Hi Adam: Thanks for the great list of resources, one may never leave their arm chair--though I hope that isn't the case. Thanks for the big shoutout on DESIGN West - our call for speaking proposals is open and the deadline is Oct 11, 2013. Details here.
I'm totally committed to the idea of continuous learning, in any engineering field. In fact, I'd say that 30 hours per year is woefully inadequate, although "punishment enough" if it has to be structured. Perhaps 30 hours per month is more like it, unstructured?
Different people learn in different ways. Some must have the structured environment to motivate themselves, others less so. A lot probably also depends on the job. The less routine the job, the more learning has to be part of the process. So it becomes automatic and enjoyable. Internet discussion groups help too, forcing people to learn new things just to keep up.
My co-worker once said, "There's no excuse for that kind of ignorance in the Internet era." Couldn't agree more. There are loads of ways of learning new things now, which require only small investments in non-productive time.
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.
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)
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 ;)
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.
Blog That A-Ha Moment Larry Desjardin 10 comments Have you ever had an a-ha moment? Sure, you have. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or ...