If you are a small business, startup or entrepreneur developing a product and you’re looking for a team or an individual to contribute when it comes to electrical engineering, then there are a few things that you might want to take note of. We recently asked our own in house electrical engineer Ryan Wilshusen about steps he would take to qualify candidates who may wish to take on an electrical engineering role related to new product development. Shortly after we explained that we weren’t looking to replace him, he gave us these answers.
Q: Are there questions startup teams or business should ask companies like Leardon regarding their electrical engineering team specific to the project or in general?
Ryan: Potential customers should get a background on the electrical engineering team or individual. What’s their past experience? What have they designed in the past? How is that experience relevant to their product? It’s important to place a timeline on their experience; the electronic landscape changes on a daily basis. Make sure your engineering team is up to speed on the latest technologies so the design can take advantage of parts and processes that are common right now to ensure cost efficiency and a long product life.
Q: Are there areas of your trade that have the highest risk of potential failure? can those be avoided / if so / how ?
Ryan: Many engineers can make a functional electronic design. The tough part is finding experience with navigating that design through regulatory and safety requirements and creating a design that can be easily and cost effectively manufactured. The electrical design must be constrained by the requirements during the prototype stage to avoid undoing mistakes down the line.
Q: What are great traits of a top notch electrical engineer ?
Ryan: A good electrical engineer understands the system design of the product. A good electrical engineer understands how his or her design impacts the mechanical, firmware, software, regulatory, safety, and manufacturing of the overall system. The best thing for the electrical engineer is not always the best overall decision for the product.
Q: How would you recommend someone pre-screen an EE prior to hiring them?
Ryan: You can make the most of your pre-screen meeting by having someone on your team knowledgeable in electronics. They don’t need to be an electrical engineer but they should have some understanding of electronics. If all else fails, read some Wikipedia and Make articles. The goal is to avoid being duped by a poor designer.