Must Work Well on a Team; CID a Bonus

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Throughout my decades-long career in PCB design, I have been fortunate. I’ve only had to search for a job out of desperation once. I had no idea my IPC Certified Interconnect Designer credentials would come in handy when I hit the pavement.

This was during the telecom industry downturn around the year 2000. Suddenly, I found myself laid off for the first and only time in my life.

Prior to being laid off, I’d moved around a bit. I’d worked nine years for an aerospace company; nine years for medical products company; three years for a small product development company; eight months for a PCB design software VAR, and then three years at a telecom company in Southern California. Whew!

During the early years of my career, I’d changed jobs on my own terms, typically by following my engineering peers to new opportunities. My PCB design experience had become suitably diverse. I loved working on design teams and experiencing department camaraderie.

Come performance review time, my evaluations often cited that, “Kelly works well on a team.” It was the dotcom era and electronics companies were rolling in cash. I felt on top of the world and I was bringing in more income than ever, until the electronics industry’s economic bubble burst. It was unbelievable at the time; maybe you had a similar experience. A lot of designers did.

After a week or two, I realized that I was totally unprepared for a layoff. I had no engineering peers to follow to another local job. The few local companies that were hiring were destined to be under water before long. I had to begin looking for a job on my own. I began reading advice on how to update a resume. “I work well on a team,” I wrote. But needless to say, flaunting that you work well on a team is of little value if there is no work. I began searching for jobs out of state.

Soon, I came across a lead for a PCB design job in Reno, Nevada. The job description stated, “Must work well on a team.” I though, “That’s me!” I sent off my application.

Before long, my phone rang. It was the human resources manager from the company in Reno. She mentioned that she would like to schedule a phone interview with me. I was hoping she would mention something about the PCB design team in Reno, but she didn’t. Great! I responded.

A week or so later, I answered the phone and was introduced to the Reno company’s engineering services manager and principle electronics engineer. We talked extensively about my work history and the types of printed boards I had designed, but they seemed particularly interested in a certification I’d received the previous year from IPC, the Certified Interconnect Designer (CID).

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


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