I was fortunate recently to win the Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors competition here on element14 and have also been successful in several RoadTests and Project14 contests. Other successful element14 members have published their entries and I have benefitted from reading them. For example, find links on entries from the following persons below:
Although I have an engineering degree and lots of experience it is not primarily in electronics or programming which might be deemed a disadvantage. Nonetheless it is possible to contribute and participate successfully in the many opportunities offered here on element14. This blog outlines how I go about it and I also give my successful entry for the Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors contest.
My considerations before making an entry are these:
- Is it worthwhile to me and to the element14 community? I don't enter to win prizes and stuff (although I like prizes and stuff ). I enter for the learning opportunity, the interaction with other element14 members and the personal satisfaction of possibly helping others. It would be much more efficient for me to work a day job and use the money earned to buy stuff. Good RoadTests and interesting projects worth publishing take time.
- Is the item in the RoadTest something I can use or can it provide a good learning opportunity? I have a lot of stuff making my little work space difficult to work in already.
- Do I have a unique idea, or at least something new to me? I want to contribute something new or at least put my spin on things.
My considerations when writing a contest entry are these:
- First, read the contest rules and requirements. Follow them. Seems obvious and like it would be unnecessary to state this but apparently there are a number of persons who don't do it.
- Second, write applications that highlight your strengths relative to the contest. I state competencies tailored to the RoadTest which support my entry without exaggeration.
- Third, propose unique tests and projects where possible. You want your entry to stand out.
- Fourth, consider the audience for the RoadTest. A supplier of educational boards is probably looking for something different than the manufacturer of lab equipment. And the members of element14 will be looking for something different as well.
- Fifth, read the datasheet / marketing information, etc. for the item. This will often give ideas as well as provide material that can strengthen your entry.
- Sixth, give a detailed plan for the entry. This makes getting started on a RoadTest much easier and is the usual basis for my first blog. Show the person making the selection you know what you are doing.
- Seventh, make sure you have the time and equipment to execute your proposal.
With that behind us, here is my entry for the Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors contest which hopefully follows my "rules" for entry: