I soldered a lot in my private life as a hobbyist and ham, but in my professional life as an engineer, it is hardly ever necessary. No-one can solder 500-odd ball BGAs manually anyway, so we have even the single quantity prototype boards produced by a professional subcontractor.
For other work, we have a technician with a microscope and other good tools to do that for the rest of the team. I used his workplace myself, occasionally. But nowadays, when we can only use lead-free solder, I let him do it. It just doesn't work (for me at least). At home, I have a sufficient supply of leaded solder wire, which should be enough, probably for the rest of my life.
@Wobbly: ...What? They aren't training Mechanical Engineers to rebuild brakes?
I would obviously prefer an auto mechanic with at least two years of experience to do a brake job on my car as opposed to a newly minted Mechanical Enginner (in the same way that if I were prototyping an electronic product I would prefer an experianced technician to do the soldering rather than a newly minted EE) ... but having said that I would like to know that the newly minted Mechanical Enginner at least knew how to use an adjustable wrench (or which end to hold) LOL
@glen: ...Then a year or two later, I got to build the matching Heathkit amplifier. That was our home audio system for about 15 years.
Nothing sounds as sweet as a system you built yourself ... and the great thing in those days was that the Heathkit gave you something that would have cost a lot more if you'd bought a commercial equivalent in a shop.
You need to go to an EET course at a state school. Someplace where they train technicians. You get the basics of electronics, not EE level. You learn to solder, you learn efficient and effective use of test and measurement equipment. If you branch into RF land, they will teach you basic antenna design and how to balance transmission lines, in practice, using stubs. If you branch into power, they will teach you phasing and PFC. The skills are being taught, but not at the EE level neccesarily. That is why you have EET, and why you have technicians.
Orthogonal to this, but related. Who would you trust with a brake job on your car? An auto mechanic with at least two years of experience? Or a newly minted Mechanical Enginner?
What? They aren't training Mechanical Engineers to rebuild brakes?
Indeed I did consider making some video clips... and I even bought a brand spanking new video camera at the time (8mm DV video) and Premiere Pro s/w specially for it but never found the time. :-( When I revisited the idea I decided to update things with another new camera (a mini DV, we'd moved on) but still never got around to it... next up is a HD camera... maybe anyway, and so life goes on!
I don't remember any class on soldering. We did have a EE lab for working on projects, and the TA probably would have taught you. As well as I remember, the only requirement was that you be in the lab doing something the appropriate number of hours. (About 30 years ago.)
I learned to solder while my dad was working on a Heathkit stereo tuner when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Then a year or two later, I got to build the matching Heathkit amplifier. That was our home audio system for about 15 years.
I remember reading a Bob Pease column about when he sat in a design review in which a young "college boy" proudly showed a new circuit which worked perfectly in a SPICE simulation. RAP pointed out that it was impossible to build in reality since it depended on exact match of two transistors, something that won't happen in the real world where you have process and temperature variation across the chip. SPICE only models the subset of the Real World that you ask it to.
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