puzzle pieces in the shape of exclamation and question marks

5 reasons to learn electronics

Other than the ability to work a keyboard and a web browser, knowing electronics isn’t something that’s required by my job or my day-to-day life. Or is it? The more I think about it, the more I think that there are lots of reasons for me to improve my knowledge of electronics. Here are just five of those reasons:

1) I love a puzzle

puzzle pieces in the shape of exclamation and question marks
Photo: Horia Varlan

I adore puzzles, and always have. My favorite video games have always been puzzle things like Myst and Two Dots, and I’d rather do a logic puzzle than watch TV. My number-one favorite toy when I was tiny was my Shape-O Ball, and my newest favorite is British-style cryptic crosswords. Electronics stuff is already hitting that same spot for me. You go in knowing what you want the project to do, and you have to figure out how to do it. It involves some math (which I like), some tinkering (which I like, to a point), and some intuitive confidence (which hey, I can learn).

2) I want to make the physical world do what I want it to

All around me, there are physical aspects of my world that would be better if I could program electronics. My house could be automated: even my rolling bed could roll itself!

My partner’s wheelchair joystick could swing out of his way when he wanted it to. My television could put itself away at night. Things like that are exciting for me to think about.

3) I like knowing new things

I have been going to school on and off since I was five. I finished my BA at age forty-six, and I’m thinking about what class to take next. I am learning Braille, and Arabic, and how to make YouTube videos. And, of course, I’m using the resources at TeachElectronics to learn electronics. The easy, self-paced style is essential for me, and I don’t have the money or time to do it at a traditional school.

4) I want to see my knowledge of classroom chemistry/physics in action

I have taken a large handful of classes in physics, chemistry, calculus, etc., but it’s all equations on paper. To a mind like mine, that’s a satisfying pursuit, but sometimes I feel I’m lacking in the real­-world application of these principles. Besides, when my kid says “When am I ever going to use algebra?” I can point to my latest electronics project and say “When you build one of these!”

5) I want to be a better citizen

Life is moving quickly, and every day brings some new story of self­-driving cars, robot probes on Mars, and identity-theft hackers. I want to understand the world around me and make good decisions (and good conversations!) about what’s going on in this increasingly technical world.  Being a well informed person can make me a better citizen.