Engineers carving out their career have a myriad of experiences, but every one soon discovers that the formidable analytic tools they developed in their degrees are no match for the dynamic challenge of being effective in practice. Understanding your role, influencing peers, gaining the trust of customers, balancing confidence with humility, understanding motivation and making judicious choices in working environment, all take years of trial and error to develop expertise in.
Without breadth of experience, we're forced to extrapolate our learnings from very few data points, often leading to wildly off-target conclusions. In theory, we could use theory to understand practice. In practice, we can't.
In practice, the only data that matters is empirical data - the hard earned discoveries when you put your theories to the test. Without strong theoretical foundations, your tests will only re-enforce whatever ill-conceived theory you wish them to. But without tests, your knowledge will be based on layers and layers of assumptions that could crumble in the slightest of turbulence.
Engineers carving out their career are equipped with the rational and technical foundations that could change the world. But they find themselves stymied for years by the gulf between solving problems on paper, and solving them while meeting the deadline, keeping to a budget, managing expectations, and properly understanding who it is they are solving the problem for. Doing that - engineering effectively - requires years of applying theory to produce empirical results.
I've spent over two decades in professional electronic engineering environments, from individual contributor to founder of an engineering consultancy. I've had some successes and plenty of failures, but have never stopped collecting empirical data on what works in practice, and what doesn't. Now is my opportunity to provide others the insights I didn't even know I needed 20 years ago. These are the lessons and realisations that do not fit in a tertiary education, but would otherwise take decades to learn.
The discipline of engineering operates for and within humanity, and is therefore never static. I continue to hone my craft - after all, if you're not adapting then you're becoming obsolete. So the insights too, will continue to evolve.
One life hack that has never failed to serve me well, is to never speak outside my area of expertise. My training is in mathematics and computer engineering, and my profession has been uniquely focused on applying that training to Electronic Engineering. When I speak from a position of expertise, I do so based on empirical experience in electronic engineering. This is EmpiricalEE.