2021-02-17 08:35:30

I am considering building things with arduinos and other robotic things as a career instead of the typical college and then job search path. Though I would still like to go to college for these skills. However, I don't know what skills and knowledge I need to work with robotics. I know there is mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics depending on what it is I am doing, and coding. But I don't know the terminology that I am looking for, or if there are multiple fields for this stuff, and which field I want to zoom in on.

Nagy

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2021-02-17 08:56:39 (edited by magurp244 2021-02-17 09:59:41)

Mostly what you've mentioned, mechanical/electrical engineering, computer science, etc. Some of the terms might vary a bit though, like electronics, some universities also have Robotics or AI focused courses, etc. You could also jump right in and start playing around with arduinos/raspi's like with the [Blind Arduino Blog] or [Rasbperry VI] or [regular forums]. You can also buy various motor controllers and motors off amazon that have dupont jumpers and just plug and play them with the pi's and arduinos by writing with its C like syntax or Python, or take on any number of other open source projects, or other things like on Hackaday.io. Really depends on what you have in mind, though degree's in such fields can also have a number of wider, more varied applications.

Oh, and picking up Soldering might be handy. There's some guides for the blind on that [here], which also contains a lot of useful info on electronics.

-BrushTone v1.3.3: Accessible Paint Tool
-AudiMesh3D v1.0.0: Accessible 3D Model Viewer

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2021-02-17 09:24:17

Wow, thats news for me. I already developed stuff with an Arduino, but I had serious issues getting used to the connectors due to their sizeand therefore connecting the cables to the correct pin etc. Will have to browse those links too I guess.

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2021-02-17 16:05:03

I would aim for CS, not robotics.  You can do robotics/electrical engineering/mechanical engineering at the low end.  Certainly enough to have fun with it.  You can do it if you're on an understanding team with coworkers who do the hardware and give you the software part to program.  But at the high level, all of that stuff is very complicated and inaccessible diagrams and, depending exactly what you wanted to do in 5 years, the amount of math involved can end up making the CS degree look like an English major by comparison.

It's probably possible in the sense that there's that blind guy who climbed Mount Everest, but the real question is: is it fun after you finish accommodating yourself, and is it something where you can compete in the job market?  I don't know for sure because I've only looked into this to a point, but I'm pretty sure the answer ends up being no.

@hijacker
Breadboards are troublesome because it's hard to feel the holes, but most chips have a standard pin ordering and a tactile-enough marker to show you which ends goes which way.  If you're very careful about organizing your capacitors and resistors and things so that you can tell them apart and also very good at holding complex circuit designs in your head, yeah, you can do it.  I did some in college.  The blockers are that if you go in certain directions you're looking at literally a hundred wires or so, checking your work on the breadboard is a pain, and there's very few good tools.  For instance a lot of stuff turns into "look at the oscilloscope".  We could probably make an accessible one, but it's one of those "the sighted person spent 5 seconds and I'm still at it 5 minutes later" things.

For an idea, one of the college homework assignments had so many wires in a close enough space that you couldn't reach the breadboard and chips underneath and had to sort of thread the rest of them down with your eyes.  That was at a lower level than a microcontroller, and microcontrollers do greatly simplify circuitry.  But there is a genuine scaling problem that doesn't apply to programming which is why most of us who consider the hardware path abandon it quickly.

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2021-02-18 01:58:17

Camlorn makes some good points, working with electronics can be challenging, especially depending on your setup or project. But I think its still a really useful skill to have, even if you don't always use it, for things like repairs, tinkering, or being a DIY maker. These days though, there are also a number of [Arduino], [Raspberry PI], and [PCB simulators] that can allow people to sketch out and test circuits right on their PC without having to touch any hardware or breadboards, which could then be sent off to services like [PCBWay] for assembly/production. However, I don't think any of those particular simulators are at all accessible, but that could also make for an interesting future software project.

-BrushTone v1.3.3: Accessible Paint Tool
-AudiMesh3D v1.0.0: Accessible 3D Model Viewer

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2021-02-18 02:34:08

O, it's certainly useful.  You can also apply e.g. soldering to other things.  But if someone is going to say career, not so much.

But: why not just do software without a college degree?  I think a more apt point is that if you do hardware stuff you have to jump through certification hoops, sometimes by law.  You can't just make a thing and sell it without a bunch of legal infrastructure, and you're much more likely to get a job without a degree in programming land.  There's also scaling issues in the sense that when you do electronics, making 50 is like 100 to 1000 times more expensive than making 5000. And I'm being literal with that 1000.

How an actual electronics product goes is this.  Let's assume it's got some moving parts and stuff like that.  You get out some 3D modelling software and 3D print version 1, probably through shapewways or something, or just by getting a 3d printer for a few thousand bucks.  That'll cost you like $100 for a batch of parts to make one, no matter how you slice it--even if you have a printer and buy filament, filament goes pretty fast and isn't cheap.  Then you get an arduino and everything else to run that for $50 to $100 per unit.  That gets you your prototypes, at several hundred dollars a piece before labor.  You probably need a sighted assistant to do the CAD design for the 3D printer, and possibly also the circuitry.  This applies even for stupid simple stuff like toys for kids, though if you prototype lots of stuff you could reuse the components.

The final version will be $5 to $10 each for the electronics.  You'll run it on something like an MSP430 which you can order in bulk for around a dollar, you'll invest in a bulk programmer for those so you can upload the software hundreds at a time, you'll send your blueprints or whatever to be run on a CNC machine or to some other bulk manufacturer.  In general the per-unit cost is anywhere from 10 to 1000 times less. *but* you've got minimum runs.  You'll have to make a thousand of them at once, even for your first batch.

Point being, if you've got some product idea it either needs to be something where people will happily pay $200 or $300 or whatever and just eat the fact that you assembled it yourself, or you'll probably need an investor in order to get enough money for the initial runs to sell the product at $20.

This isn't impossible.  If you have a good product idea and get a prototype together you can seek out investors.  But if you're looking for an easier path than programming, this is probably roughly as hard as going to college with respect to bootstrapping the business.  If bootstrapping a business is more your kind of thing then maybe you want to consider it but I'd look at it more from the entrepreneurial angle where you're the one responsible for running the company, not for building and assembling the
things.

But to circle back to my original point, software is you sign up for Stripe or something, the user downloads it and pays you, and your effective cost can be as low as like $100 a month if you're the one answering the support e-mails.  No certifications, no real legal hoops, the hardest bit is you maybe need someone sighted to help make the UI look nice.

If you're trying to figure out how to build a resume without going through college, and you don't care if you do electronics or programming and the point is just getting a job at the end, find open source projects and volunteer.  Either you get a job with "I contributed to these 6 things for the last few years" or you get a job because one of the OSS projects posts a position and you apply and say "I already contribute" and they say "cool, have some money".  I got into the interview process at Mozilla twice because of my Rust compiler work.

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Twitter: @camlorn38

2021-02-18 02:43:43

@6
are you saying that you can get jobs in the programming field without a degree?
also about the 3d printing thing and sighted assistance you are partially correct but you don't need the assistance to make the design. There is a 3d printing software called openscad that lets you make your designs using a scripting language. You do need sighted assistance to see if your design turns out how you wanted it to but that's all in the case of 3d printing.

When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make Life take the lemons back! get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, What the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life‘s manager! Make Life rue the day it’ thought  it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I am the man who’s gonna burn your house down! with the lemons!

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2021-02-18 03:01:43

@7
O sure. You can get a job in programmming without a degree.  I've said that lots of times on here before.  Problem is, you'll have to get knowledge equivalent to said degree, and have the experience to prove it.  This is doubly true as a blind person.  So instead of college, think sitting at home programming your ass off for some open source projects for a few years, then studying your ass off to learn all the data structure and algorithms and etc. that college didn't teach you so that you can pass interviews.  If you're in high school and you're going "I will go into CS without college", yeah, but it'll take a fuckton of personal discipline maintained over several years plus someone understanding and/or another source of money that leaves you enough time to do the aforementioned programming your ass off part.  But if you (say) go contribute to the Linux kernel or something for the next couple years?  Yeah, someone will totally hire you.  And that's true of any other big, important OSS project, many of which are not in fact written in C and requiring a good bit of pre-existing expertise.

As for OpenSCAD, I know about it, but you're incorrect as to the utility.  You can indeed do models in a scripting language, but you have no effective way to check the output and, if the output is wrong, even printing it won't show you how because you'll only see the collapsed form or whatever.  Additionally, you will have to be doing something where you can hold the entire design in your head, which immediately limits the complexity that you can achieve.  You won't be able to collaborate with sighted engineers, because sighted engineers will want to use non-stupid tools that are actually convenient.  And finally, most 3D printers have steps after OpenSCAD that are visual, especially for the higher precision/more advanced ones.

I'm speaking from experience, in the sense that I did go down all the avenues.  This isn't Camlorn the hypothetical knowledge person, this is Camlorn the wanted to do this kind of stuff but found out that there's a bunch of barriers that stop you person.  I've done OpenSCAD research, I've looked into various ways to make electronics, I've looked into whether or not you can do verilog or vhdl without sighted help, etc etc etc.  It is definitely possible to do something, but it doesn't scale at all and you immediately hit walls you cannot surpass without being cured of blindness or something.  I would say it's definitely impossible to do it at a professional level except that I'm sure that there's a counterexample; I will instead say that I believe it to be impossible without a very understanding team and a lot of continuous support that a blind programmer doesn't require from their employer.  In practice you become the software guy on the team who programs the microcontroller or whatever, but you still run into debugging problems because of things like not having good accessible oscilloscopes and not being able to see colors/lights and so on.  In my opinion, you might as well become the kick-ass programmer being as that's easier to do, especially if you're not going to go to college, and has a *much* higher upside when it comes to what you'll be able to do with your career and where you'll be able to go work at.

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Twitter: @camlorn38

2021-02-18 04:03:39 (edited by magurp244 2021-02-18 05:17:24)

@7
Degree's have their uses, but generally they have less value compared to a good portfolio or project contribution. Part of the reasoning behind that is that a degree doesn't definitely prove you can actually do the things your supposed to know, although some certifications have moved to skill based subsets. This doesn't mean they aren't useful, just not as useful by themselves.

As for 3D Printing, i'll offer my own insights. A good solid 3D printer to work with would be something like the Prusa Mini for 350$ US, which takes a lot of the pain of calibration out of using it, but you'd still need some effort to deal with issues like bed adhesion or misprints, etc. PLA 3D filament also goes for about 22$ US a kilo, so how fast you burn through it depends on what your printing and how much, but generally you get quite a bit of mileage out of a spool. These kinds of printers though also depend on what materials your working with, Metal or Resin printers for example could be a bit more pricey. Controlling it can be done through something like Pronsole hooked up to a computer, and while serviceable its still janky. OpenSCAD also works, but as pointed out viewing the model results is a problem, which is why I developed AudiMesh3D to sonify STL Models with OpenSCAD. Its pretty rough, but its something and i'd like to improve on it. After that you have to process the model using a slicer which you can do on the command line, and feed it into the printer for printing, this is made a little easier with AudiMesh3D for placement but can have a bit of a learning curve to it. While all this is possible, much of the interfaces and software tool pipeline needs a serious overhaul from an accessibility UI standpoint.

Practically speaking, going into the software side first definitely has its advantages, not the least of which being you can write your own tools.

-BrushTone v1.3.3: Accessible Paint Tool
-AudiMesh3D v1.0.0: Accessible 3D Model Viewer

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2021-02-18 04:14:38

@8 i have a couple of questions about stuff you said but i don't want to derail the topic, mind if i PM you? I know your busy so i don't expect rapid responces but i think you can clear up somethings for me

When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make Life take the lemons back! get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, What the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life‘s manager! Make Life rue the day it’ thought  it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I am the man who’s gonna burn your house down! with the lemons!

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2021-02-18 16:46:42

@10
E-mail is probably way better.  I'm not sure why people still try to use PM.  [email protected]  Can people not see the e-mail links for those of us who set them?

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Twitter: @camlorn38

2021-02-18 20:54:22

What made me think this was going to be doable? Lol. I'm just trying to find myself. I've probably spent so much time thinking about the half a million jobs I can't do, tht I haven't got a clue what jobs I can do. Jobs that are innovative or creative. There is art, but I'm not an art person. Coding is the most creative I have gotten. But a career with coding sounds like a nightmare.

Nagy

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2021-02-18 21:16:20

I mean I make 6 figures, work remote, lead projects, have unlimited vacation as long as my work gets done, and everyone I work with knows what they're doing and is friendly.  I'm 29, that's a great achievement for 29.  Go to Google or something and you literally get free lunch every day, but literally the worst thing I can say about my current job is that though I have a 401k, I don't have 401k matching--but I'm at a tech startup so I have equity, and if we succeed I basically retire.

Not sure where you got the idea it's a nightmare.  Almost everything else is a nightmare compared to programming.  Most sighted people don't retire until their late 60s or 70s, if ever, and work thankless 10 to 12 hour days 6 or 7 days a week.  I'm planning to be retired by 50 at the latest, and am sad that my life got derailed by health in my early 20s because if it hadn't I'd be retiring by 35 or 40.

The hardest part is college and/or college equivalent experience since you need that to get in, and maybe your first job is shit because you want a resume and opt to put up with it, which is what I did.  But unlike most other fields there's way more demand for programmers than programmers so if you end up somewhere lame after you've got a few years of experience under your belt, you can just leave for somewhere else.

Also not sure where you got the idea that the hardware side of the equation is better.  In terms of everything but what your actual job is--that is, insurance, 401k, work culture--it's identical because you're literally working at tech startups or big companies. The big companies are the same ones who hire software guys, and the tech startups are generally "we're a tech startup that does some hardware, this is Bob the C++ programmer and here's your microcontroller".

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Twitter: @camlorn38

2021-02-19 03:51:06

Jesus Christ. Are you sure you are not just a lucky one? Lol. It sounds like you have to be a natural to get there. And even if not, I'm barely getting started. I'm still struggling to create a menu based game lol. I'm getting further as I go, but for me it is not a piece of cake.

Nagy

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2021-02-19 05:11:22

I know a number of other blind people who have done it.  If I think about it I think I could come up with at least 10, though apart from myself I don't think I know anyone where I could point a random unknown off the internet at them.

I started programming at 12.  I didn't release my first project until 20 or 21 or something like that.

Much of your difficulty--much of what college teaches you--is that you're probably not learning in an organized way.  Project-based learning doesn't scale well, where you decide you're doing a project and damn that project is going to happen.  Being frustrated isn't really compatible with learning, and setting your goal as something specific that you can't do right now is a great way to just be frustrated instead of getting anything out of it.  I attribute much of my success to having come at it from a different perspective, where the primary motivating factor was hey aren't computers neat I wonder what makes them go, and then one day I found a project and did it.  And it sucked.  We don't talk about camlorn_audio.  But camlorn_audio was my "and now the pieces fit" a-hah moment where years of interest payed off and I saw how it fit together.  After that big projects stopped being frightening.

When you do college you spend a year or two writing very tiny programs that do very boring things.  You'll spend an entire semester covering just if statements, loops, and functions.  Programming is sort of engineering.  There's no instant gratification at the beginning, and chasing instant gratification at the beginning is often harmful.  The thing that college does that's useful is it imposes a fixed structure and guides your learning down productive paths.  Yeah the classes are nice, but really what's useful is that there's a place to ask questions and the homework/syllabus etc is always saying "now go here next" or "you need this first".

You're probably freaking about these timelines.  But you've got to remember: the average programmer doesn't program before college, and goes and learns it in 4 years.  It took me from 12 to 20 or so because until like 19 I was doing high school and stuff and a few hours on the weekend is never going to really do it for something so complicated as coding, because by the time you really get started you're out of time for a week or whatever.  If you sit down and do it intensively a few years to be Amazon-level competent is reasonable.  You probably won't get into Amazon because there's 99 Amazon junior level engineers who all interviewed for your position and they're going to just basically randomly pick one; but go to a good college and you come out of it with that kind of knowledge.

Some sighted people--at least 1 of my coworkers, but i think 2--did the even faster path of coding bootcamp.  Those work if you find a reputable one and can get someone from not knowing much to junior-level resume in 3-4 months.  But they're expensive and very far from an ideal environment for a blind developer.

In so much as I was lucky, I was privileged enough to have a family who could support me through college.  Beyond that, yes, talent plays some role.  Whether or not everyone can learn programming is an open debate, I come down weakly on the side of they can't.  But a lot of that is more to do with, I guess being inspired by it?  Some people see a keyboard and know that music is going to be their thing; some people see a computer and just start tearing it apart and finding out what's inside and etc.  Half of programming is art, in a really hard to describe way.  at least, at the level I'm at where it's not "implement this class with these 5 functions that do exactly this stuff" anymore.  If you're not inspired you can definitely force it, but you'll never be as good as the person who it spoke to.

But as to how I stack up?  Hard to tell, except that I've got at least 2 coworkers who make me look like a newbie.  I think that currently my primary advantage is that I'm interested in things.  I learn bits of math and algorithms and such just because I get curious and have an hour to kill, so I go look up how a thing works.  Then I forget most of it, but a little bit stays around and suddenly 6 months later it proves useful that I knew about b-trees or this weird C++ feature or whatever.  Now imagine that over 10 or 15 years and it gets really impressive fast.  Combine that with having the experience necessary to work on large codebases and you get to throw words like full-stack engineer around.

Blindness jobs go one of two ways.  It's either something average paying minimum wage or less.  Or it's something super high paying like programmer.  I think there's some blind lawyers, some of the top Randolph Sheppard spots make 6 or 7 figures, and my brother's business may very well take off in a couple years and do the same for him (also blind; he's doing dumpster rentals in Florida with a friend, and even 5 trucks aren't enough. They just have to pay back their loans).  But high paying is always going to take time and work.  I'm where I am because it's been the last 10 years of my life plus high school hobby.  I didn't get here by winning some sort of programmer lottery.  I could have been much less lucky.  "I can't go to college and don't have enough discipline to learn what I need without it","I don't have a roof over my head", there's lots of ways to be unlucky enough that you can't pull it off.  Being able to dedicate a few years of your life to just accumulating knowledge and skill in anything you care to name is privilege of a sort, But it's not as bleak as you think and there are lots of ways to work your way up--especially if you're disabled, because let's be honest, people love to give disabled people scholarship money and stuff like that.  And if you can't sit in a room and learn on your own?  Well, neither can 90% of humanity, "this is my room and I will learn x and it will take a year of intense work" *is* very hard, which is another thing college helps with.

I think this just circles back to you not having particularly realistic timelines.  You must learn how to think about something that's going to take years if you want to be a functional adult.  You must find strategies to make yourself do things when nothing and no one else is pushing you.  I don't see your problem as not being able to program.  I see your problem as you defeating yourself because every time you bring up stuff it's pretty clear that you aren't thinking in adult mode yet.  That's fine, but don't make the mistake of flailing around hoping that you'll land on something.  You won't.  I'm not saying do programming.  If you don't want to program, don't.  But for the things you say you want, you'll have to figure out what you are going to stick with, then make yourself stick with it.  Programmig isn't a bad one, because even if you did turn out to be a lame coder you'll still have a job.  But seriously, most people decide they want to be a programmer professionally before they even touch a programming language, then they go make that happen.  And for most, it involves 8-10 hour days 5 days a week of learning for a few years, or less learning plus a job to make ends meet, or whatever.  But, so does every other field where you can have a career with a retirement as opposed to a job where you're an interchangeable cog.

And yes. I am saying "this thing will take as long as all of high school".  Most big life things that adults do take way longer than I think you think they do; just moving to Seattle was a month.  Not planning it or the prep or anything like that, just the physical process of packing stuff up on one side, unpacking it on the other, finding the apartment, learning the local area enough to be left alone.  I effectively had infinite money for the move because I'd saved up for it over a long time, but it still took 6 months total if you count the planning and scheduling when people would be available and all the things like that.  This is a *small* adult project.  I could have probably done it faster if it was me and the clothes on my back and nothing else and also there had been someone at the far side to help, I guess.  But I don't think I have a single life goal at the moment that will be completed in under a year.

This is already quite long and rambling, so I'll just finish with this.  Work is a small tech company that's been around for something like 5 years.  The company is nonetheless thinking about the next 2 or so at all times.  The bigger guys--the Amazon and Google of the world?  They've got 5 and 10 year plans.  Apple currently has a rough idea what's going to happen in 2023 or 2024, probably down to the product.  They're probably already working on it as we speak.  This is just how the world is.

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Twitter: @camlorn38

2021-02-19 11:53:52 (edited by Zarvox 2021-02-19 12:01:38)

What are some ways I can learn about realistic timeline expectations? Or is the only one experience? You're right about my ignorance of timeframes. Often i tell myself that something is taking too long, so there is no point or I won't get anywhere. I don't feel that way with python though. If I have a project that I don't yet have enough knowledge for, I put it on the back burner and work on other projects that I know I can do. I learn knowledge with those projects and I still get something done, and eventually I can return to my bigger back burner project and either attempt a rewrite, or continue working on where I left off. So it isn't like I am constantly banging my head on the wall on one project over and over 24/7; I do have other things that I can focus on and put the project to the side, but not trash it. With me, I rarely ever trash projects. I may end up doing several rewrites, but each rewrite shows progress and gives me a better idea of what I have learned since last time, and what I still need to work on. I have like 2 huge projects I know I want to eventually put all of my attention on, a few side projects for learning/gradification, and I even have a small publically released project that I update from time to time. With those 2 projects I have gotten somewhere, but it isn't clean and it isn't organized. So I would rather take my time and rewrite it several times, like twice a year, to get it in better conditions. As for learning, I think my error lies in the fact that I don't do learning exercises from webpages or other online references. I am really only learning from the projects I do, which is a very limited scope.

Nagy

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2021-02-19 17:04:47

Hey 14. You sound young. I'm actually 24 and I too am making 6 figure salary working remote etc. And you know, I started to learn to use a computer at age 15. I wouldn't worry so much about being natural at anything.
There is a much lower barrier to entry into programming as compared to about 20 or so years ago.
I won't go into the electronics part as there have been some good replies about that already. But just to put things into perspective, I went to college, majored in both Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and I still picked programming. The way I think about it, it just works!
I actually have done many hobby projects with Arduinos and Raspberry Pi. Things like custom mp3 player with speech, a simple device to play games with a custom controller using Retroarch, and simple circuits to control things around the house. But the keyword is hobby. I have a lot of knowledge about circuits and understand the Physics and Math, but as a blind person working professionally as an engineer, yeah, sadly that is not something I see as showing me any true satisfaction for the amount of work I would have to put in just to be on par with my peers.
The closest thing to me using my EE degree is when I was working as an Embedded Systems Engineer. But I would even consider that using my Computer Science skills more than my EE skills. It was just low-level programming with some occasional schematic referencing for pins and on-chip systems.
But if that's the path you truly want to take, no questions, then I would consider partnering up with mentors from places like NFB etc. There are some blind engineers. And post 2 beat me to the resources. Those are some good ones. I sought out someone to prove to my professors that blind people can solder. And now I know how to do it. You might also look into BlindMath or RaspberryVI mailing lists. That's where the real conversations take place with some really smart people. And I think NFB might also have a list for electrical engineers.
But funnily, there is a colloquial, yet somewhat formal term for what you describe in post 1, and it's Mechatronics. And it is offered in select few universities.
Usually, robots and such are built by a team of engineers, each specializing in different engineering disciplines. So it's not like one person would have to know all the intricacies of every field involved. The fundamental knowledge is certainly physics and math.

2021-02-19 17:11:44

I don't know how to learn about timelines, other than to bang your head against it.  You're far from the first person to hit the end of high school and basically go "holy shit this adulting thing".  I can go off on a whole tangent about how schools are literally jail and how the only real difference is that you're not stuck there at night without even being sarcastic in the slightest, but the problem relevant to you at this point is that they're basically entirely unrealistic.  The real world doesn't give you a due date of next week and several hours of homework every day, but every school ever claims that somehow setting expectations like that "prepares you for the future".  Suffice it to say that if I ever had a child, I'd not be putting them through it.

I think that the best way to think about this is that sighted people spend 2 years in college for the equivalent of manager at Walmart, and 4 years or more for programmer, teacher, CEO, things like that.  A lot of jobs that you wouldn't think need college need college, and while needing college is a problem it's also useful to look at it as something where adults are okay with the timeline even though from your perspective it probably seems ridiculous.

The problem is that in your case you've decided that there's this pressure to succeed while simultaneously deciding that there's no hope.  Relax.  I doubt your dad is bad enough that you have to leave the house.  Where you are might not seem so great but you've got a roof and time to think and plan.  Make use of it and stop expecting success tomorrow.  Seriously no one gets success tomorrow.

As for your learning you won't really make progress at this point until you do get formal about it.  College will force the issue if you go there, but the sort of project-based learning I'm saying is bad includes what you're doing.  Don't reinvent the wheel all the time.  You don't need to do the exercises, but at this point you should start finding software engineering resources and being disciplined about it.

Also, maybe don't do games first.  Even small audiogames are harder than a web backend service.  You can probably work your way through the Django tutorials in a few days.  Or learn a bit of react.  There's lots of other things where there's tons and tons of resources.  Audiogames have almost nothing to help you learn specifically for audiogames, and even if you get to sighted game resources you start dealing with more complex algorithms and things on day one.

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Twitter: @camlorn38

2021-02-20 15:16:33 (edited by Zarvox 2021-02-20 15:26:56)

@18 I have done a bit of general research on cs majors and real life applications to get a fuller picture. If you wish to read the few short articles I saved, I will link them at the end of this post. I will need to study more terminology and career path details.
This sounds hard and scary, and it is going to take a lot for me to push from the lower 50% into the higher 50%. But I am the only one who can stop me from getting there. I have the resources for college, and it is free in my state. And as long as I know what is coming next and I do a bit of research before hand so I have a basic understanding when entering each class, I should do alright. Though I'm not sure if I am excited about math. I like it, but sometimes my head hurts from it. Integrals in calculus, the polar system in trigonometry, everything to do with geometry, etc. I like learning it, but there is a lot to keep up with in such a short amount of time to process. Well that's due to the class setting. After college I will have to do my own studies at my own pace, so that pressure won't be as tense. And I also have to keep in mind, I have only taken math in a high school setting, so I can not assume college is the same. And on top of that, each professor can teach the way they want. So I can not have the same mindset going into college, expecting the pressure to be exactly the same level. But one thing I am very concerned about is how I will do work for the class, if it is online. Do you have any tips or answers to help with online math?

personal values checklist:
https://www.wayup.com/guide/computer-sc … jor-right/
pros and cons:
https://careersidekick.com/major-in-computer-science/
information and requirements:
https://study.com/articles/Computer_Sci … ments.html
career paths:
https://www.thebalancecareers.com/compu … jor-525371

Nagy

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2021-02-20 16:24:52

The college or your state's vocational rehab service will be able to provide you a reader.  For online math (honestly for any math) that's your best bet.  But if you can get Nemeth out of your college, consider yourself very lucky and take it because Braille is the only thing that really scales well at the higher levels.

The rest of it is way too situation specific.  I've had everything from professors that find my existence annoying through to "o, my exam is a problem? Come to my office and I'll administer it for you".  Sometimes they don't give any homework and the entire class is based off 4 tests or so and then you can study however you choose.  Sometimes there's in-class quizzes.  Etc.  You kind of just have to wait and see.

Sometimes you can find out how good a specific college is at accommodating blind people by asking around.  That might be helpful to you, though at this point I'm not sure where to ask.

My Blog
Twitter: @camlorn38

2021-02-20 16:55:47

the college I did have 1 semester at was good with accessibility and accommodations. The professor wanted to get the braille textbook for math since online wasn't working. I ended up canceling that class for the semester because it was going to take too long for the braille book to arrive.

Nagy

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2021-02-20 19:08:16

Hey. I couldn't even get braille books at all, so there you go.  Just work with them to get the books a couple months ahead and if you have to use an old edition so be it.

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Twitter: @camlorn38

2021-02-21 11:04:56

what if I don't make it? I'm not going to lie, I'm scared that I'm going to fall apart from all the stress in college. I'm pretty much paralyzed by fear of coming short from anything. Not being fast enough to keep up, or not having the materials or resources I need, or not understanding the sciences, or the worst, losing interest and hating the field. Yes I'm a pussy cry baby lol. How do I man up and just freaking do it? Am I overreacting, and if so how long does this phase last for? Probably until I get started. Which won't be until fall. Oh god this year is going to be tough, and I haven't even started. Lol sorry, I'm just bitching when I shouldn't. Harder than it sounds though.

Nagy

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2021-02-21 11:22:47

camlorn wrote:

I would aim for CS, not robotics.  You can do robotics/electrical engineering/mechanical engineering at the low end.  Certainly enough to have fun with it.  You can do it if you're on an understanding team with coworkers who do the hardware and give you the software part to program.  But at the high level, all of that stuff is very complicated and inaccessible diagrams and, depending exactly what you wanted to do in 5 years, the amount of math involved can end up making the CS degree look like an English major by comparison.

It's probably possible in the sense that there's that blind guy who climbed Mount Everest, but the real question is: is it fun after you finish accommodating yourself, and is it something where you can compete in the job market?  I don't know for sure because I've only looked into this to a point, but I'm pretty sure the answer ends up being no.

@hijacker
Breadboards are troublesome because it's hard to feel the holes, but most chips have a standard pin ordering and a tactile-enough marker to show you which ends goes which way.  If you're very careful about organizing your capacitors and resistors and things so that you can tell them apart and also very good at holding complex circuit designs in your head, yeah, you can do it.  I did some in college.  The blockers are that if you go in certain directions you're looking at literally a hundred wires or so, checking your work on the breadboard is a pain, and there's very few good tools.  For instance a lot of stuff turns into "look at the oscilloscope".  We could probably make an accessible one, but it's one of those "the sighted person spent 5 seconds and I'm still at it 5 minutes later" things.

For an idea, one of the college homework assignments had so many wires in a close enough space that you couldn't reach the breadboard and chips underneath and had to sort of thread the rest of them down with your eyes.  That was at a lower level than a microcontroller, and microcontrollers do greatly simplify circuitry.  But there is a genuine scaling problem that doesn't apply to programming which is why most of us who consider the hardware path abandon it quickly.

Do the exact opposite of whatever camlorn advises

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2021-02-21 17:39:54

@23
Then you go do something else.  You'll know relatively early on whether or not you're going to succeed, say within a semester or two.  There's obstacles sure, but the general tone of the environment, the requirements, all that--you'll know quickly whether it's going to be specific things like "what am I doing about Calculus" or a general thing like "I wasn't ready for this yet".

But as I've said, you don't have to do programming.  It's a good field, if you can get in you're set.  But if it's not for you, or if you've got something else you want to do, or whatever, go do that.  In your case the key thing isn't doing a specific thing, it's learning not to flail around and hold yourself to such a high standard that success isn't possible.

I would love to tell you that your worries are unfounded and that you're going to do great.  From what I've seen it's possible for you.  But it's not unreasonable to consider failure.  The healthy thing, at least in my opinion, is to consider failure but not to the degree that you never do anything.  If failing at CS specifically is freaking you out but there's 5 other things where that doesn't happen, then maybe CS isn't for you.  In terms of what you can do with your life, CS is high risk high reward.  Chasing something low risk but low reward is always an option.  But if it's everything that's scaring you that much, that's where it becomes a real problem.

However, in terms of the programming itself I've worked with at least 2 coders making 6 figures who were both worse than you.

@24
If you have some way to make high level electronics accessible to the blind to a degree in which we can compete professionally, do tell.  Otherwise I hope that's sarcasm.

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Twitter: @camlorn38