Great American Electronics Hobbyist Census

Participants Tell What They Love Best About Electronics as a Hobby


Hobbyist Census We had an idea. What if we asked serious electronics hobbyists all about their hobby? We carefully combed through our database to try to identify the most serious among us and asked them to participate in the Great American Electronic Hobbyist Census. Over 1600 participated and while we'll be rolling out the results in the months to come, we couldn't resist giving you a first glimpse of the responses to the question, "what do you love most about electronics as a hobby?"

Most hobbyists told us that the appeal of this hobby is that it allows one to create practically anything. This power makes some even "feel like a wizard." It's the "merger of theoretical and real worlds that stimulates and fosters creativity." The process of "making magic" and creating an entirely unique object holds great appeal. It's hard to compare to the sense of accomplishment and pride derived from being the only person to have something you "couldn't buy in a store" or "creating something that didn't exist."

Beyond the expression of creativity we heard how important the challenge is to the ultimate sense of accomplishment electronics hobbyists feel. The problem solving aspect and the ever changing landscape of infinite possibilities "keeps the brain nimble" and amplifies "feelings of accomplishment" having traveled through the "forest of frustrations."

The transformation from idea into something tangible fascinates many. This is a hobby that starts with imagining and ends with "immediate gratification" upon throwing a switch and seeing the conceptual become reality. Some noted that proving something you knew was possible serves as an important motivator for undertaking a project. Hobbyists see this as more than a hobby to obtain satisfaction. It also combines true knowledge accumulation and skill building that creates a technical confidence that leads the hobbyist to believe they can build or fix anything. We heard many argue that this wasn't a hobby because it wasn't solely about pleasure but in many cases also has business and practical benefits.

We were surprised to learn that electronics professionals seemed to love their work enough that it extended into their hobby life but it was also surprising that there were as many electronics hobbyists with no formal electronics education. While some seemed driven by impressing themselves and their friends, others saw electronics as an intellectual hobby where contentment comes from solving problems, learning new skills and continuing to exercise the mind. Before concluding that somehow this is a purely cerebral hobby, it was clear that there is a visceral pleasure with electronics that can only be triggered when one is "making blinking lights".

The passion around electronics as a hobby was incredibly strong and electronics hobbyists were clear about their love for their avocation and its benefits to themselves and others. What makes you love electronics? Is it the creativity, practicality, the challenge, the blinking lights? Tell us what you love about electronics at [email protected]. If you're interested in what else we asked our Great American Electronic Hobbyists Census participants, look for more details in newsletters to come.

For more reasons why electronic hobbyists love electronics, click here.