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Beginning Engineers Checklist

  1. NEVER loan out your copies of:

  2. Practice ITERATIVE design:
  3. Always quote at least twice the time you think it will actually take to do the job (if it's good enough for Scotty...) 90% of the code gets written in the first 10% of the time, the remaining 10% of the code will require more than the remaining 90% of the time.
  4. Always have someone (or a group of) real pro(s) to fall back on for advice when you get stuck. But, never rely on someone else's circuit design to work as drawn or code to run as written.
  5. Troubleshooting is hard. Problem solving is harder.
  6. Always document everything you do (why did you always see engineers and scientists with a log book?) and be ready to extract a complete history of actions at a moments notice. I don't care how sharp you are, at some point, while trying to solve a complex problem, you will realize that you don't remember exactly what you already tried... which means that you are duplicating effort, running in circles, and doomed...
  7. Amateurs can get one of the following three, professionals can get two of the following three... If you can get three, please contact us.
  8. Don't rely on simulators: "Simulations are doomed to succeed." Reversed biased Transisters are a good example.
  9. Ohms law: Know it, look for it, use it. Very simple but often missed. Applies to all professions, not just electronics.


  10. Business WILL always be part of engineering. Get over it.


  11. K.I.S.S. The ideal design has zero parts. "An engineer is someone who can build for a dollar what a fool can build for twenty" - Robert A. Hienlein


  12. Hardware and Software (firmware) need to work together
  13. "Thou shalt not design thy PCB before thou hast the components in thine hands."

From Elon Musk:

  1. Make your requirements less dumb. Your requirements ARE dumb, no matter who they came from; make them less dumb.
  2. Try very hard to delete the requirement and all the things needed to meet it entirely. Delete things until you need to add things back in. If you can delete it totally, your requirement was stupid.
  3. Simplify to optimize function, if you are sure you can't delete it.
  4. Go faster. If you really have to do it, and it's as simple as it can be, do it as fast as possible.
  5. Automate it away so you don't have to do it anymore.

See also:




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