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Careers: Most competitive/ shortest product cycle engineering sectors:

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dave66k

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I am looking for some sort of ranking, or any editorial comments for that matter, of engineering sectors with the highest level of competition between products, and the shortest product lifetimes. This is for advice to give a student currently choosing a college major and target career. This is the kind of kid who performs well in general, but finds a much higher gear in competitive environments.

When I was working in the semiconductor field, some of the circuit design areas where quite competitive with short product lifetimes. In contrast, in my area of process development, each of our process generations averaged over three years in development.
 
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SunnySkyguy

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It's all relative to the level of innovation, complexity , competition and market window size. Some system developments take years, some small product or component iterations take months.

When I invented designs never been attempted before, I was given 3 months. Like my 1st design out of University in 1975 was a 5 channel CMOS NAV Doppler tracking receiver, which had a meager power budget of 10 mA@ 12V for 1 unit used in the Arctic.

Other major 1st of a kind projects in teams took years.

My fastest high volume cycle time was 8 weeks delivery of a prototype to Avaya ( Nee Lucent) and after they approved the design , and we got 10k racks per year PO, it took 8 weeks to start production for a relatively simple Power Distribution Rack for 16 VOIP ports.
 

dave66k

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I suspect some sectors demand a shorter product lifetime than others. For example, if a system uses parts from three different, mostly orthogonal standards, and these standards are updated on average every three years, then after one year of life, one of the standards in the system has advanced beyond the state of the piece of equipment. If the manufacturer releases a piece of equipment with a part in version 3.3, of a standard, when version 4.0 of the standard has already been released, then he knows he is susceptible to early obsolescence. Thus he wants a part for the latest version of the standard as soon as possible after the standard is released. It follows then that the semiconductor company's part has a lifetime dictated by this demand by his equipment manufacturing customer.

I am looking for which sectors tend to have short lived product lives. This may be due to quickly evolving standards, multiple standards in one part, or other reasons.
 

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