Earlier this year, the Boston Section of IEEE ran a soldering course for engineers. I didn't take it, having been soldering since I was a teenager. I've got a scar on my left arm from a wave solder machine, when I was 17 working in a PCB factory.
@kfield: we were thinking about having a soldering class on the expo show floor at DESIGN West, but I think our lawyers' heads almost exploded at the thought.
I wouldn't rule it out. Remember that Sparkfun already give training courses in basic soldering -- they might be interested in giving on-the-floor training (you could always get the attendees to sign non-liability forms in the case of death or dismemberment :-)
And the lawyers' heads exploding would be an added bonus :-)
@betajet: ... AKA "shop" class [...] Or they could take Home Economics. My junior high school let you choose.
I think both should be mandatory -- when I was at high school we took a woodwork class and a metalwork ("shop") class ... I don;t recall there being a choice -- everyone did them ... I don't think they offered home economics, but I wish they had...
@Bert22306: The practical reality is, EE taught in a university needs to be what the layman out there thinks is physics. Physics taught in university is what the average guy in the street would condider to be pure math. And math taught in universities is essentially conceptually incomprehensible to the layman.
LOL ... but I think I will have to disagree with you on the rest. I think EE students shoudl have hands-on experiance building at least one simple analog circuit out of discrete components (transistors, resistors, and capacitors) and at least one digital circuit involving a couple of simple through-hole ICs -- and that this should involved them doing the soldering and then using multimeters and oscilloscopes and logic analysers to debig and analyse (characterize) their projects.
I think this would (a) give them a sense of "I built that!" satisfaction, (b) show them that it's harder than it looks, and (c) might even spark some of them to say to themselves "Hey, I really like building things like this"
I'm with you on what the kids are learning now days. We took on an intern to do some E-work before going into his senior year this summer. Soldering skills were definitely on the list of capaibilities. Although I have to admit he has come a long way over the summer(must be that curmudgeon he's been working with). But he is getting better, not as many fried joints. He actually did a deadbug op-amp this week, so at least going into his senior year he'll have something on his fellow students. One other thing that seems to be missing, Analog! Let's just say it's a good thing I still have my Mimms books handy for him to peruse. :-/
I totally agree, Bert. In fact, I think the engineering I do (DSP algorithms for radio) would be perceived as maths by the layman, not even physics. But although I spend my time writing C++ and Matlab, I am in no way a software engineer: the product of my labours is definately hardware and that fact drives everything I do.
Actually, I can solder (to a degree). That is because I learnt it as a hobbyist and have done other things in my career apart from radio algorithms. However, some of my colleages are much more specialist, having done doctorates in a similar area before pursuing a specialist career. I suspect some of them won't be able to solder, but so what?