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'[OT] was EE Where have all the technicians (and jo'
2009\04\04@121303 by Bob Blick

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Changed topic tag.

Hi Joe,

When there is a high demand for technicians, companies have to advertise
and pay higher wages. Right now it's the opposite, and the companies
that advertise are the ones who are still having trouble finding
technicians - mostly because they aren't willing to pay very much.

There are still jobs out there, but they aren't advertised. Right now
your number one job search method needs to be social. You need to get
the word out, and you need to meet people. Networking and promoting
yourself is how you are going to find a good job.

When I think about all the jobs I have had and how I got them, the best
ones were always word of mouth through social and professional contacts.
Work that angle. It will take time.

You say you're in Utah, it's not ideal but it could be worse. Utah has a
relatively good economy and there is high tech.

Best regards,

Bob


Joseph Bento wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\04\04@125043 by Harold Hallikainen

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This is an interesting topic. I teach electronics technology at night and
do design during the day. Enrolments in the electronics technology program
at the community college where I teach are way down. A large part of that
is the local state university dropped its engineering technology degree
program. A lot of our classes could be transferred into that program.

A traditional job for electronic technicians was product repair. In the
1950s and 1960s, there were a lot of TV and radio repair shops. Now,
however, reliability of these products is high and automated assembly has
reduced manufacturing costs to below the cost to repair. Besides the
repair shops disappearing, the local parts suppliers for them are also
disappearing.

So, what electronic technician jobs remain? I think they are:

1. Manufacturer production tech - product bring up, test, troubleshoot,
repair. A fair amount of this may be automated. Depending on cost and
production yield, repair may not be attempted. Instead, the product may be
scrapped.

2. Manufacturer engineering tech - assist engineers in bringing up a new
product.

3. Industrial installation/maintenance tech - I see these as techs working
for companies that produce a product or service, but do not manufacture an
electronic product, but use one extensively. These include people working
for telephone companies, cable television companies, cellular telephone
companies, broadcast companies, industries that use robotics, PLCs, etc.

4. Field service tech - These techs serve both industrial and consumer
customers for products that are too large to ship back for repair, are too
expensive to discard, or require skilled installation.


Many of my students were already working and getting further training.
Several worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, maintaining the
FAA communications and navigation equipment. Another worked for a national
cellular company maintaining cell sites. Another went on to be an
applications engineer at Monolithic Memories, Inc. (I wonder where he is
now). Some went on to be production techs for manufacturers.

In the 1980s, I had 30 students in my classes. In my most recent class
(analog circuits, transistors, FETs, op amps, etc.), I had three students.

Harold


--
FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com - Advertising
opportunities available!

2009\04\04@202731 by Jinx

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> Enrolments in the electronics technology program at the community
> college where I teach are way down

I tried to give away some surplus last week and found that three of the
big secondary schools in this part of Auckland aren't doing electronics
courses this year. Didn't get past reception, who couldn't tell me why.
So I'm left wondering whether it's budgetary or lack of interest. Might
dig into it this week to satisfy my own curiosity

2009\04\04@213424 by Michael Algernon

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Are you talking about ages 15 through 18 ?
MA
On Apr 5, 2009, at 6:27 AM, Jinx wrote:
>
>> Enrolments in the electronics technology program at the community
>> college where I teach are way down
>
> I tried to give away some surplus last week and found that three of  
> the
> big secondary schools in this part of Auckland aren't doing  
> electronics
> courses this year. Didn't get past reception, who couldn't tell me  
> why.
> So I'm left wondering whether it's budgetary or lack of interest.  
> Might
> dig into it this week to satisfy my own curiosity

2009\04\05@012541 by Jinx

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> Are you talking about ages 15 through 18 ?

>> big secondary schools in this part of Auckland aren't doing
>> electronics

Around that. 5th, 6th, 7th Form as I knew it, think it's called something
like Year 11 to Year 13 now. Quite surprised. AFAIK it's still in the
NCEA curriculum as an optional subject. IT course still active though.
I'd have thought maybe micros would be touched on, if not electronics
in general. But as pointed out, servicing is not the job it once was, what
with throwaway items and board replacement. Even those still in media
appliance repairs need digital skills and diagnostic equipment nowadays,
especially for the big ticket items

2009\04\05@025947 by Richard Prosser

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2009/4/6 Jinx <spam_OUTjoecolquittTakeThisOuTspamclear.net.nz>:
>> Are you talking about ages 15 through 18 ?
>
>>> big secondary schools in this part of Auckland aren't doing
>>> electronics
>
> Around that. 5th, 6th, 7th Form as I knew it, think it's called something
> like Year 11 to Year 13 now. Quite surprised. AFAIK it's still in the
> NCEA curriculum as an optional subject. IT course still active though.
> I'd have thought maybe micros would be touched on, if not electronics
> in general. But as pointed out, servicing is not the job it once was, what
> with throwaway items and board replacement. Even those still in media
> appliance repairs need digital skills and diagnostic equipment nowadays,
> especially for the big ticket items
> --

And yet the problems are pretty much the same that they have always
been. Faulty electrolytics, dry joits, excessive dust-= overheating, I
pick up a fair bit of small electronics very cheaply because it's
faulty and can generally fix them.

RP

2009\04\05@045059 by Jinx

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> I pick up a fair bit of small electronics very cheaply because it's
> faulty and can generally fix them.

Yeah, gonna miss the inorganic collections in Waitakere. The throwouts
that have needed only a few minutes of simple repair

2009\04\05@135739 by Sean Breheny

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I wonder if, in some areas, the push for recycling and environmental
protection might spur some repair which would otherwise be
un-economical. In other words, once the cost of disposal is taken into
account, I think some amount of repair becomes worth doing once again.

Sean

On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 2:59 AM, Richard Prosser <.....rhprosserKILLspamspam@spam@gmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2009\04\05@181700 by Jinx

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>I wonder if, in some areas, the push for recycling and environmental
> protection might spur some repair which would otherwise be
> un-economical. In other words, once the cost of disposal is taken
> into account, I think some amount of repair becomes worth doing
> once again

Sean, for some items, like stoves and fridges, repair and re-conditioning
is more likely for both recycling, by those with an aversion to out and out
unnecessary waste, and charitable causes. Offering serviceable appliances
to those who can't afford new. Municipal tips have areas put aside for
appliances like that, and things that work even if they are busted up a bit
and just need a little TLC, like bicycles

Then there's the other pile that is considered trash. Monitors, TVs, VCRs,
etc. That you could call economic trash. It's repairable, but by whom and
why would you when new is so cheap ?

The last few things I can remember picking up from the council's inorganic
collection - which is why I'll miss it-  that work fine now. I keep what I
need (not necessarily just "want") and give the rest to family

Personal MP3 player - earphone socket resoldered
Casio keyboard - DC socket resoldered
Breadmaker - fuse replaced
Steamer - mains lead replaced
All manner of CD players, stereos, speakers (cabinet and PC) with minor
solveable issues

Many people probably wouldn't sully themselves but if you have the time
and inclination it's worthwhile looking around occassionally to see what
is actually in the trash

2009\04\05@201809 by Antonio L. Benci

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Seems to be the same every where at the moment. Here in Australia
there's plenty of work BUT as Bob has indicated, most, if not all do not
advertise, as many companies don't want to hire techs at the appropriate
market rate (a good tech in Aus  can earn between $55.00 to $75.00 per
hour, casual rates (long term) or salaried at $75k to $100k). The
assumption is that if they can get someone in at a lower rate and not
salaried then it saves them money, less on costs such as insurance.

To clarify the definition of a "Good Technician"

Minimum 6-10 years experience + Certificate 1 in the appropriate field
of work (equivalent of first 2 years of an eng degree) + specialisation
in a niche field such as PLC automation or systems integration. The Tech
should also be able to demonstrate that she/he has kept up to date with
current and evolving technologies and methods. A good technician has to
be able to work in parallel with a senior project engineer and be
conversant with the project profile.

In my line of work, a good technician is usually classified as a
Professional Officer or Senior Technical Officer

Networking is extremely useful and important.

Cheers all.

Bob Blick wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\04\15@033632 by Tony Smith

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> >> But as pointed out, servicing is not the job it once was, what
> >> with throwaway items and board replacement. Even those still in media
> >> appliance repairs need digital skills and diagnostic equipment
nowadays,
{Quote hidden}

You've got three options - increase the price of the goods to make them
worth repairing, make the items themselves easier/cheaper to repair, or
guilt people into repairing them.

I don't think any of these is going to happen.

You could add a levy to items, (a bit like the blank CD tax Canada has) and
use that to subsidise repair shops & techs.  That would be interesting.
Some countries add a recycling levy, and some things are made to be 'recycle
friendly', like printers that have the case clipped together with no screws.
You dismantle them buy dropping them on the floor.  Repair?  Well, you
don't.

At the moment the cost of repair is too high compared to the cost of the
item.  Even a simple fix, like replacing a fuse or damaged cord can easily
run to near the cost of the item.  (At a repair shop, accounting for travel,
labour, stock depreciation, rent, administration, etc etc)

Many devices these days simply can't be repaired, especially at component
level.  It's hard to replace a BGA, if you can even get the part.

I doubt a campaign to extol the virtues of "don't toss it, fix it" would
work, perhaps we can convince people to churn their phones every 24 months,
not every 6-12.

The main problem is people simply don't want old stuff, whether it works or
not isn't relevant.  

"Why are you throwing that out, it still works."
"Because it's old and I wanted a new one!"

Tony

2009\04\15@050114 by Jinx

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> The main problem is people simply don't want old stuff, whether it
> works or not isn't relevant
>
> "Why are you throwing that out, it still works."
> "Because it's old and I wanted a new one!"

Tony, agree with all your other points re repairs. Around here you
don't see the old-style electrical shops, like you used to, for small
appliance repairs. And they'd sell electrical items too. I think it's
simply uneconomic for a sole trader to specialise (or generalise ?)
like that now. All the ones I can think of near here are primarily
computer shops who do repairs as well. Still just as seedy and untidy
as the old places mind you ;-)

As for throwouts, it's a buyer's market for second-hand. Looking
around a couple of weeks ago for a cheapie back-up PC. Spoiled
absolutely rotten for choice. It's no wonder that they get tossed or
given away considering the average weekly wage. I paid basically
peanuts for a better PC than I needed

What I find with a lot of people is that they don't really make their
PC work, or do anything useful apart from surfing or playing games
or videos. I have basic PCs that will do all that, and they certainly
aren't expensive or new. I suspect PCs are still a mystery to most
people and they have no idea how they do what they do and how
to get the best from them. So when something new comes along that
they think their old one can't do, out it goes

IMO it's always been about gadgets and entertainment

I have a neighbour who very much looked down his nose at me and
gave me his VCR and a box of tapes because they'd got used to
watching their projector TV (which BTW I thought was just horrible).
The $500 bulb blew two months ago and so they've been watching a
14" portable. TS. TS indeed

2009\04\15@114706 by Tony Smith

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{Quote hidden}

The last "why did..." conversations involved a kettle & a toaster, usually
these don't have many points of failure.  If the do, it's simply (sigh)
dirty contacts.  Gotta have new & shiny.

The capacitor plague is still going strong.

Tony

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