they excelled, and which they loved, in order to earn some money, of which they got plenty if they were good. I don't believe I've ever encountered degreed engineers any better than the brightest of those without degrees with whom I've worked along the way. The ability to write communicatively and to read with comprehension seems to be deteriorating. Perhaps that's why there's so much reduction in quality of manufactured goods.


List of 26 messages in thread
someone finally got it      Erik Malund      10/03/12 08:18      
   degrees      Mahmood Elnasser      10/03/12 10:33      
      what caught my attention was ....      Erik Malund      10/03/12 10:58      
         err, uh, well ...      Joseph Hebert      10/03/12 11:31      
            I have interviewed BS, MS recent grads ....      Erik Malund      10/03/12 13:27      
               ITT Tech & DeVry      Joseph Hebert      10/03/12 23:20      
                  BS to PhD      Mahmood Elnasser      10/04/12 02:11      
                     That's SO true       Richard Erlacher      10/04/12 10:19      
                  I'm not sure it's the institution rather than the graduate      Richard Erlacher      10/04/12 10:09      
                     I thins this is it      Erik Malund      10/04/12 10:35      
                        Been There, Done That      Neil Kurzman      10/05/12 10:23      
               I've interviewed a few ...       Richard Erlacher      10/04/12 10:00      
                  I remember      Erik Malund      10/04/12 10:09      
                     This is a common situation, and one that's not always good      Richard Erlacher      10/04/12 10:34      
                        this is odd      Erik Malund      10/04/12 10:39      
                           I'm not so sure it's "odd" at all.      Richard Erlacher      10/05/12 13:03      
                              freelancers      Mahmood Elnasser      10/05/12 14:21      
                                 Not really ...      Richard Erlacher      10/05/12 16:57      
                                    Its been interesting in England recently      Jez Smith      10/06/12 13:21      
                                       The problem with supply and Demand      Neil Kurzman      10/06/12 19:16      
                                          In this country      Jez Smith      10/06/12 23:56      
                                             earning living      Mahmood Elnasser      10/07/12 07:18      
                                             earning living      Mahmood Elnasser      10/07/12 07:18      
                                                the REAL problem is ...       Richard Erlacher      10/08/12 21:41      
                                       you work for ...      Andy Peters      10/10/12 17:59      
                                          Its interesting       Jez Smith      10/10/12 23:32      

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