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'[EE]: Is there an analog future?'
2001\10\19@172029 by =?iso-8859-1?B?Tm9tZWwgoA== ?=

I know this isn't technical, but...

Will one have a better career furture (stable job, high pay, etc.) in digital or analog circuit design. I don't know which one I should get into.

I realy enjoy analog and consider it more challenging, but everything seems to be going digital, even things that I would never think would go digital such as radio (SDR). Is there a future for analog designers. I know they will be needed, but will the world just require a bright few? What are your opinions? This is a big fork in my life and I need some guidance... :)

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2001\10\19@174135 by Sean H. Breheny

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Hi Nomel,

I have asked similar questions on this list in the past. Here is what I
have concluded: the most capable people (and, therefore, those who have the
best chance of getting a job) are those who have a nice, broad base of
experience in both areas. Today's world is certainly not a traditional
digital world. It used to be that digital design meant that you did
gate-level type stuff, but today, only a few people do that full time
(microprocessor designers), and most people do a bit of everything, like
designing a bunch of logic to burn into an FPGA, along with interfacing to
a microcontroller, and then perhaps designing a data acquisition system
consisting of a few amplifiers and an ADC. Doing this kind of thing (which
could easily describe the design process for almost anything) and doing it
correctly requires that you deal with digital issues (glitches, timing,
microcontrollers, etc.) AND analog issues (common-mode rejection ratio for
the amps, crosstalk, electromagnetic compatibility, etc.). In addition, the
world is inherently analog, so most of the real design problems that come
up are in analog-type areas (for example, you mentioned software radio.
Although software radio uses mostly DSP, you are still using DSP to
implement filters and demodulators, which require primarily an analog way
of thinking. The best DSP people are those who have a good analog
background and can easily switch their thinking between analog
implementations and digital ones).

Essentially, there is no longer(if there ever really was) a true divide
(for EEs who actually do design) between digital and analog, both sets of
skills are needed. If I had to pick one area to focus on more than the
other, though, I'd pick analog because fewer people know it well and it
truly is harder, for most people. If you are a microcontroller hobbyist,
you should be able to just take a few digital classes and essentially have
that down cold.

Sean

At 05:05 AM 10/20/01 +0800, you wrote:
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2001\10\19@175340 by Don Hyde

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If you like designing circuits, then go analog.  If you don't like
programming, then definitely go analog.

Digital design these days is either very simple --  plugging together a few
lego blocks and them programming a PIC or something or else it's fairly
hairy ASIC and FPGA design with very specialized software tools.  One way or
another, doing digital will require that you learn to do stuff that's either
writing software or closely resembles it.  At the very least you'll have to
know how to talk to programmers in their own language.

If you really want some job security, go right on past analog and learn RF
design.  Everything's wireless and almost nobody understands all that
black-magic RF stuff.  Figure out antenna design on top of that and you'll
have worshippers.


> {Original Message removed}

2001\10\19@203140 by Tom Messenger

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I went to college in the mid 1970's. Back then, everyone was jumping on the
"Digital Bandwagon". "Analog is dead, Long live Digital!" they said.  For
me though, the world is an analog sort of place so I stayed in analog.
Micro's were soon everywhere though and they have lots of utility. So I
learned a little about micros.

Finally, PICs arrived on the scene. Now I could control *any* analog
circuit that needed any sort of digital control.  In the 80's and 90's,
most college EE's *seemed* to be still flocking to the digital side of the
coin.

What should you do? Do what interests you the MOST, whether it's digital or
analog. You won't achieve success, money and happiness doing something you
really don't like. Instead, do something you DO like and you will be happy.
Happiness breeds success. Success breeds financial security. But always
remember: happiness comes first!

That's my 2 cents.
Best regards,
Tom M.

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2001\10\19@210847 by Jeff DeMaagd

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Do what you like, but the analog and digital worlds are so intertwined that
you should make sure you know the basics of both before you specialize.

In a macroscopic sense everything you can sense is analog so there is no
total escaping it, but now it seems that digital circuits have such an
extremely high utility that nearly any and every useful electrionic device
has digital components as well, so people working in both realms end up
having to work together and at least understand each other.

Jeff

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2001\10\20@011557 by Olin Lathrop

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> Will one have a better career furture (stable job, high pay, etc.) in
digital or analog circuit design. I don't know which one I should get into.

You should get into whatever you really like doing and are good at.  The
world will probably need more digital engineers in the future than analog,
but analog design skills will always be needed.  Also, the number of people
that are really good at analog seems to be rather small.  Regardless of
whether you try to specialize in analog hardware design, digital hardware
design, or software/firmware, it is a good idea to have a basic
understanding of the other two.  All three go together on most projects I
work on.  As you get more senior and if you want to stay technical, you will
have to be capable of looking at the big picture of a project to architect
it.  You can't do that without basic knowledge of the tradeoffs in all three
fields, although you don't need to specialize in all of them.


********************************************************************
Olin Lathrop, embedded systems consultant in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, olinspamKILLspamembedinc.com, http://www.embedinc.com

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2001\10\20@091754 by Lasse Madsen

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> Is there an Analog future ?

I would say that the question is a bit "stupid", You will always have to do
analog inorder to make digital.
Power supplys are always analog somewhere therefore a knowleadge of analog
electronics is nessary.

If you make a product which include a MCU whatever you will most of the time
need a PSU which is analog - you probertly also have the MCU interfacing to
some analog product.

Im under education as an Electronics Technican (so ofcause i have to speak
for analog :) my job consists of reparing comsumer electronics and
developing electronic applications for companys. These include both digital
and analog applications.

When one has acomplished the education one must be able to use, create and
error correct a microprocessor system including the 8031 and also do the
same with the Atmel AVR products.

You will also be able to error correct measurement instruments, comsumer
electronics, medical equepment .... etc....

I've maked alot of analog projects both in school and at home - analog is
more comprehensensive than digital because one will need to know a million
formulars (and use them correctly) digital - (hey you write the application
not adapt it)

I must emit that MCU's are exciteing and i have been helping a company with
digitalizing some of their products with sucess.

Also im sure that many inhere wont agree with me when i say:

Microprocessors are boring when compared with regular Logic - creating a
circuit with a microprocssor is less breathtaking than doing it the "Logic
way" and Logic gives one a more satisfying "feeling" when youre done because
it takes ALOT of knowleadge to figure out how and when etc...
But if an application goes for size and speed i would use a MCU but if not
... LOGIC FOREVER :)

Maybe im oldfashion (even though im not that old :)

Well this "letter" was my meaning of the subject...

Take care and wake up tomorrow to the sound of your digital clock (with an
analog psu in it) :o)

Best regards
Lasse Madsen
 and auxillary for the MCU

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2001\10\20@100112 by Roman Black

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Jeff DeMaagd wrote:
>
> Do what you like, but the analog and digital worlds are so intertwined that
> you should make sure you know the basics of both before you specialize.
>
> In a macroscopic sense everything you can sense is analog so there is no
> total escaping it, but now it seems that digital circuits have such an
> extremely high utility that nearly any and every useful electrionic device
> has digital components as well, so people working in both realms end up
> having to work together and at least understand each other.


Agreed, the "analogue vs digital" argument is
as bogus as "audio vs video" argument. I'm sure
lots of audio geniuses were worried when the move
from radio to TV took place. Now you just show
me a TV without audio...
-Roman

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2001\10\20@102448 by Gerhard Fiedler

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At 23:57 10/20/2001 +1000, Roman Black wrote:
>Now you just show me a TV without audio...

I just thought I'd add this, too...

I don't think there are many "digital" or "analog" circuits. Most of the
times, both are just ways to look at a circuit. Take for instance a high
density high speed "digital" board. There usually has been someone
designing the "digital" functionality, firmware, gate arrays etc. by
looking only at the digital side of the project. But in order to make it
work, you have to take lots of analog effects into account, and somebody
has to know about them. Proper ground and supply wiring, decoupling,
inductivity and capacity of traces, coupling between traces, delays,
deterioration of signal forms... above 20 MHz there's no digital circuit
anymore, and even below that you better take the analog side into account,
to some degree at least.

So -- yes, there definitely is an analog future. I haven't worked in that
area, but I would guess that some of the engineers in the teams designing
PC motherboards have (and need) substantial analog knowledge, for example.

ge

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2001\10\20@104527 by Quentin

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Roman Black wrote:
>
> Jeff DeMaagd wrote:
> >
> > Do what you like, but the analog and digital worlds are so intertwined that
> > you should make sure you know the basics of both before you specialize.

> Agreed, the "analogue vs digital" argument is
> as bogus as "audio vs video" argument.
Yup. It has been proved many times that you can do any most analoque
signals using digital systems (DSP, et all).
But the question would be can you still do it with digital with out
knowing what analogue is?
That completes the circle.

Quentin

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2001\10\20@105820 by Roman Black

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Quentin wrote:
>
> Roman Black wrote:
> >
> > Jeff DeMaagd wrote:
> > >
> > > Do what you like, but the analog and digital worlds are so intertwined that
> > > you should make sure you know the basics of both before you specialize.
>
> > Agreed, the "analogue vs digital" argument is
> > as bogus as "audio vs video" argument.
> Yup. It has been proved many times that you can do any most analoque
> signals using digital systems (DSP, et all).
> But the question would be can you still do it with digital with out
> knowing what analogue is?
> That completes the circle.


And you could even say that digital is
simply a subset of analogue... ;o)
-Roman

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2001\10\20@132431 by Gaston Gagnon

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Nomel wrote:

>
> Will one have a better career furture (stable job, high pay, etc.) in digital or analog circuit design. I don't know which one I should get into.
>
> I realy enjoy analog and consider it more challenging, but everything seems to be going digital, even things that I would never think would go digital such as radio (SDR). Is there a future for analog designers. I know they will be needed, but will the world just require a bright few? What are your opinions? This is a big fork in my life and I need some guidance... :)
>

If you are still in formal education, my suggestion would be to get courses on "stuff" that is hard to learn by yourself. For one, efficient programming is a  subject that is not easy to learn on your own.
My two cents.
Gaston

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2001\10\20@150327 by John Ferrell

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Is there an analog future?

There is no future without analog.
There is no future without Digital.
Considering the 80-20 rule, 80% of what you know is unnecessary, you only
have need for 20%. The trick is that you have to know the right 20%.

The only way to achieve that is to build a broad base that pursues a 100%
objective. Then you will have the foundation for security.

Some people get lucky and get by on a very narrow education. Don't count on
it.

If diversification is a good plan anywhere, it is especially a good plan
when you are building the foundation for your future.


John Ferrell
6241 Phillippi Rd
Julian NC 27283
Phone: (336)685-9606
Dixie Competition Products
NSRCA 479 AMA 4190  W8CCW
"My Competition is Not My Enemy"



{Original Message removed}

2001\10\20@162311 by Dale Botkin

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On Sat, 20 Oct 2001, John Ferrell wrote:

> If diversification is a good plan anywhere, it is especially a good plan
> when you are building the foundation for your future.

Amen, tell it brother!  I can testify.  Right now I'm a UNIX systems group
manager.  The reason I'm doing well in this role is that I have been a
network engineer, hardware field engineer (mainframe repairman for you
unwashed), business owner, ISP, tech support, UNIX admin, NT admin, ham
operator, hardware hacker, software hacker, father, homeowner and all
those other seemingly unrelated things.  It's a broad base of knowledge
that will get you places.  Note I did not use the word "superficial"
anywhere in there...  you have to know your stuff.  But knowing your stuff
in only one narrow field is a sure way to the top of a very limited
career.

I would add this:  Be flexible and always keep an open mind.  There have
been jobs I swore I'd never do, got forced into doing, and really enjoyed.
The NT admin thing wasn't one of them...  ;)

Dale

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2001\10\21@133808 by Jay.R.Vijay-Indra

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I have been an electronic design engineer for over 20 years. When I went
college we learned more analog electronics (ie designing with
transistor)circuit theory and control engineering. PDP11 was the most
powerful computer in the lab and intel 4004 was the only microprocessor we
played with.

Now I spend small amount of time doing digital design on FPGA's and ASIC's
for big blue chip companies (for big bucks) and lot of time doing analoge
design for small recording studios and music  (for small bucks).

When work with big conpanies, what I find is lot of new engineers are good
at designing digital in side the chip but have no idea how to interface and
drive the signal between chips at high speed (say above 100MHz).


The difference between analog and digital becomes bit blurred with the
frequency of operation. Thats why I always say digital is just the third
and fifth harmonic of analog.

regards,

Jay

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2001\10\22@102248 by Douglas Butler

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> Will one have a better career furture (stable job, high pay,
> etc.) in digital or analog circuit design. I don't know which
> one I should get into.

You will have a better career if you do what you are really good at, and
enjoy.  There will always be a shortage of GOOD engineers in any field.
A job you LIKE is worth far more that any salary.

Sherpa Doug

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2001\10\22@104248 by Lawrence Lile

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> > Will one have a better career furture (stable job, high pay,
> > etc.) in digital or analog circuit design. \

>Doug sez:  do what you are really good at,


Well put, Doug!   My job involves analog, digital, software, hardware,
purchasing, troubleshooting testing, writing specifications and business
communications, fixing PC's and cooking waffles.  So I can say that I would
have limited my future by specializing in analog OR digital.  Specialization
is only good if you are specializing in somnething you really like to do.

I am sorry to say there are no stable jobs anywhere in the 21st century.
Every day I see headlines like "Motorola lays off 5000", these are the types
of companies people expect to work for an entire career.  The only security
is a freshly printed resume, being fast on your feet, having the guts to
coold call potential employers,  personable, well liked, being a good
manager, being quick with a handshake and know lots and lots of people who
might hire an engineer.  Oh Yeah, you gotta know a lot about electronics
too.

--Lawrence
Anybody need a good electronics engineer?

{Original Message removed}

2001\10\22@105800 by Dale Botkin

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Lawrence Lile wrote:

> Well put, Doug!   My job involves analog, digital, software, hardware,
> purchasing, troubleshooting testing, writing specifications and business
> communications, fixing PC's and cooking waffles.  So I can say that I would
> have limited my future by specializing in analog OR digital.  Specialization
> is only good if you are specializing in somnething you really like to do.

...Lawrence is one of the few people I know of who, when they say their
job as an engineer includes cooking waffles, I believe them!!

Dale

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