Electrical Engineering
College Students

When I interview Electrical Engineering students, I ask them basic electronic questions such as: 1) Sketch an Op Amp with a gain of ten, and 2) What is the difference between a BJT and FET transistor.

A majority of EE students do not know.

Those who do know, make it to a second interview. I ask questions such as: 3) What is capacitor ESR, 4) What is slew rate vs. bandwidth, 5) What language do you use for programming a microcontroller.

The few who make it through these questions are commonly invited to visit the company for a third round of interviews.

Knowing electronic fundamentals does not guarantee an electronic design engineer job. But it increases the odds.

In addition, for those who understand electronic fundamentals and produce results, the odds are increased they will be promoted and assigned challenging projects.

Clyde Eisenbeis, retired Electronic Design Engineer
   Texas Instruments, 3M, Emerson

It is important that EE students are aware of these electronics video clips. These video clips cover important details that can avoid electronic design mistakes.

Electronic design mistakes could cost companies money, which could lead to fewer jobs.

EE students, when they graduate, should know these important details. They are easy to understand – if the EE students are aware of them.

Some good examples that are not common knowledge include:
  • 1) Ground Planes and Voltage Planes
    • Necessary for almost all products (especially for miniature products) – and for EMC.

  • 2) Common Mode Chokes
    • Necessary for EMC in some cases.

  • 3) Tin Whiskers
    • Failure does not show up until the product has been shipped to customers – two satellites in outer space failed because of tin whiskers => https://nepp.nasa.gov/whisker/failures/ (NASA website).

  • 4) PCB Dendrite Growth
    • Product works initially, then can fail after the customer uses the product for a few months or longer – I hope it does not happen in an airplane.

  • 5) Tantalum Capacitor voltage needs to be overrated by a factor of three
    • Resulted in a fire, one time, for an IBM computer control panel – could have resulted in a lawsuit.

  • 6) Counterfeit Components
    • Product works initially, then can fail after the customer uses the product – or fails over temperature changes.
There are other types of electronic video clips. For example, 2.8 Electronic Cascade Filters describes how crunching numbers is ok, but SPICE models speed the design process. This is important in a competitive market.

All of the video clips contain important information.