Thanks for your feedback. It's always interesting to hear the way other folks think about things ... I would like to know if others who shared your non-mentoring experience also share your ensuing neutral opinion of mentoring...
Well, in the early days of my 45 year engineering career, I had NO ONE to "mentor" me. At my first company, after a brief acquaintance period, I was given a project. The company was not a "small" company, with over 300 employees. The task was to design a 1 KW power (tube type) amplifier for a new product line being introduced. I had no assistance, except for the cooperation of the personnel in the mechanical engineering dept. and the drafting dept. All I had was my previous experience & 4 years worth of college level textbooks & a KEUFFEL & ESSER sliderule. In the intervening years, I've been responsible for the design of many sophisticated products in several fields. Some products are still being marketed fully 20+ years after first being introduced by my employer. I have a very neutral opinion of mentoring as a result
ASIC/FPGA manufacturers give lot of information in their appplication notes. Readingn them and using the starter,trainer and advanced boards will give a light on these devices. The real thing is to give a right solution for the application specified by the employers. This calls for updating themselves in these specific application areas and think creatively. Success comes for all those who does the same thing in a different easy to usable way.
Recently there was an article related to the topic (http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-blogs/pop-blog/4217625/What-happens-when-you-re-gone-). I recently retired from a large aerospace company, probably typical of most large companies these days. This company is hell bent on ridding the company of any old guys, as management theory states that only new grads have knowledge of the "latest technology". As anyone who's practiced engineering for any significant time knows, there's a wide gap between the theory of engineering and the practice of engineering (just as there is a gap between the theory of management or law or medicine and the practice of management or law or medicine). Maybe the gap is even wider in the aerospace industry as much of the practice really is gained on-the-job, under the mentorship of one who has gone before (certainly my path through design in an aerospace company was eased by my mentors). Over the last few years any semblance of mentoring or new employee skill development has been trimmed to increase the current quarter's financials. There once was a great mentoring and training program in place. The more senior, experienced engineers who comprise the pool of possible mentors, are encouraged to retire or just move along to other companies if not close enough to retirement age. And yes, this company bemoans the fact that they can't find enough qualified engineers.
With few exceptions, I haven't seen a "know it all" attitude among young engineers for a long time. The rare exceptions were in the pre-recession good old days, and were usually those whose only interest was in climbing the management ladder and doing as little engineering as possible.
You know the type -- the guy who is eager to learn "how long do you have to work here before you get to be a vice president?" Those guys were few and far between, and didn't tend to last very long :)
I was partnered with really smart test engineers as an "engineering aide" -- glorified technician -- working myself up to logistics engineer while going to night school to get my degree. For most projects these experts were contract personnel hired for projects who needed help and the aides needed the benefit of the contractors' experience. It was a win-win situation because it was part of the company's fabric to match our need for experience with our mentor's need to finish the project in time. I would suggest to the young engineer to hook up with an experienced FPGA designer to help them work thru a real design challenge. That's how one learns the discipline well.
I wrote to my local Almamatre and volonteered to Mentor young engineers. I never got a reply.
I joined Mentor.Net, but I am now 0 for 2 in getting soomeone who wants to be mentored.
I will keep trying to find local students who would like to learn science and engineering, but the best luck I have so far is after I joined Element14. I have helped a number of young and old people who have questions and appreciate the perspectives of an engineer who has survived 30+ years of making things work.
PS, My old college can kiss any Alumni donations goodbye.
Senior Engineers should be rated 50% on how well they do their own work and 50% on how well they mentor and help others. This should balance and help the problems just described. Otherwise the company is encouraging "every man for himself".
And if the company doesn't encourage mentoring and helping others by including it in employee ratings, then all it's talk about "teamwork" is just a bunch of B.S.
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