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Dennis Feucht

The Engineering Desk-to-Bench Ratio

Dennis Feucht
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D Feucht
D Feucht
12/5/2014 6:49:04 PM
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Re: Natural Transition
tzubair:

"... more than anything else you need to have a solid technical know-how."


I would add that a leader with outstanding technical capabilities yet with some less-refined social aspects can still be admired and followed by those who respect technical expertise. It is the person who is lacking in both technical and social skills that can be (to put it in German) ungenugent - deficient for the role.

Richard Feynman made some comments about this once. He said that a person who is arrogant and also a master of what he is saying can be tolerated. But a person who is both arrogant and faking it, Feynman said, "that I cannot stand!" I agree with Feynman on this point.

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tzubair
tzubair
11/29/2014 3:56:00 PM
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Re: Natural Transition
"The most productive engineering group is one led by the most technically capable person. This seems like a truism, yet is often not the case in practice."

@D Feucht: I don't think this can be challenged. I certainly think that it does require a solid technical background to lead an engineering team. You do need other soft skills like leadership team management etc on top of it, but more than anything else you need to have a solid technical know-how.

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D Feucht
D Feucht
11/26/2014 2:56:22 PM
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Re: Natural Transition
tzubair:

I used  the word "desk" as a metaphor of theoretical electronics understanding or activity. As you noted, desk jobs, however, often do not depend on such ability and involve no bench work at all. They lie outside the metaphor yet are not uncommon.

To the extent that technical leadership lacks technical understanding, projects associated with them are likely to fail. The most productive engineering group is one led by the most technically capable person. This seems like a truism, yet is often not the case in practice.

 

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tzubair
tzubair
11/26/2014 1:29:53 PM
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Master
Natural Transition
@Dennis: Isn't it normal for people to progress in their careers from bench to desks? Most people heading engineering companies these days are doing the desk roles but almost all of them have solid hands on experience working on the benches and only with time they managed to move up and got itno desk jobs.

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tzubair
tzubair
11/26/2014 12:36:40 PM
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Master
Re: Modified Formula
"That's also the reason that it is tough to land a job right out of school doing IC design.  One really needs that <<1 ratio at the beginning of a career.  I know it sure helped me."

@Scott: That's exactly the advice I give out to fresh graduates these days that they need to get their hands dirty rather than look for the comfort behind the desks. Unfortunately, the culture these days encourage jobs which are more stable and don't require a lot of hands-on tasks. 

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tzubair
tzubair
11/26/2014 12:31:09 PM
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Master
Re: Scott & GS
"One of the reasons many of us became engineers instead of politicians is that we prefer to work with the most reliable"

@D Feucht: I think that's certainly a trait common in engineers that they want to work with concrete ideas and proven facts rather than abstract debates (which politicians are somewhat good at). I think most people who end up becoming engineers and are succesful in their careers have had such traits since very early in their lives.

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Myanalog
Myanalog
11/20/2014 4:10:22 AM
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Re: Scott & GS
"That is a very nice way to say you cannot fool nature. It's is this reliability that makes it possible to discover the laws of nature during a persons life time."

Aklompe, that's true. Nobody can fool nature and it has its own rhythm. 

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D Feucht
D Feucht
11/18/2014 11:16:59 PM
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Re: Scott & GS
"... we never seem to be able to solve big problems in the world around us, simple because no one gets to the expert level required to do so."

I don't think it is a lack of expertise that keeps social problems from being solved but rather a faulty exercise of the will by too many of us, starting with those at the top of the social order.

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aklompe
aklompe
11/18/2014 6:39:16 AM
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Teacher
Re: Scott & GS
"One of the reasons many of us became engineers instead of politicians is that we prefer to work with the most reliable Administrator of the universe versus those on the other end of that spectrum."

 

That is a very nice way to say you cannot fool nature. It's is this reliability that makes it possible to discover the laws of nature during a persons life time. Human nature lacks this reliability, maybe that's why we never seem to be able to solve big problems in the world around us, simple because no one gets to the expert level required to do so.

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Myanalog
Myanalog
11/18/2014 1:59:45 AM
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Desk to Bench Ratio
"In companies I have been to, engineers usually are given both a desk and a workbench. The desk is where plan design and non-technical overhead is performed. It is the realm of, and symbolizes, theoretical activity. The bench is where prototypes are built and made to work -- the symbol of experimental or practical activity. The bench has measurement equipment, circuit construction tools, and parts inventory is not far away."

Dennis, in some of the companies employees are rotating between desk and work bench. Now a day's managers are good enough to utilize the employees working times. So for off project time they use to make use employees skills for bench projects (off shelf projects). 

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