One-Question Survey: What Advice Would You Offer a New Designer?


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During AltiumLive 2018, the I-Connect007 editorial team asked some of the attendees to answer one question: What advice would you offer to a brand-new PCB designer?

Here are just a few of the replies:

Russell Steiner, Casco
Understand what you’re designing, not just how to run the tool. Often, newer designers know what a 2D board should look like, but not why.

Staci Elaan, Valve
Learn Altium. That’s what I tell people I mentor. This is the tool that will enable you to set yourself apart from others in the industry. The sooner you can master it and its ability to work seamlessly with programmable parts, the more you’re going to be ahead of the competition.

Randy Burcham, IOTA Engineering
Try to understand the parasitics in traces, planes, pads, and such, to design a better board. Designers need to balance these effects. RF, for example, is an art because of the parasitic effects. You may know the best practices but be sure you know why that’s the best practice.

Daniel Arvelund, Gamechange Solar
Find someone experienced and ask them questions. And go to conferences; bring three key questions to ask specifically to advance your skill set.

Ben McMillan, Biofire Defense
I would recommend finding a good mentor that you can work with, preferably within your company, who can train you and review your designs and point you in the right direction. I was assigned a person to mentor me, but he wasn’t really interested in teaching. Later on in my career, I found mentors, but I wish I could have had a mentor at the very beginning.

Robert Khaleel, Biofire Defense
I agree with Ben about having a mentor. The only thing I would possibly add to that is to find a field that you love within this profession and dedicate yourself to that, whether it’s FPGAs, analog, digital, etc.

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