Diary of a Trainee Electronics Engineer: January 2016Follow article
Me running a soldering workshop back at OSHCamp 2014.
Introduction, 3D modelling and more microprocessors!
This is the first in a regular series of posts which will hopefully provide some insights into the challenges, experiences and highlights of a trainee electronics engineer. Each month I plan to look at progress made, new topics encountered in work and in my studies, new experiences and events attended, and of coarse any cool projects that I've worked on!
From the Beginning...
In 2013 I spent some time doing work experience, building small projects that involved using Arduino, learning how to solder and then blogging about these to share my experiences with others. During this time I developed a basic understanding of electronics, my interest grew and I became serious about pursuing electronic engineering as a career. I did three post over the space of two months, before I had the opportunity to join the company on a part time basis.
The thing which really drew me into electronics is the fact that it's in everything – well, almost everything. Not only this, but how tiny circuits are becoming. I find it really inspirational to look at how electronics are changing the world we live in and how it is not only changing, but is also improving peoples lives.
Not long after starting work part time I began a course at a local college, which would give me the necessary qualifications in order to progress into higher education. I began this HNC engineering bridging course in the academic year 2014-2015 and since this was only part time it meant that I was still able to continue working. The course consisted of three units: mathematics, further mathematics and mechanical principles. These ensured that I would gain the mathematics skills required to study the HNC qualification.
And then there was Academia
As I achieved good grades in this bridging course I was able to move directly onto the HND qualification without having to study the HNC first. I'm currently in my first year of a HND in electrical and electronic engineering, although this is a full time qualification this only involves two days of lectures, so fortunately I am still able to continue my career in industry as well as academically. In the first year of the HND there are eight subjects covered which I am currently studying towards:
- Combinational and Sequential Logic
- Utilisation of Electrical Energy
- Engineering Design
- Analytical Methods
- Microprocessor Systems
- Advanced CAD
- Engineering Science
- Electrical Power
If I take a look back over what I have learned since I first began work experience in 2013, I’ve learned so much! I’ve had the chance to work with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, and I’ve had the chance to attend lectures and events. The amount of knowledge I've gained has been invaluable.
I wrote a summary of my 2015 highlights which included my favourite blog posts and events attended. If you would like to read more about what I learned last year then this can be found here.
What’s January brought?
Aside from some snow, January has been a very productive month! I think it's safe to say that for the majority of the population January tends to be quite a lethargic month, however, its been quite the opposite for for myself. I have had a fair few assignment deadlines which I’ve had to ensure assessments are submitted for, as well as starting some new projects.
I got quite excited early in the month when I received my first professional tool set, which includes long nose pliers, tweezers and side cutters, amongst other tools.
In the unit Engineering Science we have moved on to the mechanical mechanical module and I’m really enjoying being introduced to something new.
This month we began 3D modelling in the Autodesk Inventor software. This was the first time I had used a 3D design tool, having had used Autodesk and Inkscape for 2D design in the past. For example, as detailed in my blog post - design for laser cutting. I look forward for using the CAD skills gained in my studies to try out DesignSpark Mechanical in future projects.
I also worked on perfboard for the first time in what seems like it must be years, for the subject, Microprocessor Systems. Here I had to build a circuit with a PIC microcontoller which next month we will test and start programming.
It has been a very productive start to the year and I look forward to what February has install!