SnapEDA: Recruiting Top Engineering Talent in an Amazon World


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You don’t have to love EDA to work at SnapEDA, but it helps. This startup, founded by Natasha Baker, is on its way to creating the world’s largest parts library for PCB designers. Baker leads a small team of young, fiercely talented engineers—the kind of employees that are attractive to companies like Google and Facebook. I asked Natasha to explain her hiring process, and how she ensures that each employee is the right fit for SnapEDA. 

Andy Shaughnessy: Natasha, tell us a little about SnapEDA and the kind of people you employ.

Natasha Baker: We’re a team of nine, and we're all electrical and computer engineers, except for our graphic designer. Together, we've built the Internet's first library for circuit board design. What inspires us as a team is hearing about the thousands of PCB designs made with our platform each week. Whether it's satellites or drones, getting to assist in the design of interesting new devices is extremely rewarding.

We look for three main things when hiring: First, we look for engineers with strong software and PCB design skills. Software is important because we write software on a daily basis. But to make a great product, we want that software to be guided by a deep understanding of the PCB design flow. Second, we look for passion. As EEs, we want to make life easier for our colleagues. We are passionate about making tools that streamline the PCB design process. Finally, we look for people who are detail-oriented. Our software is simple and easy-to-use, but it's quite sophisticated behind the scenes. We generate critical manufacturing data, like footprints, and develop proprietary software to verify their manufacturability. So, it’s crucial that our team members value attention to detail where it matters most—the design data.

Shaughnessy: What are some of the challenges you face in hiring skilled, educated workers?

Baker: One of the biggest challenges is that there seems to be a stigma around the EDA industry. New grads are drawn to companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, and it seems that EDA has lost some of its luster.

During the recruiting process, I’ve reached out to several software developers who previously worked in the EDA industry who told me, “Sorry, I’ve moved on from EDA.” I think there’s an opportunity to reinvigorate EDA, because it truly is the backbone of the tech industry, which makes all the products that we love possible, from iPhones to Teslas.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the May 2017 issue of The PCb Design Magazine, click here.

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