Re: From Buggy-Whip to PET Scanner

Subject: Re: From Buggy-Whip to PET Scanner
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 12:20:38 -0500


[First of all, as an aside, I'm shocked to learn that your company was in the buggy whip business. If any company were going to keep its employees current with new technology, I'd have thought it would be Agilent. (I probably screwed up moods and tenses there, but I'm not going back to rework 'em.)]

You have recast the current how-expert-does-a-TW-have-to-be topic in a less divisive way, and I like that.

Here's my take on it. Most technical fields of endeaver are set up so that relatively bright people can handle the work. Maybe a couple of real geniuses did the pioneering work, but a company can go out and hire engineering graduates who spent a good deal of their college careers impaired in one way or another, and those kids can come in and do productive work.

So if they can learn to work in the field, you can, too.

What do you need? First, you need vocabulary and a general sense of the theory of operation. Start with Scientific American. That should get you over the concept and vocabulary hump.

Then go to the trade or engineering journals that pertain to the field and do some serious reading there. That should familiarize you with the technical issues that are in play in the industry, expand your vocabulary with more of the down-and-dirty jargon, and enable you to ask intelligent questions.

Then take a subject matter expert to lunch--or dinner, or a ski weekend, or whatever it takes--so you can do some serious debriefing/brain picking.

That ought to get you where you need to be.

My two cents.


karen_otto -at- agilent -dot- com asks:

>So, tech-whirlers, how can Joe go about changing not careers, but subject
>matter? He loves and is good at a technology which no longer exists. He's
>happy to learn something new, but it doesn't make sense for him to go out
>and get a degree or become a designer in a new topic just to gain the depth
>needed for a new topic.

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