Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works

How Can I be Better in My Field?

Attitude. The rules aren't in place to make lawyers happy, find out the reason for each rule. Ask why about everything. Read reference books. Listen to people and use their words so they don't have to guess what you mean.

How Can I be Better in My Field?

Greetings Douglas,

Hi! I am an Electrical Engineering student; how would I be better in my field of profession?

Thank you, D S

In any field of profession, whether a person can be "better" or not doesn't really depend on which books are best (over time that will change) or which school one goes to (most learning occurs after schooling), but how a person does will depend on a person's "Attitude".


Keep in mind that you will always need to learn new things. This is not just being able to look up formulas on how to design, but if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you have to know why.

Always ask why. When you are told to do something, whether in a book, or instructions from an inspector or instructor, you may not be given a solid reason other than "that is how it is done".

Get the "National Electrical Code Handbook" from the NFPA. Yes, it is the Code Book that you are supposed to follow, but it includes:
  • The full Electrical Code
  • The Appendix to the Code arranged with the section of the code it is referring to
  • The writer's and editor's explanations behind each section of the Code

Wonderful stuff. But don't stop there. Get other reference books and read them. I mean critically read them.

Spend some time in the field. See how systems actually work in real life. Sometimes real life conflicts a little with theory, so be willing to change theoretical designs to fit real life.

Listen to people, especially those who have to work with what you design. Sometimes, they use the incorrect words or they can't explain what they are experiencing very well. It's your job to figure out what they really mean.

You can use engineering language and acronyms with other engineers you are working with, but if you use Industry Jargon on technicians or installers, they just might not understand you. Use common language when you are not working with fellow engineers.

Douglas Krantz
Life Safety
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