Joining the online engineering community

The Engineering Community Online

Well, this has been a great start to the year 2017 if you are keen on technology ! There are lots of easy to access resources that have appeared on the internet recently, and in a matter of minutes you can have at your fingertips amazing tutorials, project instructables, learning resources, product specs, in fact right all the way through to suppliers of esoteric electronic components can be found, and then, even places to distribute your wares at popular and cheap distribution outlets like the iStore or Android App store etc.

Here are some popular web sites I like to keep an eye on for new ideas, and even for trying things out so I can learn new tips and tricks.

Code Project
A great web site and forum, this is the place to remove any roadblocks when writing code in any language. If you need to remember how to do something in a particular language, or you want to learn something new to optimize some of your code, this site has millions of posts and articles that will help even the strangest of requests.

Link : https://www.codeproject.com/
My Articles : https://www.codeproject.com/search.aspx?doctypeid=1%3b2%3b3%3b13%3b14&q=marcus+o%27brien&authorid=5196808

Instructables
Recently it has become extremely popular to build and program electronic gadgets and gizmos. Many people are now spending their weekends building more and more elaborate constructions, then sharing their schema’s, plans and instructions with everyone who wants to repeat them. This has resulted in thousands of really interesting and varied projects. From beginner to expert, you will find plenty of new ideas for projects to spend your spare time.

Link : https://www.instructables.com/

Hackster IO
This is another site for building projects, this site is more focused on the hardware side. It is the best place to come when you have a new piece of electronics to learn what it is capable of.

Link : https://www.hackster.io/
My Projects : https://www.hackster.io/marcusob/the-intel-arduino-101-hardware-neural-network-with-mnist-0e2159

Robotics For Dreamers
This is my web site where you can read up on my robotics blog. I’ve spent the last few years putting together a tank-track robot. The brains for the robot, named MAL1, are 6 Raspberry Pi 3’s.

Take a good read over how I’m putting it all together in my blog :

Link : www.roboticsfordreamers.com

Intel AI tuorials
A great place to learn about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and other machine based learning techniques. The zeitgeist really is AI, so why not become familiar and jump into the most exciting and engaging aspects of engineering, creating a thinking. autonomous machine ?

Link : https://software.intel.com/en-us/ai/deep-learning

Microsoft Tutorials
Programming of any kind can be a daunting task to start. A great place to learn how to navigate your way through the deep dark wood is Microsoft’s tutorial web site. Take a look through one of their languages, download the free IDE Microsoft Visual Studio Community 2017. It’s all here to get you started with either .net languages or the omnipotent C++, in fact,  any Windows OS based application.

Link : https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/training.aspx

After you have mastered your tech, and created your product, Why not sell it ? Here are some instruction pages on how to sell software applications in some of the more popular virtual market places.

How to sell An App on Android

If you have written a new application for a mobile device that runs on Android, this is the place to learn how to get it available to your potential market. A great guide to selling, marketing and preparing your application, especially for the Android marketplace.

Link: https://developer.android.com/distribute/best-practices/launch/index.html

How to sell An IOS App on the iStore

The same as above, but specialising in the Apple market place.

Link: https://www.apple.com/ca/itunes/working-itunes/sell-content/apps/

Sign up to these sites and have a read through all the new projects and ideas once every week, you will not be disappointed. Remember, in order to be an engineer you have to be engaged in the community, you also have to know the latest tech available and be up to date in the ways it is used. Some of this knowledge could result in saving you a vast amount of time when solving your next problem ,or creating your next project, or it might just help you land that fantastic first job in your chosen market.

It can be baffling knowing where to start with everything that is available out there. Engineering is really the discipline of transforming ideas and requirements into feasible, tangible, easy to use solutions. It normally requires the use of some form of technology or other, and can be either connecting existing solutions, or designing a behemoth of pioneering unheard-of technology, and then unleashing it on the world,giving you the opportunity to see the impact it has as it spirals its way across the globe !

It’s easy to become enthusiastic and excited when thinking of your next project, as an engineer you have already defined yourself as someone who enjoys solving difficult challenges in the world, and creating new solutions to old problems. Maybe you want to learn a new field, a new technology, a new language or platform, or maybe you want to push yourself and become a specialist or expert in a specific field (going deep). Whatever you have planned next, that feeling of enthusiasm is always crushed by the weight of not knowing how or where to start. It happens to all of us, the sheer terror of sketching the first draft, or prototyping the first piece of kit. But like I said, this is a normal part of the process, it is necessary, as it provides a test of really how motivated you are. Many pipe-dreams or bad ideas will never survive the first contact with the enemy, the dreaded getting-started paralysis. So if you overcome this phase, the chances are you have started on a project that naturally floats your boat, and therefore stands a good chance of being finished.

So why not get started on something new today ? Set yourself a small project to do in your spare time, and see how far you get. You could be rolling out the next Facebook before you know it !

About the Author

Marcus O'Brien

Hi ! I’m Marcus O’Brien, I‘ve been a qualified Software Engineer for 20 years now. I chose engineering as a career because of my passion for learning anything to do with computing, be it programming languages, computer architectures or even operating systems. Now, after a journey through many diverse industries, I work for a video games company in Vancouver writing some of the best AAA and mobile game titles in the world! To keep my skills up-to-date, I work on several home projects involving many new areas of software, including genetic programming, swarm intelligence, artificial intelligence and recently robotics and automation. Technology to me is a fascinating, endless, almost infinite expanse of wonder. Every day, technology is moving us faster towards the future of mankind. Where will we end up? How will we develop and fit into this vast Universe? And more importantly, what is it going to look like when we get there?