Just Ask Heidi: Attracting New Designers and Engineers


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First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, Eric Camden, John Mitchell, and Tara Dunn in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s Heidi Barnes’s turn! Heidi is a senior signal and power integrity engineer at Keysight Technologies. She has written over 20 papers on SI and PI, and she is an active member in developing the new IEEE P370 standard involving interconnect S-parameter quality after fixture removal. Heidi has been awarded five patents and a NASA Silver Snoopy award (each Silver Snoopy pin flies on a space mission first), and she was named DesignCon's 2017 Engineer of the Year. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Heidi.”

Q: Many of my colleagues in PCB design and engineering are retiring soon. We have a few new, young EEs in our company, but not many. How can we attract more young people to this career that I love?

A: I have high hopes that the recent investment in STEM activities for high school and elementary level students will lead to a growing interest. Also, the success of the commercialization of the space industry is very inspiring for the next generation. In terms of filling immediate needs, I still remember my most favorite things when starting work with my first job at Hewlett-Packard. They were a fully supplied electronics stock room, state-of-the-art test equipment/computers, and an engineer’s machine shop. Simply put, it was having the engineering tools to be creative and think outside of the box. Just as important for attracting and retaining engineers are the people, with social activities and projects that make it easy to network across organizational boundaries. 

To submit your questions for Heidi, click here.

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