Dang, I am not sure how I missed this post. I have Max to thank for reposting it on LinkedIn. I agree that 30 hours a year is woefully inadequate. A handful of good mentors that I have had in engineering have all agreed that a great engineer needs to spend 10-15% of his time dedicated towards continuing education. Work will not always pay for this. I personally spend between 5-15 hours a week in activities that I would consider continuing education. It is unstructured. I do hear and understand the argument about working on the weekends, though for me, engineering is my hobby and passion. The learning that I do may or may not be directly related to my paid work efforts. I prefer to learn about the things that I want to learn about, when I want to learn about them. The side effect is that when there was no one at work that knew how to do something, I frequently was the only person that had any experience due to my own studies at home.
@Adam: "I appreciate people worked hard and fought for the right to do as they please at weekends"
Of course!! And most os us are pleased by using the weekend to learn and play with the stuff our employers wouldn't allow to do in our job ;-)
For me, there is a huge difference between the designs I do for earning a live and those I do just for having fun -- despite the fact that most of the topics I like to play with are frequently harder than the ones I'm getting paid for!!
No, I thought weekends were to wind down and relax - life is not just about work. I realise that you probably ment this as a joke, however this attitude is now prevalent in our society. If we are not careful we will lose (lots of people already have) our weekends and companies will expect us to work 7 days a week. Decades ago people fought for the right to have 2 days of the week off.
Funnily enough I have always done the same worked for a company for a few years and then moved on. I think it makes you a better engineer as you get so see a lot of different applications and how companies work which enables you to bring in new ideas. And of course it stops you getting lazy and just attending ;)
Could not agree more with your co-worker: there is no excuse for ignorance. That said, we have to work more on Quality Assurance as the amount of information available our there is exploding and a lot of it is not of the highest quality (to put it in mild terms)
My way of continuous learning during my career was to switch to a project of totally unknown domain. This required that I study both the application as well as the required technology platform to implement the solution.
I started with Nuclear Reactor control engineering where reliability of the controls, redundancy of signals were more important than the complex logic.
The next project was in call processing for automatic call distribution systems where response time to user and handling all kind exceptions during the call routing was the key.
The digital TV project required me to learn all about the VHF/UHF/KU and S bands , the PLL tuning, the IR remote controls and how to use Teletext for creating computer like features
So like this I had to study Gas chromatography to implement real time data analysis, Engine ignition and associated CMVR for implementing micro controller based based CDI, Brush less DC motors while developing Electric motorcycle and so on.
So every application becomes a learning opportunity where you learn about the quirks of the new application and also have to get the latest technology to provide the solution.