Can You Smell The Raspberry Pi These Makers Are Cooking?
For the fifth consecutive year, we have partnered with Wilson Research Group to release a research study that analyzes how engineers interact with the global electronics market. However, 2021 brings a new and exciting feature to data presentation. We created a brand new website with interactive infographics, dazzling colors, and easy-to-read contextual information. It’s not your typical research presentation.
Along with stylized charts and creative colors, we decided to parse the data into six categories:
- Electrical Engineers
- China-Based Electrical Engineers
- Control & Automation Engineers
- Makers & Hobbyists
The fourth published subcategory of the study, as you may have guessed from the title, highlights Makers and Hobbyists. These brave tinkerers are often an overlooked group in the engineering world, but a simple scroll through Reddit shows they are the future inventors of our generation.
Defining the term “maker” is sometimes difficult in the electronics industry. As a general rule, a “maker” is someone who designs, develops, prototypes, or tinkers with electronics outside of traditional professional contexts. Makers could be students and educators in a STEAM education environment, hobbyists tinkering in their garage, or entrepreneurs prototyping a device they’d like to bring to market (think FitBit or Nest). In many of these cases, there are practicing professional engineers who classify themselves as makers because they enjoy creating projects at home in their spare time.
Makers vs. Pros
While the Maker demographic includes professional engineers and students, we asked each respondent to choose whether they’d like to take the survey as either a Maker, a professional, or a student. For the purpose of the study, we compare the data from Maker respondents to those of Career Pro and Next Gen engineers.
For example, given the percentages of how many Makers are aspiring entrepreneurs or actively producing devices for the market, it may be surprising to learn that 29% of maker respondents said they’ve brought a product to market. 40% of those projects are self-funded, meaning that the maker ideated, prototyped, manufactured, and sold their device without outside investors. 5% of projects brought to market were funded by personal loan, which entails the process of seeking financial support from places other than financial institutions.
Research studies like this give in-depth insight to market and supply chain trends. Some of the most interesting takeaways from the research study are:
- The most popular choice of boards for makers was the Arduino IDE, a reasonable result due to the overwhelming popularity of the Arduino platform among makers overall.
- The most popular response from all respondents was that they contact suppliers for assistance on less than 25% of their designs.
- Makers were also more likely than their professional counterparts to use the same products over time, instead of trying new products.
And that’s all just the tip of the soldering iron.
For complete access to Makers & Hobbyists, and all subsequent publications, register at EETech Media’s 2021 Engineering Research Study website today.