Planning Your Design Education: Keep an Open Mind


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Rea Callender is the new vice president of education for Altium. He brings a background in business development and entrepreneurship, along with experience in K-12 education. This seemed like a pretty good combination, so I asked Rea to share his thoughts on the best avenues for design education, as well as strategies for setting up a lifelong PCB design education plan.

Andy Shaughnessy: What would you advise PCB designers who would like to set up their own strategic learning plans for their career in design?  

Rea Callender: Technology moves very quickly, and it can be difficult for designers to keep up with the technological developments that are most relevant to them specifically. The first place to start is obviously to keep up with developments from CAD vendors who are constantly updating versions of their software and tools. The new features they announce can help you be more efficient. 

The other thing we recommend designers do is to subscribe to some electronics industry publications. PCB publications are important, but there are other publications that can give you an inside view of new technologies as they start to hit the market. These publications can also give you access to webinars, white papers, eBooks, conference notifications, exclusive articles with useful design information, and more. 

Shaughnessy: What criteria should designers keep in mind when evaluating their educational needs in the industry? 

Callender: Probably most important is to keep an open mind and take advantage of resources—because you find them interesting, not just because you need them for your job. You never know what you’ll learn in a webinar, conference, or free workshop. Because board designers participate in a lot more than board design, having well-rounded exposure to other areas of electronics really helps you excel in complex projects.

To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the March 2022 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

Download The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Design for Manufacturing by David Marrakchi. You can also view other titles in our full I-007eBook library here. 

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