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Hello, i would want to know about computer science, robotics, and how to make a computer?

Hello, my name is alex and i am interested in computers, robots, and just about everything that relates to computers and technology.

I really wanted to become a electrical pr mechanical engineer, so i wanted to know if i could supported a family of 3 with the salary of a electrical engineer.

Also, is mechanical engineering all about making things, like cars, or is it about making cars in a way to make them faster, more appealing , and less heavy but still stable?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Roy’s Answer

Hi Alexander, your curiosity and ambition are already leading you in the right direction. Continue to ask questions, conduct research, and stay engaged in your quest for knowledge.

Consider exploring renowned institutions like MIT, Cal Poly, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute for more insights.

Given the rapid advancements in the field, I recommend delving into areas like AI Artificial Intelligence, GEN AI, and Open AI. These fields are not only pushing the boundaries of computer technology but are also challenging our understanding of human capabilities.

On the mechanical front, explore CAD (Computer Aided Designs). This area is heavily intertwined with computer technology.

Instead of a typical summer job, consider securing an internship, even if it's voluntary or involves shadowing a professional. Look around your local area for engineers, either in the mechanical field or any other. Spend some time with them, engage in conversations, and observe their work. This will give you a clearer picture of what they do and why they do it, helping you make informed career decisions in the future.
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Elena’s Answer

Hello Alexander!

I also have been always interested in robotics, and I took a career in computer science. I cannot speak to the mechanical engineering part of your question unfortunately.

From a computer science perspective, there's a vast range of fascinating things you can do in robotics without delving into mechanical engineering. If you're more inclined towards programming the functions of robots rather than designing the physical machine, then read on.

If your goal is to understand how to make robots perform useful tasks, I'd recommend starting with something basic like a Raspberry Pi. This would require you to learn Python, as it's the primary language used. Additionally, you might want to consider purchasing some additional components, often referred to as "hats", to explore the possibilities of electronics. In the past, I've bought a kit filled with various sensors to understand their potential uses.

You can find such kits on your preferred online shopping platform. Brands like Sparkfun and Pimoroni offer some intriguing options, but don't limit yourself to these - there are plenty of other vendors who might offer similar kits at more competitive prices.

For the actual robotics part, a good understanding of physics is crucial as it provides the groundwork for making robots move. Most robotics courses also frequently use Matlab, so learning the C programming language would be beneficial.
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Dan’s Answer

Absolutely, a career in electrical or mechanical engineering can certainly provide a salary that's more than enough to support a three-person family. On average, a beginner in the field can expect to earn around $80,000 annually, or roughly $40 per hour. This figure can fluctuate between $60,000 and $100,000, depending on factors such as the employer and geographical location.

If you manage to save about 10% of an $80,000 salary in your company's retirement plan each year, and assuming a 7% annual increase in the stock market, you'll amass around $1.6 million by the time you retire. In fact, it could be even more, as most employers usually match your savings by around 4% ($3,200 annually), potentially adding an extra $650,000 to your retirement fund. You can verify these figures yourself by using a "Simple Savings Calculator" online.

As for your inquiry about mechanical engineering, it's indeed a field where your ideas come to life. The daily tasks across different engineering disciplines such as electrical, mechanical, civil, and chemical can significantly vary based on the industry, company, department, and your personal interests. Your university studies will introduce you to various disciplines within your chosen degree, allowing you to gradually focus on your specific interests as you progress through your coursework.

Once you enter the professional world, you'll have the opportunity to transition from one area of mechanical engineering to another. For example, you might initially design car transmissions, but later shift to improving engines or enhancing the aerodynamic design of vehicle bodies. This progression largely depends on your interests, your employer, available job positions within the company, and your readiness to relocate if necessary. In my own 40-year career span, I've had the chance to work on a wide array of projects, including electronic strip chart recorders, payphones, metal manufacturing, weather systems, freight locomotives, mass transit systems, safety certifications, and management.

Engineering is not only an exciting field but also a financially rewarding one!
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Mark’s Answer

My advice is to find the oldest computer you can find; one that you know will eventually bore you.

I started programming on a Texas Instruments TI 99/4. It took me a few months to figure out everything it could do.

After you do that, get a slightly more advanced computer. One where you might run out of stack space, for example. Then keep going.

It is literally impossible to figure out everything today's computers can do. If you start learning on the computer you are using now then you will very likely only frustrate yourself, because today's computers can do anything you want them to do.
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Jenna’s Answer

Hi, Alex!

I had a similar question to one of yours: How do you go from nothing to building a modern computer? The way I learned this was by watching a YouTube channel created by Ben Eater where he builds a computer from scratch using breadboards, which are very large and basic electronic components. He replaces the pieces he builds with computer components that do the same things that are much smaller, so he can keep building up from there. He will lead you through a basic idea of an electrical signal, encoding that electrical signal, a tiny diode and transistor, how those become logic gates, how those become foundational computer components, and how those then become the basic architecture of a computer and how instructions become assembly language and then a higher-level language. He also explains things like keyboards and the images on screens.

This is a massive amount of knowledge taught in a very simple, accessible way. I did not build a breadboard computer myself with one of the kits that he sells, but I spent significant time watching and rewatching his videos and took extensive notes. And I understood a great deal. Then I watched other people's videos about modern CPU's and storage, and I especially liked one where someone broke open a famous CPU and looked at it under a very strong microscope. This helped me as a self-taught software engineer to build intuition for digital electronics. The great thing about technology and software is that there is a great deal of learning material free or cheap online. The trick is to find someone teaching in a very interesting way that you enjoy and centering their educational content on very clear, specific, practical questions.

~Jenna
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