I'm an optimist by nature. But cautious optimism has been the best even the most positive-thinking of us could offer in the last two years, considering the false starts in the economy and the global and national security concerns we all have been through. But new years are times for new starts, and I'm throwing cautious optimism to the wind and toasting the upward wave. While productivity gains of the past year came via the high price of layoffs and having to do more with less, I predict that 2004 is a turnaround year, not only in terms of high growth for electronic products, but also as top engineering talent returns to high-demand status and the EE employment outlook returns to a designers' market. Still, the workload for today's multitasking design engineer isn't going to get any lighter, and the ever-ratcheting sophistication of design projects means you're having to learn more at a faster pace to keep on the cutting edge of the design field.
To help you in envisioning the next wave of electronic design, we present our annual Technology Forecast Issue, using a "Top 10" format to plug you into the top trends in key electronics segments. As the new year starts and you pick your head up from your workbench, this issue will help you learn more about the product and technology issues that will shape your approach to creating the coming generation of electronic products.
While every issue of Electronic Design focuses on emerging technologies, we want this Forecast Issue to be a cover-to-cover read, keeping you posted not only on your area of specialization, but also offering a look at the electronic engineering discipline as a whole and the interplay of new forces remolding the design field.
Kicking off the issue this year are Electronic Design Visionary forecasts, including the viewpoints of tech pundit John Dvorak, John Turner of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Jack Gifford, the chairman, CEO, and president of Maxim Integrated Products. We've asked these visionaries to give us a more contextual look at where technology is taking us, and I think you'll find that they are joining me in their optimistic outlook.
OK, Bob Pease looks into his crystal ball to tell us that he feels "forecasting is generally a waste of time." But even Bob is sounding pretty rosy these days—"we're heading in the right direction," he writes, even if he is talking about ways to slow down a processor's speed!