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Investing Time Into Younger Engineers
October 1, 2023

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My career has been shaped and helped by those who invested in me. Pass it on by being a positive influence in the life of a younger engineer.

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My First Radio

I received my first radio set when I was a kid.

My first radio: the build your own shortwave radio kit from Radio Shack.
My first radio: the build your own shortwave radio kit from Radio Shack.

The radio kit was from Radio Shack and came with components that could be assembled and used in experiments. I loved building the AM radio receiver.

The radio kit with wire antenna (yellow) and ear piece (white).
The radio kit with wire antenna (yellow) and ear piece (white).

The radio came with an ear piece and I would lay in my bunk bed and fall asleep to the sounds of far away radio stations that I couldn’t receive during the day. I learned something intuitively in that moment playing with a toy I never once heard mentioned in all my years in class: RF signals are able to communicate further distances at night.

The Sun’s rays increase the temperature on the earth and thereby increase the noise power in the radio. A decrease in the noise power results in a higher signal to noise ratio (SNR) such that AM stations can be received at further distances.

Funny how abstract concepts that describe the nature of the universe can be understood intuitively with a little experimentation, even by a child.

It’s hard to know if I would still be in the field of RF and DSP without receiving the radio as a gift. But it feel like a seed was planted and it’s incredible how that can payoff when scaled over a long time frame.

Investing Your Time

So why do I tell you this story?

My parents invested in me and my career with a simple gift. And so did a ton of my previous supervisors and the more mature engineers who spent time with me and showed me the ropes along the way. Everyone had a different method. Sometimes that meant

  • helping debug my code,
  • explaining ideas on the white board,  
  • taking me out to lunch and talking shop,
  • introducing me to other engineers,
  • or just being friendly at the office.

They never asked to be repaid for the kindness they showed me. But I have tried to pay it forward in my own way to help younger engineers. (That is one reason I started the blog.)

So here is my challenge to you: be sure to invest time into the next generation of engineers. The simplest and most effective way is to spend time with them. Ask them about their weekend at the coffee pot, review their resume, or stay late on a Friday to help them finish a project on tight deadline.

Going out of your way, even for an hour, can have a substantial and long last impact on someone’s career and their life. If someone has helped you along the way, be sure to pay it forward. If no one did it for you, it’s time make sure no one else ever has that problem.


I wrote this blog and wondered if you can still buy this kind of radio kit. You can! It looks like it’s been given a facelift:


I have been blessed to have my career positively influenced by so many people. How has your life and career been shaped by others? Be sure to pass it forward and help the younger engineers in your life.

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The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:2
Behold, I am toward God as you are; I too was pinched off from a piece of clay. Job 33:6
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! Psalm 100:4
Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! Psalm 134:2
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-39
Then He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live." Ezekiel 37:4-5
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. Proverbs 11:4
The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3:2-3
Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding." Daniel 2:20-21
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
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