@Navelpluis... I also learned a lot from Elektor in the old days. It was a great magazine...good projects and most had PCB layouts with them. I still have a lot of my old copies. Analog is, if anything, more important these days - unless you present a good signal to a DAC you can get some terrible results.
Just my 5 cents, but I have started electronics by building circuitry from the book (Elektor) and explore my way around it: "Would the sound improve if I solder 2 transistors in place of 1 transistor?" and more silly experiments. This was a very learning period around my 14th and 15th year of age. Now I see -with tears in my eyes- people simulating their brains out. They have no clue and just 'turn the knobs' to get to the end result they want or need. They all miss the 'exploration period' as I did in my starting years. But hey, I am basically an analog engineer, should be without a job because analog is done, it's out.... But fortunately for me the whole world is analog. Around me I see big projects fail due to the fact of lousy managers not recognizing this point. They certainly never had that exploration period in their life as most of us engineers did.
Well, I would generally use a microscope or magnifying glass. The problem with a magnifying glass is that I can't usually get it to be still enough for me to stay focused.
Sometimes the resistor or capacitor is a rare value and I just have them hang one end off a pad to save it.
I don't usually try to remove ICs unless I am not interested in saving them. My technicians can do the job and get the board back to me before I could get set up to do the work so I just get them to do it. My skills lie elsewhere, I suppose.
I have been an EE for over 13 years. I can solder, if I have to, but the technicians are trained and better and it is their job anyway. A lot of stuff requires specialized rework fixtures anyway and they aren't going to bother training engineers for all of this. But, I can sucessfully remove or install an 0402 if I absolutely have to.
Excellent analogy. Let's take it further: Even among architects who do know how to use a table saw, not all of them are skilled at fabricating the table-top scale models of their designs, or the tiny wood, plastic or glass pieces required to build that scale model.
We old-timers of the electronics business fondly remember the days of through-hole leaded components, when as a hobbyist you could design & build your own project, etch your own PCB and mount the whole thing in a plastic or aluminum box in which you had drilled holes for connectors, switches, knobs & LEDs. But now we work with tiny SMD components, multi-layer PCBs and ICs that have mind-boggling numbers of fine pitch pins (or solder bumps) and advanced packaging designs that don't lend themselves to those old-fashioned assembly techniques. We work with components that are so small, you need a microscope to inspect them on a PCB, and if you happen to accidentally drop one on the floor while sitting at your lab bench, forget about it -- you're not likely to even find it.
Sadly, I think that there are a lot of engineers that became engineers not because they loved engineering, but they were good at math and science. This is not to say that they are bad engineers, just that they do not have the experience and passion that drove others to choose engineering. For me, engineering is not just my profession, but my hobby and my passion. I go home at night and I never take off my engineer's hat, I just replace my company's hat with my own.
(Sorry if I made a spelling error, the browser spell sheck is not working. Engineers may have come up with spell check, but it was someone else that came up with the dictionary to check it against).