When I was in college studying electrical engineering, I worked in a petroleum refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas every summer, first with the electrical department and later on with the engineering department. There was a bit of a rivalry between the two departments. Many of the electricians resented the electrical engineers because they earned much more money, and it often seemed to the blue collar electricians that the white collar engineers had no clue what was really going on in the field.

Having worked on both sides of the fence, I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. An engineer freshly out of college with no experience has little idea of many real-world issues. It’s one thing to design a system on paper, but it’s quite ...

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