Editor's Overview: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Your Engineering Peers—And Then Some

Oct. 20, 2003
Electronic Design strives to be the electronic engineering community's favorite magazine. To meet that goal, we stay in close contact with readers. When we're not holding impromptu meetings at seminars, conferences, trade shows, and other industry...

Electronic Design strives to be the electronic engineering community's favorite magazine. To meet that goal, we stay in close contact with readers. When we're not holding impromptu meetings at seminars, conferences, trade shows, and other industry events, we're exchanging e-mails with readers. And you can be sure that in those discussions, we want the answers to a few key editorial questions: How relevant are recent articles? Which topics should be covered more (or less) often? What design and technology concerns are keeping readers up at night?

On occasion, we host lunch meetings where readers share professional insights into the way design is being done and air opinions about how Electronic Design can better meet their needs. Not long ago, in fact, we performed a series of coast-to-coast focus groups that helped shape the publication's recent redesign. To learn even more about what makes designers and technical managers tick, we recently conducted an exhaustive reader survey—the heart and soul of this special issue. We looked at design engineering from a professional and personal viewpoint, digging deep into your career concerns and examining issues not directly related to work.

We used the survey as a starting point to develop the content for this special YOUR issue, which includes a feature on "what it takes to get ahead" in the engineering profession. The article was molded via interviews both with those who have risen to the top of the profession, as well as with those who are recruitment specialists and human resources managers.

We want to thank the thousands of readers who took time to participate in this online research project, a gratifying response that reflects the strong affinity busy Electronic Design readers have for their favorite magazine. (This was made even more evident by the whopping 60% of you who said it would be okay for our editors to contact you directly if we had further questions.)

On the professional side, we asked about the types of design projects you work on; how long you've worked for your current employer (and your future employment plans); your views on the professional issues that keep you up at night; the factors that affect your job satisfaction; the problems you face on the work front; and which high-tech companies you admire the most and which ones you would like to work for. We were curious to see how your answers varied by company size, so we also asked respondents to tell us approximately how many people were employed at their company and their organization's approximate gross annual revenue.

On the personal front, we wanted to create a portrait of the "typical" engineer. We included questions about age, gender, race, country of birth, level of education, marital status, salary, and household income. We also wanted to know how you feel about your compensation, so we asked if you thought you were being sufficiently rewarded at work—and if not, what sort of pay increase would balance things out.

We additionally were interested in developing a snapshot of how electronic designers spend their leisure time (assuming you have any): the sports you enjoy watching and participating in; the music you listen to (and the instruments our musically inclined engineering readers play); and your favorite types of movies, TV shows, and books. We asked about your political affiliations; whether you'd recommend engineering as a career for young people; and your opinions about the most important issues facing the nation.

This YOUR special issue also presents the 2003 inductees for the Electronic Design Engineering Hall of Fame. In a separate online survey effort, we polled our readership as to who they felt deserved to be recognized in this elite group of industry- and world-changing EEs. Congratulations to this year's class!

To tie together the "full portrait" of engineers within the Hall of Fame spotlight, we've included a "Class Notes" feature that looks at the lifestyles and continued contributions of many members from our initial 2002 class of honorees.

We hope this YOUR issue (presented in our magazine's original large-format size) helps to create community among designers by profiling you as a diverse yet cohesive group, while at the same time chronicling some of the contributions you're making to society and to our future.

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