Tips on a technological career

dnlcnwy

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi. L notice that most of the education information here is theological in nature. That is great, but most of us need secular vocational information as well so I thought I would post a few thoughts on current trends on electronic and computer engineering careers. The first general trend I would note is that much of the innovative requirements for software engineering have been supplanted by the formation of vast repositories of free existing art that a developer can draw upon for his or her solution. This development began in the 90's and was enabled by high speed internet and cheap mass storage. What happened is that developers started uploading their solutions to their latest assignment to public repositories for use and improvement by other developers. This greatly augmented software reuse and also resulted in superior product, as multiple developers reviewed and improved the solution. The most prominent example of a successful project that employed this approach is the linux operating system. The upside of this development is superior software. The downside is that much of the fun has gone out of developing. The first thing a developer does now after he or she has bounded the problem is to try to find someone else's solution now rather than jump right in to the process of development, which to the old school developer is where the fun is. Put succinctly, software development now is less like tinkering and more like accounting.
I can't speak much to analog electronic engineering, that's not my forte. I can say that silicon based solutions to digital engineering have just about reached their zenith. It might be possible to continue to make the transistors smaller, but they can't clock them any faster due to heat issues. Outsiders are worried that the American chip fabs are falling behind their oversees competitors because they are not putting any more research into silicon based innovation. This is probably not the case. What I believe the American fabs have concluded is that the industry has reached the point of diminishing returns on this technology and that they nee to invest in a new approach to continue to improve upon their product. This is where it gets exciting. Many of you are aware that it is now possible to make diamonds in the lab using chemical vapor deposition techniques. What you may not now is these diamonds have a nearly perfect crystal structure and as such can be used as semiconductors. This is a VERY active area of research in industry and academia. The scientists are encountering some problems with doping the diamond crystal, diamond is a harder crystal than silicon and tends to fragment under direct bombardment of dopants rather than just absord them, but good science thrives on a challenge, and once this problem is solved a whole new vista of technologies will open up.
Diamond is a tough crystal. It can tolerate heats much greater than silicon and can thus be clocked at theoretical speeds of near 100 Ghz. It also conducts electricity better and than silicon once it has been doped. It can sustain greater voltage differences across it pn junction (don't worry if you don't know what that means), which means it can be used in high power applications. Once this technology is exploited It will require new research into printed circuit board technology, solder technology, and wave guide technology. What it will enable will be some of the holy grails of the tech world, real time voice processing, robots that are smart enough to relieve us of most of our menial labor, and maybe artificial intelligence. We will no longer be playing a the margins of our capabilities, we will be opening up whole new rooms. Boys and girls, engineering will be fun again. About the only technology that I am aware of that his similar potential is high temperature superconductors, which I know less about but to my knowledge appears to be a technology much more in the theoretical stage.
What is the upshot of all this? There will be lots of careers that people can really enjoy coming out of this. If you are in your early teens the time to start watching this and asking potential schools about it is now. I do not mean to imply that silicon will be completely supplanted by diamond. Just look around, there are lots of neat things that silicon can do. If you are of the type that prefers a known, stable workaday career then silicon based tech might be your bag. But if new and cutting edge is what you like, then consider yourself informed of what is coming next.
 
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dnlcnwy

Puritan Board Freshman
admin. Does this belong in the computers and technology forum? Can I cross post?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I believe diamond technology is definitely future as well as it has been been on the grid for sometime now. Engineering is a good field to pursue no matter what area of engineering you desire to focus on. At the same time this is not necessarily a good field for a head Pastor to pursue. A Layman or and Elder is fine because because the fields change so fast and a constant need to study and stay updated is important if you are going to pursue engineering.

A Pastor is in a fight just to stay up with the needs and guidance of a local congregation. A Pastor has so much to study concerning Authority and who he is responsible to and for. I speak as a person who delved into Electronic Engineering for a degree. Doctrine is important and it is hard. It is a life long pursuit. That is why I do not think it is good for a Pastor to necessarily pursue Engineering as a long sited endeavor. There are other degrees and vocations that are better suited for a Teaching Elder in my estimation.

I am not against a person pursuing the elementary level of Engineering and then going into Theological Studies. It would be very beneficial. An elemental education in various areas is important now days for everyone. Especially since they are no longer taught with any real substance in the the Schools up through High School. A solid Sophomore High School education in the early 70's would earn someone a College degree now days in my opinion. A degree in the Liberal Arts is a good one since there is a wide field of study involved in the degree. It just doesn't involve the scientific engineering education.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
but they can't clock them any faster due to heat issues
There are potential solutions for that for creative types to explore. And if your device is going to spend most if its time sitting on your desk, thinnest/lightest becomes a marketing ploy, not a meeting of the need. Thicker and heavier makes other solutions possible, even if it's clocked up. I was surprised at how much slower the clock speed was on my new laptop than on my 9 year old desktop. Maybe if they made the case twice as thick, added some weight, and put in some better cooling.....
 

dnlcnwy

Puritan Board Freshman
Tricks for getting more speed out of silicon based solutions are only going to add marginally their performance. If some exotic solution got more than a 10% improvement out the technology I would be impressed. Diamond film offers the potential for an an order of magnitude (base 10) improvement and would not require exotic cooling techniques like heat pipes or water cooling.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
There are potential solutions for that for creative types to explore. And if your device is going to spend most if its time sitting on your desk, thinnest/lightest becomes a marketing ploy, not a meeting of the need. Thicker and heavier makes other solutions possible, even if it's clocked up. I was surprised at how much slower the clock speed was on my new laptop than on my 9 year old desktop. Maybe if they made the case twice as thick, added some weight, and put in some better cooling.....
Yes. Your larger computers, including desktops are essentially miniature distributed systems with even more multicore/multiprocessors. That is why volume is never going to go away. The speed of light is increasingly a bottleneck.
 

dnlcnwy

Puritan Board Freshman
Distributed computing buys you a lot if your coding techniques are clever enough to exploit it, but you run into mean rate of failure issues with multiple cores, and there is no escaping amdhal's law.
 
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