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I got one of those Arduino starter kits that comes with a bunch of jumper wires, LEDs, resistors, push buttons, etc. (there's tons of kits, check adafruit.com for some) and learned enough to make an LED blink and went from there. Arduino makes it easy to get your feet wet and you can get more sophisticated once you're comfortable with the basics. Being a software person, the next step I took was ditching the Arduino IDE and writing my firmware in C using avr-gcc to compiler and avrdude to flash. I have an interest in custom USB input devices (game controllers and keyboards) so I've also starting using the LUFA[0] library which is very satisfying once you get it to work (pressing a push button on a breadboard and seeing a character typed on your computer for the first time is great!) So far I've focused on digital circuits, but I'd like to make an amplifier or something to learn more about analog circuitry. As you can see, I'm not too far past the starting line but I feel like I've learned a lot thus far. It's definitely a satisfying hobby.

I'm still in search of good textbooks on the topic (SICP is to CS as ____ is to EE? Recommendations anyone?) but I've gotten some value out of "Make: Electronics"[1] as a non-academic, beginners guide.

I hope this helps!

[0] http://www.fourwalledcubicle.com/LUFA.php

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Make-Electronics-Discovery-Charles-Pl...

Thanks a bunch, that's very helpful.

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