Re: Jack Ganssle's article on the significance of the products we design (“Plllttghharhgg”), I had little doubt in my mind when I moved from primary school teaching to become an embedded systems engineer. I was leaving a worthy profession that was draining me with its increased bureaucracy to become a mercenary.
I still feel the same way and long to work on a product that makes a real difference. Regrettably the most altruistic products are for the wealthy and fall far short of clean water or a caring ear that the vast majority need. My verdict on the Simputer is still pending.
How long can I remain an engineer before the need to do something of value drives me back into the classroom. Don't misunderstand me: I love creating elegant solutions, and my days are recreation in themselves!
Can any one offer me a really worthwhile engineering job?
Embedded Systems Engineer
While engineering is enjoyable in itself, I think Mr Litton is guilt tripping himself too much. I have had many opportunities to teach others, either in formal settings such as conferences and seminars, or informally, at the office or on the factory floor. I've taught secretaries how to use Microsoft Excel, and a foreman how to program a multi-turret punch press. I've done seminars on esoteric topics, and been grilled by a bunch of Service Technicians.
I've had several opportunities to do new research, usually limited only by my initiative.
A motivated engineer has as much freedom to do research, and as many chances to teach as any college professor. And the work he does is more relevant, and more useful than a large percentage of what comes from ivory towers.Don't be so hard on yourself Robert, just because it's fun doesn't mean it's bad for you!