474Views10Replies

Author Options:

Aspiring techie. Where do I find the skills, the tools, the work? Answered

As a child I grew up on legos and K'nex, and I wish my first computer had come earlier in life. I want to pursue more things like programming, robotics, working on cars and lighting the neighborhood with massive LED Beacons of custom-PC goodness. I've tried some researching of certain topics on my own, but I usually run into some difficult roadbumps. Particularly, there often runs a gap between beginner and advanced knowledge I find hard to bridge. I started off great with some programming classes at college, but their department is lacking. The other significant obstacle that comes to mind is cost. It's hard to shell out for new tools and parts for every project. Do you have any advice? Where could I find an entry-level job at an electronics re-saler, or something like that? I don't really have the skills for a mechanic, but what might be a first step? Or, something pre-programming that I could learn from- particularly for game or software development? Which schools in the Midwest have more hands-on training?

Comments

The forums are retiring in 2021 and are now closed for new topics and comments.
0
sciguy77
sciguy77

11 years ago

I recommend you simply learn by doing. <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Vivus-the-Robot/">Complete a kit or two</a>, and slowly move up from there, starting with simple motor and sensor control.

0
iamdenteddisk
iamdenteddisk

11 years ago

I have posted a website for inventors, hobby builders, robotisist and am now seeking "blue boy's" to fill the little niches in the business I myself do custom aluminum casting of parts as well as machining and manufacture of plastic parts, specialty circuits and any void I can fill but at the same time there is room for others and all are welcome to join share and learn and even contribute. the aspiration and open midedness you show with this post is what I am looking for, come to the website http://denteddisk.com/
or email me or even PM here for discussion.. that goes for anyone in the same position..

0
mman1506
mman1506

11 years ago

that actually reminds me of what im doing now im a 11 and building robots and pc's and for robotics i would recommend the picaxe micro controller linethere very easy to use and very cheap and all boards have built in programmers ,ive already built a robotic car and right now working on a robot blimp. just search it up on google

0
arcticpenguin
arcticpenguin

12 years ago

I'm reminded me of when I was just fresh out of college, back in 1976. Missing direction, way to many possibilities, no real skills. All I knew was I was a hands-on type of guy; meaning everything I touched broke and then I couldn't fix it. I thought no real skills either. Now I have my own very successful business servicing medical and health related equipment. If it would help check out my resume (just won the Burning Question 7 with Write a Resume) to see the path I ended up on. You of course will have your own path ion time. Email me if you like. Here are some ideas to consider - Vow to never discard anything you haven't taken apart, put together and learned how it worked when it did. Also keep any salvage parts still usable. Study and do as many of the Instructables you can, learn a little about the rest. The idea of volunteering for experience is good and I agree. Every junk, used goods, 2nd hand goods stores, Value Village, Neighborhood Services, Thrift shops etc would likely accept volunteer help testing and minor repairing items. Tested electric appliances etc can sell for several times more than "untested As Is" items. They win by increased sales; you win by no-cost education and skills development. Logon and Login to some popular fix-it type forums where there is a world of information wealth. Someone will always have your answers; remember to pass on the knowledge as others have to you. The WWW makes information so easy. Google free tutorials, so far I've found some on electronics, science, physics, pneumatics, and fluid power. Don't forget the manufacturers websites for service and operators manuals as a source of information. Remember the critical part of repairing things is in the simplifying, understanding and figuring out; not in the memorizing how to fix something. If each time you attack a repair you solve the puzzle you will also be able to solve other problems similar to the one you are working on. Those that rely on memory work are often stuck on new problems because they have not seen it before. I've worked with techs like that and often had to go after them to fix what they couldn't because it was a different problem. Soon start your own small business, save taxes, gain some allowed write-offs. Use a 'fair business' idea like mine "If we can't fix it, we don't charge." Sure I do some calls for free, just less often than you'd think. Soon you'll find yourself cruising garbage day for discarded goods. Those you fix can be sold, even at your garage sale, think of it - free money. Our current economy issues illustrate that when the economy slows people will have stuff repaired rather than replaced. For me business is booming these times. People will pay real good money for good repairs (I'm making 5 times the hourly rate I was getting as an employee). You'll see that if you do repairs and really learn the trade, you'll never be out of work. You can loose a job, get laid off etc, but stuff will always break. Also don't get too bogged down with products, remember you don't really have to be a NASA specialist to know how to replace a space shuttle door switch, it's just a door switch after all. You may have to think about that concept for it to really sink in. Although it is hard to grasp, the stuff you see commonly now will likely not exist in its current form 20-30 years from now. Ask any old fart like me, aged about 50. In college we still learned about vacuum tubes, there were no PC's, Ipods, Walkmans, cell phones, Roomba vacuum robots etc. You'll have to fix what doesn't exist now.

0
paganwonder
paganwonder

12 years ago

Work is not bad hands-on training, it's just not fun all the time. I'm thinking of somethings Edison said. Also, read up a little on Tesla. The point is- activity creates opportunity. Work with what you've got- keep your eyes and ears open for ideas and opportunities. Some of my best work was created when I had few tools and mostly imagination. I have since enjoyed some success and now have more tools (both physical and mental) but sometimes I miss that edge I felt when I had to make do with what I had. Also, I've never met anyone who was able to BUY skill and ability with money alone- they had lots of cool tools but could not create magic! Jump in and make do with what you've got.

0
drumagon
drumagon

Answer 12 years ago

I appreciate the encouragement. I'll keep that in mind. You're definitely right, money can't buy creativity. Thanks paganwonder

0
kelseymh
kelseymh

12 years ago

Look out for local homebrew or electronics clubs in your area (check Craigslist, your local independent electronics parts store).

If you actually have an independent electronics shop in your area, talk to the older staff there.

Contact non-profits in your area which do electronic refurbishing; they can always use volunteers, even if they have a learning curve.

Kits. Building from a kit isn't the same as designing your own system, but it's a real advantage to know that what you're building should work, and to have instructions and guidance on what to do. After a few of those, you'll have picked up enough to try doing something from scratch.

0
drumagon
drumagon

Answer 12 years ago

Those are great tips. I wasn't even aware that some volunteering could be out there for refurbishing. I'll do some research on that, could be perfect. Yes, kits sound great too. I've been needing to get out to a hobby shop for some ideas anyway. Thanks kelseymh