Jan Firlej won one of three gold medals for Poland during the EuroSkills Gdańsk 2023 in the electronics prototyping category. He is a 22-year-old third-year student of the Poznań University of Technology, majoring in Automation and Robotics.
From an early age, Jan Firley was interested in everything that glowed or did something. He even had fun turning the lights on and off. During his school days, he participated in several technology-related competitions. Still, he considers it more important that he has been dealing with orders in electronics for a long time. It started with repairing amplifiers for friends. It developed when he met members of a club of lovers of old French cars and started repairing electronics from the 1970s for them. For two years, he has been working in a company that deals with servicing and programming industrial robots. He is responsible for programming systems built into various devices and sometimes participates in creating consumer devices. Throughout his life, he has been involved in designing and repairing various devices, from electronics for the automotive to industrial industries.
In his opinion, electronics has changed over the last two years. Due to the collapse of the semiconductor market, device design standards have changed because it turned out that we can no longer rely on a chip being available everywhere. Generally, the aim is to miniaturize, simplify, and reduce costs.
A sound electronics engineer must have skills in many different areas. Physically, he must know how individual elements work, but he must also be able to program. During a competition such as EuroSkills, the interplay of many skills to achieve a specific effect is tested. During the contest, you must design the board according to particular requirements and then solder it, i.e., demonstrate purely manual skills. It is essential to consider various aspects when designing, such as simplicity of design, cost reduction, and subsequent service. It is always precisely defined what a given device is supposed to do and what parameters it must meet. Competitors have to complete two modules. The first is design, implementation, and measurements on a given device. The second one is programming: You get ready-made boards, and only your programming skills are tested.
According to expert
Arkadiusz Hulewicz is an expert from the Poznań University of Technology and the Polish competitor’s supervisor. He says that the competition participant aims to design an electronic system, build it, and adapt it to a given measurement system. In other words, the participant has to create a device and make it work. The difficulty is that electronics are very demanding and unpredictable. You can design something virtually. Once built, it will not work as expected because the signals will propagate differently than the design suggests. In diagnostics, however, the fault is often predicted in a given place. And the problem – as it turns out – is entirely different.
More info about EuroSkills 2023 medalists from Poland is here.
More info about EuroSkills 2023 is on WorldSkills page.