Funny how small experiences can shape a primary school kid's path. Similar experiences include those mini play-with-your-pinkie pianos, putting a 9V battery on the tongue, and the effects of putting a paperclip into an AC power socket.
Removing insulation from a live phone wire with my teeth (I had decided to put an extension in my room without asking for help...) was one of mine, that definitely made me more careful. Went just fine until I closed the circuit with my tongue by accident just as someone called. Not pleasant.
I read this and thought "so what?".
> just as someone called.
Ahh there it is. Yep, that is indeed not pleasant.
I believe that (in earlier years when electric protections were non existant or just a huge fuse) is one of the origins of survivorship bias ...
it was two wires (no earth/ground) and was fixed using tiny nails that were driven in the plastic slip between the two wires, the "luxury" version were these (on the right):
but the most common ones had not a real insulator, they were simply steel nails dipped in some rubbery paint.
In theory the nail should have never come in contact with any of the two wires, but expecially where there was some corner preventing the nail to be hammered perfectly straight or because of sloppy installation, after a few years (with the rubber/insulation becoming stiff and microcracking) it happened.
Eventually I just found it easier to attach wires to a plug, put the plug in the socket and then just short the wires together.
It takes one to make chip, to read one later
An average US college will tell you about VLSI, logic, teach you Cadence, and designing something on the level of 8051, and process engineering enough to work on something from 350-180nm era with aluminium interconnect.
The problem is this is hardly enough to make you employable. And without employment in few serious semi companies left standing today, you will never see modern chip manufacturing.
Semi industry has really high entry barriers, and it has really poor remuneration. The industry largely coasting on greying cadres from eighties-nineties in the West, and very cheap PhDs in Asia.
You should take a look at
You don't need "to get onto the cutting edge of device fabrication".
You need to search for a VLSI design class.
Even startups <$1m are full of seasoned professionals coming from abroad, seeking PhDs in US universities. I think it's more characteristic for semiconductor startups to hire much more senior engineers than the industry average to convince their investors, not the other way around.
Try this one for the US:
Or this one for Europe:
Both world-leading semiconductor technology research institutes (coincidentally both got the first EUV-tools) with plenty of students.
Both IMEC, and SUNY are heavily graduate research oriented. There are some undergrad opportunities there, but one's chances to get there are probably less than getting into MIT.
The "death valley" in between graduation, first employment, and a first real substantial job in semi industry is super-duper real, and acute problem. It's a problem in Asia, and 10x of than in US.
Obviously it is important to get hands on experience even as an undergrad. Ideally you can do that at your university, otherwise there are plenty of opportunities for internships. At least in Europe I had absolutely no problem finding one. It can't hurt to also look for second tier companies.
My first full time job in line of "make us a WP website" was CAD $65k. An intern stipend at a semi lab was $16k cash a year, with a very competitive recruitment like "show us you was in top 10% of your group"
Unless you actually mean working at a fab? Which strikes me as more process engineering than typical HN interests.
I’m also very aware the epicentres of “top schools” will likely shift in the next 15-20 years, that kids’ interests and talents are labile, and that true self-determination is the key to a successful and happy life.
At any rate, if it’s not common knowledge these days, get the kid a cheap second-hand bench-top oscilloscope. As long as the basic functions work, it doesn’t matter if it’s from the 1980s. But that thing is your eyes. And the knobs are fun.
Your comment triggered warm memories of playing with my grandfather’s Soviet oscilloscope as a kid. It had knobs so clicky that you’d feel them your knuckles! :)
I went to live, and make money in the mainland China for a few years. It was a hard bargain with the conscience.
I simply cannot fathom how the industry can be done in the West now, and the labour price has nothing to do with that for the reason it's higher in China for actual, non-software engineering.
India is much more VLSI, and applied skills heavy (Cadence,) thus they dominate there.
None of US multinationals will hire a fresh "average" US semi engineering graduate. Maybe MIT + 1 more top schools, but otherwise fresh grads have no chances on the job market against already experienced people coming from Asia to do their PhDs in US.
Well, well. Here's something cool to add to my list of home lab tools!