Learning electronics & programming

My son is studying electrical engineering. He’s thinking of buying this? Would a raspberry pie be better?

The answer depends on what experience he wants to have. If it’s more of an electronics experience, then I’d wager the Arduino is a better value… and is closer to what would really be used in a real world product. (Like a fridge temperature controller or sprinkler system controller, say.) The Raspberry Pi is great, and is touted as a cheap computer. Let’s be honest though, by the time you spring for a case, power supply, and count the keyboard and mouse, you’ve spent well over $100. For that same $100 you can get an Arduino with a bread board and a bunch of cool electronic bits. I was gifted one of these Elegoo kits ( https://www.amazon.com/ELEGOO-Project-Tutorial-Controller-Projects/dp/B01D8KOZF4/ ) and everything you need to start is in there. All the tutorials you’d need are online (or on YouTube.)

The Pi is more of a computer that happens to be focused on being cheap and used in embedded electronics. The Arduino is more of a cheap micro-controller with a computer-ish interface. In the real world, very few real products are likely to fully embed a Pi (not none, just not a lot) because it’s overkill for many applications. It is more likely that a real product is based on a micro-controller, because they’re much cheaper, and you don’t have to pay the power budget to run a whole general purpose computer, with an HDMI port and USB ports and everything.

One useful thing about a Pi thou… when you’re done with it for electronics, it’s still useful for other things a general purpose computer can do (maybe a music server or a cheap NAS or a PiHole) whereas the Arduino isn’t really suitable for those uses. (No network.)