[starbox] The sports world was abuzz recently over a girl pitching her Little League team into the World Championship Tournament. For some this was another sign of the looming apocalypse, for others it was a welcome reflection of improved conditions for America’s girls. Others thought she should already be concentrating on her basketball career. Apparently if you want to make it to the professional ranks you have to specialize very early, get qualified private coaching and give up almost everything else that makes life interesting. There is an online debate on why it is so hard to find qualified young gear engineers. Some blame employers for lack of training programs over the years and others point the finger at university degree requirements that allow only limited time for teaching about gears. I can see truth in each position but neither is much help going forward. Which brings me back to specialization. Not every “gear engineer” set out to become one and there is no standard skill kit among the “gear engineers” that I know. Most of us learned about gears because we had to. During the course of regular employment someone had to crack open a book and figure out how to do something; we are just the guy who got the short straw. In some shops that meant figuring change gears, calculating feeds and speeds and interpreting lead and involute charts. Other “gear engineers” never get too concerned with the manufacturing side of the gear industry but instead devote their efforts to understand the subtleties of product design. Our industry needs more engineers of both types. It sure doesn’t hurt for someone to know both design and manufacturing. Besides those musty old gear books, today’s aspiring gear expert can attend some wonderful educational seminars, vendor gear schools, and technical meetings. If your training budget is tight the Gear Technology online archives are full of helpful articles. It has never been easier to acquire the gear knowledge you need.