# Which university produces good analog EEs?

J

#### Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hello Folks,

Happens a lot these days, last time an hour ago: Someone is looking for
an analog/mixed signal engineer (this time low power design). I could do
it but they absolutely want to have someone on staff. Which I can't do.
So, I often try to convince them to settle for a youngster who gets
coached now and then, instead of sitting there a year from now still
trying to find the perfect candidate.

Which US or Canadian university lets off the best analog/mixed EEs? I
know, I know, many can't even solder etc. It ain't like it used to be.
But there has got to be an alma mater that sticks out. Or maybe a
particular institute at one. And please, no pissing contests.

M

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hello Folks,

Happens a lot these days, last time an hour ago: Someone is looking for
an analog/mixed signal engineer (this time low power design). I could do
it but they absolutely want to have someone on staff. Which I can't do.
So, I often try to convince them to settle for a youngster who gets
coached now and then, instead of sitting there a year from now still
trying to find the perfect candidate.

Which US or Canadian university lets off the best analog/mixed EEs? I
know, I know, many can't even solder etc. It ain't like it used to be.
But there has got to be an alma mater that sticks out. Or maybe a
particular institute at one. And please, no pissing contests.

A friend of mine got his BSEE from UC Davis and got his Master's from
the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, and from his Friendster
profile, it looks like he's an Analog IC Design Engineer at Intel.

Michael

J

#### Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
A friend of mine got his BSEE from UC Davis and got his Master's from
the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, and from his Friendster
profile, it looks like he's an Analog IC Design Engineer at Intel.

IC design is not such a problem. Lots of jobs but also many candidates.
Board level looks very dire. Not nearly that many jobs but the number of
candidates is almost zilch. One client of mine searched for over a year
until they found a good one. Along the road we tried out a few but they
didn't work out.

T

Jan 1, 1970
0
*Waves hand*?

Tim

J

Jan 1, 1970
0
R

#### RST Engineering $$jw$$

Jan 1, 1970
0
I work with a couple of good analog cats, but we have a saying that we are
the dinosaurs of our time...most of us over 60 and getting ready to kick
back and enjoy the dollars we put into the retirement fund, never knowing
that some day we would actually use it.

The problem is chicken and egg...back when we were going to school in the
50s and 60s, analog was all the rage. Every engineering department worth
its salt had a ham club and everyone from sophomore year on up had built
their own tube amp for the newfangled stereo gig. Stereo back in those days
was the computer geek of today...hammering together this turntable with that
tape deck, ultralinear 6146s (or 807s if you were poor) in the final and
speaker cabinets (remember Karlson enclosures??) that needed a forklift to
place properly. We all came out of there with a lot of analog and a little
tiny bit of digital.

Then the computer took over and the old analog professors were shunted aside
in favor of those who spoke binary as a native language. Analog was shunted
aside until those who were destined to become professors at that college
never knew the joy of building micropower transmitters or who learned which
end of the soldering iron got hot. If you've got no analog talent on staff,
you won't turn out any talented analog students.

that says: "Trustee for the XYZ University Amateur Radio Club" call up the
engineering department of XYZ and ask them who the faculty advisor for the
ham club is. Odds are you will get silence or "Oh, that club folded years
ago" as the answer. If you actually find a working club, talk to the
faculty advisor and ask how many students are in the club. If there are a
dozen or more, you've at least found yourself a prospective school.

My guess is that you won't find enough to count on both hands.

Jim

J

Jan 1, 1970
0
RST Engineering (jw) said:
Odds are you will get silence or "Oh, that club folded years ago" as the
answer. If you actually find a working club, talk to the faculty advisor
and ask how many students are in the club. If there are a dozen or more,
you've at least found yourself a prospective school.

That would rule out Oregon State... the typical number of people in the club
varied between 0 and 10, always dwindling as the year progressed. Part of it
might have been a lack of "advertising," though -- the first time I found
their web page and contacted one of the professors involved, the number had
been near-zero for a couple of years. We eventually started to get a little
more proactive in letting people know we existed; see, e.g.,
It's started to dwindle again though -- all the guys mentioned in that article
have since graduated. One bright spot is that one of the newer (younger)
professors that OSU recruited from Intel (yeah, a digital guy, but oh well
) has become interested and mentions the club in his beginning EE classes.

I think Oregon State turns out some decent chip designers (while I was there I
knew one guy who it was already clear was going to go far), but like most
universities they don't really have much emphasis on board-level analog design
specifically.

TekBots (http://www.tekbots.org/) have been quite popular, although they were
struggling with how to move them out of being heavy on the
microcontroller/programmable logic emphasis and into somewhat more challenging
areas, such as control systems and wireless links/communication systems (where
you're designing, e.g., the radio and the error-correction protocols yourself,
not just using someone's off-the-shelf wireless module, which is already quite
common).

---Joel

O

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
We still have a ham club at the University of Akron, most of the
members are foreign students, with a small smattering of americans,
but the analog labs are done with breadboards (sigh) not solder.

Steve Roberts

J

Jan 1, 1970
0
We still have a ham club at the University of Akron, most of the
members are foreign students, with a small smattering of americans,
but the analog labs are done with breadboards (sigh) not solder.

For lower-level lab courses solderless breadboards are fine... at some point
then one of the labs should be about, "What are the limitations of solderless
breadboards and where do you go next?" where you have students, e.g., measure
the capacitance of the breadboard slots, calculate how that'll make it
impossible to build reasonably high-speed designs, etc... and then introduce
them to "dead bug" prototyping on a ground plane.

J

#### Jim Thompson

Jan 1, 1970
0
I work with a couple of good analog cats, but we have a saying that we are
the dinosaurs of our time...most of us over 60 and getting ready to kick
back and enjoy the dollars we put into the retirement fund, never knowing
that some day we would actually use it.

The problem is chicken and egg...back when we were going to school in the
50s and 60s, analog was all the rage. Every engineering department worth
its salt had a ham club and everyone from sophomore year on up had built
their own tube amp for the newfangled stereo gig. Stereo back in those days
was the computer geek of today...hammering together this turntable with that
tape deck, ultralinear 6146s (or 807s if you were poor) in the final and
speaker cabinets (remember Karlson enclosures??) that needed a forklift to
place properly. We all came out of there with a lot of analog and a little
tiny bit of digital.

Then the computer took over and the old analog professors were shunted aside
in favor of those who spoke binary as a native language. Analog was shunted
aside until those who were destined to become professors at that college
never knew the joy of building micropower transmitters or who learned which
end of the soldering iron got hot. If you've got no analog talent on staff,
you won't turn out any talented analog students.

that says: "Trustee for the XYZ University Amateur Radio Club" call up the
engineering department of XYZ and ask them who the faculty advisor for the
ham club is. Odds are you will get silence or "Oh, that club folded years
ago" as the answer. If you actually find a working club, talk to the
faculty advisor and ask how many students are in the club. If there are a
dozen or more, you've at least found yourself a prospective school.

My guess is that you won't find enough to count on both hands.

Jim

Now-a-days, how does a kid build anything of their own? Where do they
get parts?

I remember when Radio Shack, Allied, and Lafayette were primarily part
bins ;-)

...Jim Thompson

M

#### Mark

Jan 1, 1970
0
Now-a-days, how does a kid build anything of their own? Where do they
get parts?

I remember when Radio Shack, Allied, and Lafayette were primarily part
bins ;-)

...Jim Thompson

Ebay.. it's like an infinite basement, I put all my stuff in there,
and take out what I need...

Mark

J

#### Jim Thompson

Jan 1, 1970
0
Ebay.. it's like an infinite basement, I put all my stuff in there,
and take out what I need...

Mark

My personal part bins include chips from the '60's ;-)

...Jim Thompson

R

#### RST Engineering $$jw$$

Jan 1, 1970
0
I've got a couple of trays full of the original Fairchild RTL buffers,
gates, and flops.

Jim

N

#### Nico Coesel

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jim Thompson said:
Now-a-days, how does a kid build anything of their own? Where do they
get parts?

Any which way they can! There are a lot of fora on internet which are
used by youngsters to share information and buy parts together from
companies likes Farnell, Digikey, etc. Same goes for measurement
equipment. If you buy 20+ brand new oscilloscopes at once (not
joking!), you can knock quite a bit off the price.

A

#### Al

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jim Thompson said:
Now-a-days, how does a kid build anything of their own? Where do they
get parts?

I remember when Radio Shack, Allied, and Lafayette were primarily part
bins ;-)

...Jim Thompson

Get them the same place I get them now. Take apart discarded electronics.

Al

J

#### Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
We still have a ham club at the University of Akron, most of the
members are foreign students, with a small smattering of americans,
but the analog labs are done with breadboards (sigh) not solder.

Well, since you are probably a professor there, why don't you change that?

J

#### Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
RST said:
I work with a couple of good analog cats, but we have a saying that we are
the dinosaurs of our time...most of us over 60 and getting ready to kick
back and enjoy the dollars we put into the retirement fund, never knowing
that some day we would actually use it.

Wait until one of you needs nursing facility care. Then you hear a huge
lengthy slurp and all those saving are taostissimo. Gone. I know,
because we volunteer and much of that with the elderly. Many of them go
from affluent to welfare within a few years. It's sad.

The problem is chicken and egg...back when we were going to school in the
50s and 60s, analog was all the rage. Every engineering department worth
its salt had a ham club and everyone from sophomore year on up had built
their own tube amp for the newfangled stereo gig. Stereo back in those days
was the computer geek of today...hammering together this turntable with that
tape deck, ultralinear 6146s (or 807s if you were poor) in the final and
speaker cabinets (remember Karlson enclosures??) that needed a forklift to
place properly. We all came out of there with a lot of analog and a little
tiny bit of digital.

Ah, then I must have been rich. Had two 6164. Special edition with
graphite plates no less.

Then the computer took over and the old analog professors were shunted aside
in favor of those who spoke binary as a native language. Analog was shunted
aside until those who were destined to become professors at that college
never knew the joy of building micropower transmitters or who learned which
end of the soldering iron got hot. If you've got no analog talent on staff,
you won't turn out any talented analog students.

that says: "Trustee for the XYZ University Amateur Radio Club" call up the
engineering department of XYZ and ask them who the faculty advisor for the
ham club is. Odds are you will get silence or "Oh, that club folded years
ago" as the answer. If you actually find a working club, talk to the
faculty advisor and ask how many students are in the club. If there are a
dozen or more, you've at least found yourself a prospective school.

My guess is that you won't find enough to count on both hands.

And the ones who really know the tricks are probably in emeritus
standing, meaning >>60. I've tried that route a few times :-(

J

#### Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jim said:
Now-a-days, how does a kid build anything of their own? Where do they
get parts?

I remember when Radio Shack, Allied, and Lafayette were primarily part
bins ;-)

Digikey!

Man, if we'd had a place like that in the 70's .... but, no, you took
your bicycle and 5-10 miles later arrived at the local electronics
outlet. There you had to rummage through what they had and make do with
whatever was in the bins. I remember when I did 1.5hrs roundtrip for one
BFY90 RF transistor. They didn't have any. Had to come back the week
after, another 1.5hrs. Had to fix the chain on the way there because it

J

#### Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
Al said:
Get them the same place I get them now. Take apart discarded electronics.

And it's better than ever. I mean, where on earth would we have gotten
laser diodes back then? Or even big toroid cores? Now you take an old PC
Inside is a smattering of wonderful parts.

C

#### Chris Jones

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jim said:
Now-a-days, how does a kid build anything of their own? Where do they
get parts?

Actually getting parts is now probably easier and cheaper than it has ever
been, with ebay and lots of online catalogues. People also discard things
now that as kids any of us would have been very pleased to dismantle, and
some of us still do.

Getting datasheets is also much easier for hobbyists since the internet took
off. I remember having to make long journeys to a library that had some
datasheets on microfilm, then paying quite a lot of money to have them
printed off, and the whole process of getting one datasheet could take a
day of my time, even if I was lucky and it was one of the datasheets that

Chris

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