27 Mar 2023

3-Week Hardware Engineering Curriculum Courtesy of ChatGPTc

I’ve been thinking more about the types of companies I’d want to start next and have gravitated toward hardware startups. The problem is, I don’t know anything about hardware engineering.

So the problem at hand is how quickly can I become an expert in hardware engineering to enable this type of future?

How Quickly Can You Become an Expert?

My mental model for approaching this is using the 100-hour rule, which is a derivative of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule from Outliers.

In short, the 100-hour rule is putting 100 hours of conscious work into something will instantly put you in the 96th percentile. The remaining 9,900 hours are to get you from the 96th percentile to the 99th percentile.

Scheduling + Constraints

I want to condense the timeline for learning as much as I can, but I am human (despite popular belief) and only have 24 hours in a day.

For me, here are the pre-allocated hours in a day:

  • 9 hours of sleep for learning and memory retention
  • 2 hours of leisure
  • 1 hour of working out

That means I have ~12 hours of work time per day:

  • On the weekdays that translates to about 4 hours per day
  • On weekends that is about 10-12 hours per day
  • Per week, that means I have 40 hours to get this done (5 weekdays 4 hours + 2 weekends 10 hours)

Based on these assumptions that means 100 hours = 2.5 weeks. Add in some buffer because I’m still a human and voilà, we're looking at a 3-week sprint.

Where Do I Start?

In my opinion, the hardest part of this journey is figuring out where to start. There are an overwhelming amount of resources on the internet and sequencing is going to be difficult because I don't know what I don't know.

I also acknowledge that no curriculum will be perfect, so I really just need a rough roadmap.

Enter ChatGPT

Luckily, ChatGPT basically thinks for you. I asked ChatGPT to build me a 2.5-week curriculum across 3 weeks to learn how to become a hardware engineer. Here it is.

Side note, this is a pretty interesting approach to rethink education as a whole.

Learn hardware engineering in 3 weeks

Here's a curriculum for learning hardware engineering in 2.5 weeks, spread across 3 weeks:

Week 1:

Day 1: Introduction to Hardware Engineering

Days 2-3: Digital Systems

Days 4-5: Analog Electronics

Week 2:

Day 6: Circuit Design and PCB Design

Day 7: Embedded Systems

Day 8: Microcontroller Programming

Day 9: Power Electronics

Day 10: Communication Systems

Week 3:

Day 11: Sensor Networks

Day 12: PCB Design and Fabrication

Day 13: Microcontroller Interfacing

Day 14: Internet of Things (IoT)

Day 15: Control Systems

Day 16: Signal Processing

Day 17: Power Electronics Applications

Day 18-19: Final Project and Review

  • Design and build a project that incorporates concepts learned throughout the curriculum
  • Review all concepts learned in the previous days to reinforce your knowledge 

Note that this curriculum is just a suggestion, and you may need to adjust it based on your interests and goals. Also, make sure to balance theoretical concepts with hands-on experience, as this is crucial to understanding hardware engineering concepts. Good luck on your learning journey!