This is my Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, where I answer various questions that I have received from consulting clients, recruiters, and human resource departments. The primary purpose of this page is to save us both time by providing answers to questions that have been asked before. The secondary purpose is to weed out people who I so not want to work for; anyone who doesn't bother reading my resume before contacting me is unlikely to read my written recommendations after they hire me.
ARE YOU CURRENTLY AVAILABLE?
I am not currently accepting new consulting clients, but this may change at any time. See below if you have an offer for full-time employment.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN LONG-TERM OR CONTRACT WORK?
In my experience that it doesn't matter. All work is contract work. I have had consulting positions that were extended again and again for years, and long-term positions that ended with the company shutting down after a few months. My focus is making good products, not on whether the position is long-term or temporary.
ARE YOU WILLING TO RELOCATE?
I have no problem with relocating, either permanently or for short-term projects. I often do contract work in other states for period ranging from a few weeks to many months, and have nothing tying me to southern California other than the best weather in the US.
ARE YOU WILLING TO TRAVEL?
I have no problem with traveling, and have held position with up to 60% travel. I have a valid passport and no criminal record or other issues that may impede foreign travel. You should be aware that I will try to do as much work as possible through telephone, email, and teleconferencing; travel is inconvenient for me and expensive for the company.
WILL YOU SEND ME A COPY OF YOUR RESUME IN MICROSOFT WORD FORMAT?
If you are a recruiter or work in human resources, your job description should include the ability to convert am HTML resume into whatever format you prefer. Also, Microsoft Word makes it difficult to communicate detailed technical information that calls for hyperlinks such as the one you followed to get to this FAQ.
WILL YOU SEND ME A COPY OF YOUR RESUME IN PLAIN TEXT FORMAT?
No. Select all, cut, and paste.
WHAT KIND OF PRODUCTS HAVE YOU DESIGNED?
Electronic toys, disk drives, VCRs, public Address systems, smog testers, an entire DVD-RAM production line, robots, aircraft parts, and many other electronic products.
HOW ARE YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT SKILLS?
I would rate myself as excellent in the area of project management. I have the technical ability and people skills to bring out the best in a team of hardware and software engineers, and I am skilled at the nuts and bolts of schedules and budgets.
HOW ARE YOUR ANALOG ELECTRONICS SKILLS?
I would rate myself as good to excellent in the areas of operational amplifier (opamp) circuits and analog to digital converters, and fair to good in transistor circuit design. Most of my transistor experience has been with microcontroller-based designs which use only simple transistor circuits.
HOW ARE YOUR DIGITAL ELECTRONICS SKILLS?
I would rate myself as excellent in microcontroller and microprocessor digital electronics, with some experience with ASICs, FPGAs, etc.
HOW ARE YOUR PROGRAMMING SKILLS?
Most of my software experience has been assembly language programming of microcontrollers. I have a lot of experience managing programmers, and have written small test programs in a variety of languages, but if you need a real programmer, I would be a poor choice. The best programmers devote their lives to it
HOW ARE YOUR AEROSPACE ENGINEERING SKILLS?
My aerospace engineering skills are mostly in the areas of designing electronics to test aerospace components, as opposed to designing the aerospace components themselves. Within that specialty, I rate my skills as excellent.
HOW ARE YOUR COMPUTER AND NETWORKING SKILLS?
I would rate myself as good to excellent in the area of personal computers and networks. When I am between engineering jobs, I freelance as a network administrator, and I often end up doing PC support for whatever engineering department I am working for in addition to my normal engineering duties.
HOW ARE YOUR AUDIO ENGINEERING SKILLS?
I would rate myself as excellent in the area of audio electronics, especially high-end recording studio electronics and high powered public address systems.
HOW ARE YOUR RADIO FREQUENCY SKILLS?
I would rate myself as generally poor in the area of radio frequency electronics, and fair to good in the sub-specialties of reducing radio emissions in digital designs and reducing radio frequency interference in low-noise analog designs. Radio frequency electronics is a bit of a Black Art, and you really need an expert.
HOW ARE YOUR MECHANICAL ENGINEERING SKILLS?
My mechanical engineering skills are generally poor to nonexistent, but I do have some skills in pneumatics and hydraulics.
HOW ARE YOUR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SKILLS?
Better than excellent. I am one of the top R&D engineers in my field, with an established reputation for creating products that are market successes. My track record in this area speaks for itself. I have often been compared to Doc Brown, the mad scientist from the "Back To The Future" movies; the kind of engineer you would hire if you wanted something built that nobody else knows how to build. That kind of job is my specialty.
WHAT ARE YOUR SALARY REQUIREMENTS?
That's like asking someone "how much will it cost to build a house?" One bedroom or Six? Beverly Hills or Death Valley?
That being said, the usual trange for engineering consultants is $100 to $200 per hour, and the usual range for engineering managemaent consultants is $150 to $399 per hour.
For those who really don't know how much engineers get paid, here are the figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor:
Region: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
Electronics Engineering Managers
Annual Salary 50th Percentile: $137,600.00
Annual Salary 75th Percentile: $162,320.00
Annual Salary 90th Percentile: $200,830.00
Electronics Engineers, Computer Hardware
Annual Salary 50th Percentile: $109,330.00
Annual Salary 75th Percentile: $135,710.00
Annual Salary 90th Percentile: $156,570.00
Electronics Engineers, Except Computer
Annual Salary 50th Percentile: $94,690.00
Annual Salary 75th Percentile: $121,890.00
Annual Salary 90th Percentile: $150,080.00
Electronics Engineering Technicians
Annual Salary 50th Percentile: $58,420.00
Annual Salary 75th Percentile: $72,230.00
Annual Salary 90th Percentile: $92,360.00
These numbers are for full time regular employees with full benefits. Figure at least twice that for contract employees or consultants.
I HAVE AN OPENING FOR A C++ developer...
And you decided that someone who listed as his last three jobs "Engineering Management Consultant", "Director of Engineering" and "Electrical Engineer" would be a good candidate? Next time, please try to put in at least some small effort into determining whether the person you contact is a reasonable fit for the job.
I AM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT (INSERT ILLEGAL QUESTION HERE)...
You may not be willing to ask, but there is no law against me volunteering information. I don't use drugs, not even tobaco or alcohol (I do use caffiene). I have no criminal record, not even an arrest. I have had a secret clearance in the past, and am eligable for a new one; you won't find any problems if you do a background check. I have been married for over 30 years, and have no children. I don't care what your poitics or religion is, who you sleep with, who your ancestors were, what recreational drugs you prefer, or anything else that is really none of my business.