Classes on the Cheap

Continuing education is essential. It keeps us moving forward–as an individual professional, as a company, and as an industry. Continuing ed. has historically been both costly and time-consuming; yet, it needn’t be. In an age of dwindling budgets and resources, a wealth of us in the mil/aero community increasingly are taking advantage of free and other low-cost courses and other educational and informational venues.

The thought of spending my nights or weekends in class, listening to lectures and taking notes and tests, makes me cringe; yet, I find it is more a matter of the cost that keeps me from registering for classes. How do I know this? If I had access to an employer-sponsored educational benefit, I’d jump at the chance to take a course or two (or even get my Ph.D.) on “the company dime.” Such a benefit can be rare in a challenging economy, so I am quite accustomed to seeking out and taking advantage of low- and no-cost educational opportunities.


For example, people interested in learning more about the DO-254 standard (RTCA/DO-254, Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware, a document providing guidance for the development of airborne electronic hardware, published by RTCA Inc.) can tap into a tremendous amount of free information available online from industry firms, such as Mentor Graphics.

Mentor provides a wealth of DO-254 information, insights, and even answers to burning questions online ( Just on this singular topic, Mentor’s Web site offers such valuable, free resources as white papers, videos, a glossary, a list of partner companies (a.k.a., additional resources), the latest related news, a user group, and the lastest addition: the DO-254 user community. This geek is a proud member of the latter, and looks forward to participating in thoughtful online exchanges with like-minded individuals. See you there!

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Posted March 14th, 2011, by

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About J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

J. VanDomelen holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and myriad certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTia in varying facets of computer software, hardware, and network design and implementation. He has worked in the electronics industry for more than 12 years in varied fields, including advanced systems design of highly technical military and aerospace computer systems, semiconductor manufacturing, open source software development, hardware design, and rapid prototyping. J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

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