What's the best way to solve a problem? Preventing the problem from occurring in the first place (or knowing exactly how to tackle an inevitable problem whenever it occurs). In this post, we're going to cover 8 of the most common RF engineering problems that impact RF engineers on the regular. Making yourself more aware of these frequent RF engineering problems will allow you to be more prepared with a solution (or even prevent them from happening in the first place). Less problems = better engineering productivity & happier RF engineers!
8 RF Engineering Problems That Impact RF Engineers on the Regular
1. Loss of Other Engineering Staff
Sometimes, things just don’t work out. People come and go, but it’s our job as a company to adapt to these changes. Certain people have certain skills. When these skills dissipate, someone else needs to adopt them. This makes for people taking on extra work, thus lengthening completion time of a specific product. It’s a downward slope. Finding a replacement isn’t always an easy task, but a little bit of networking can make it easier.
2. Quality Issues
A product can’t be a crappy one, right? How do we prevent crap? We test the quality. And that's one of the critical roles of RF engineering...designing quality.
If there is an issue with said “crappy product,” we must be able to fix it. Having that extra work can easily set the completion time back because we are spending time doing things we’ve already done.
Ever been indecisive? Customers seem to be all the time. An order that has already been started can easily be changed. When an order is changed, that means the work that’s been done also needs changed. Frustrating right? If customers were more clear sometimes, RF engineers might have less difficulty when fulfilling an order. This is just something that RF engineers need to understand and should be prepared to adapt to.
Time isn’t something we can get back. There are deadlines for everything, and everyone uses them. In engineering, everything takes a specific amount of time. It takes time to build a unit, to test a unit, to make repairs or changes, and all of these things make meeting a deadline very hard. If there is an issue with time, it probably can’t be fixed, at least not in a simple way. If there are more people trained in multiple areas, that would be a step in the right direction.
5. Product Reliability
Old Reliable? Not always. Looks can be deceiving. Obviously, some parts cannot be built within a certain plant, so they need to be ordered. When ordering parts from an outside source, you might not always know exactly what you’re getting. A part can look a certain way on the outside, but the inside could be corrupted, which brings upon issues. Testing a product for its reliability can also be a time-consuming task, which can be an issue, considering the deadlines we talked about before.
RF Engineering seems to involve a very diverse group of people. There are people from all ages and backgrounds in this field, which can make processes somewhat difficult. Someone who is 50 probably learned an entirely different curriculum during school than someone that is currently 21. Technology is always changing and improving, which can lead to work processes changing and improving as well. It’s hard to teach people an entirely different process for something when they’re so used to doing it a different way. I imagine this could become extremely frustrating.
RF Engineering is a very complex field. There is a lot of room for error, and a lot of room for things to become misconstrued. Communication is an important part of any job, and without it, people would get nowhere. A lack of communication can cause a lot of problems in radio frequency engineering because there are so many little details that could change at any time, and if someone doesn’t catch the changes, an entire product could get damaged or completed incorrectly. Perhaps keeping track of changes in some sort of log could lessen this difficulty. Sometimes people like to play telephone, and somebody could receive an entirely different message than they were supposed to if the messages aren’t relayed correctly.
8. The Need for More Women Engineers
This is an interesting topic. What is the male to female ratio in engineering? There aren’t a lot of women that become engineers. The field is growing in that aspect, but it still isn’t quite there yet. Naturally, when you’re one of the few females in a certain field, people may think that you know less than them or aren’t as qualified. That’s not always the case. Being a female in a man-based field can be intimidating, but it also creates diversity and different perspectives. Women think differently than men, so I find it important to have a good mixture in any field. This can allow for more critical thinking and different approaches towards designing a product.