On becoming an Electrical Engineer?

Renaissance Man doug at sun1paztcn.wr.usgs.gov
Fri Jan 12 20:18:22 CET 1996


After getting bitten with the music bug and then getting into modifying
amps, building simple midi gear, etc, I decided that it was time to become
an engineer and design this stuff myself.  So, I started down that long path
through the University system...

Well, I decided a long time ago that I know more than "them" ;-) and I decided
to forge out on my own.  I am still in the degree program, but that isn't
getting me anywhere very fast, since I am only in school part time, and I have
to get through Physics, Chemistry and even English still...  I also have a
wife, two kids, house, minivan (EEEK!), full time job, etc.  Free time?  What
free time?)

So, has anyone else been in my situation?  What is the best way to become
proficient in synth design and digital audio?  What materials are important?
Should I just get a complete copy of Electronotes and start reading?  Where
do I learn about PC board design?  I also have to admit a lack of math in
my background, and when I went to the local University bookstore to look
around, there were so many titles, I think I left there cross-eyed!  What
math is REALLY necessary to be a good designer? 

QUICK MATH PLUG:  I found a very useful set of books and computer programs
called Calculus & Mathematica.  It is a self contained calculus course
that was designed at the University of Illinois (UIUC) and Ohio State.  It
uses Mathematica to provide an interactive learning environment.  I think
it's great.  The cost of Calculus & Mathematica AND the student edition
of Mathematica was still less than the cost of one semester of math at
the local university!  (Another quick plug - if it weren't for the local
Borders bookstore, I would have never even known C&M existed!)

I've tried talking to the undergrad advisors here, but well, they don't
know much of the technical side of things...  I have learned more by just
hanging out in the bookstore looking at books.  Unfortunately, I'm not
THAT rich, so I can't just buy all the books, and our local library at
The University of Arizona is one of the worst University libraries I've
ever been in, so I can't just go check them out...  :(  (On the positive
side though, the ASUA bookstore *almost* makes up for it...)  What are the
best books to start with?  What are the "bibles" of synthesis and analog
and digital audio?

I'm also interested in computer programs as well...  I have a list of
software that looks pretty good: PSpice, Probe, PADS, Electronic Workbench,
Ptolemy...  Any suggestions where to start?

Is there one source (a book or FAQ maybe?) that traces some of the steps
that a person would go through to really know this stuff?

If I get some decent replies about this, I'll be glad to organize them all
into a FAQ...


Doug Wellington
doug at sun1paztcn.wr.usgs.gov
System and Network Administrator
US Geological Survey
Tucson, AZ Project Office
(602) 670-6821 x26

According to proposed Federal guidelines, this message is a "non-record".
Hmm, I wonder if _everything_ I say is a "non-record"...

The hardest thing in the world is to truly think for oneself.

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