It is difficult for electrical and computer engineering (ECE) students to master the field’s many technical terms, abbreviations, and acronyms. While topics like resistance, capacitance, voltage, current, and power are typically covered in high school physics, freshman engineering students quickly find themselves studying mysterious concepts like Wheatstone bridges, Zener diodes, and Schottky transistors. To make things even more challenging, engineers frequently speak and write with abbreviations. Students are soon overwhelmed by BLE, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ad/af/ah/ai MAC and PHY, WLANs, LPWANs, RFID, 900-MHz RF, 2.4-GHZ RF, ISM bands, and IoT RF and BDA. This blog post will cover three ways students can get help ASAP, before their GPA is affected!
Jameco Electronics glossary
Jameco Electronics has a helpful electronics glossary at www.jameco.com/Jameco/workshop/learning-center/glossary.html. It contains 372 concisely defined terms, with typical definitions roughly 12 to 20 words long. This glossary tends to focus on technical concepts of electronic circuits, with relatively few acronyms and abbreviations. The whole glossary is presented as a single list, which makes it easy to print for offline use.
Maxim Integrated glossary
Maxim Integrated has a much larger glossary (1,040 terms) at www.maximintegrated.com/en/glossary/definitions.mvp/terms/all. This is also presented as a single list, but it is probably longer than most people would want to print. This glossary is not as concise as the Jameco Electronics glossary, but it includes richer details that connect the various concepts to each other and to the history of electronics. The Maxim Integrated glossary also includes many abbreviations and hyperlinks to detailed articles.
Hobby Projects glossary
A third glossary is available from Hobby Projects at www.hobbyprojects.com/dictionary/electronics-terms.html. It is closer in size to the Maxim Integrated glossary, but its selection of terms and concise writing style more closely resemble the Jameco Electronics glossary. Unlike the other two glossaries, the Hobby Projects glossary has a separate HTML page for each letter of the alphabet, which makes it lessfriendly for scrolling and printing. The Hobby Projects glossary is just a small part of a very large reference site that also includes a schematics symbol reference (www.hobbyprojects.com/schematics_circuits_symbols.html), a list of electronics formulas (www.hobbyprojects.com/electronic_formula.html), a list of abbreviations (www.hobbyprojects.com/abbreviations/electronics-abbreviations.html), and much more.
A key to success in any field is understanding the jargon of the discipline, and this is particularly important in ECE. By referring frequently to the tools listed above, students can quickly climb the learning curve and understand instructors’ lectures and textbooks in greater depth.