What You Need to Know About a PCB Design Career


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I have been in the electronics field either as a technician or on the PCB design side for nearly 40 years. My first PCB design was done on Tango PCB software, which later became Protel and finally Altium. My tool of choice for most of my career has been an Altium product of some kind.

Fortunately, my career has grown just as ECAD software tools began hitting their stride, with each software release adding new tools and features. If you were starting a career in electronics or PCB design today, I could easily see how you might find the software selection confusing.

We are at the end of yet another phenomenal year. I must say that I have never personally seen such an extended period of growth. Fortunately, there is no sign of a slowdown, but instead, expansion is expected to last for years down the road. However, it’s not about looking at where we came from, but rather where we are going.

With that in mind, I was asked to discuss what I think PCB designers need to know. If I could find a stable source of 1.21 gigawatts to charge up my flux capacitor, get my DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour, and go back in time, here’s some of the advice I would give my younger self.

Never Stop Learning

Why? Because the industry never stops changing. Those that continuously stay in that state of learning are the ones who succeed. The old saying “Knowledge is power,” often attributed to Sir Francis Bacon, has never been truer. Fortunately, there is never a lack of things to learn. Don’t ever become apathetic about learning. Make a point of keeping a running list of ideas or subjects that you want to research, and then purposely set aside time in your week strictly to study and learn about these things anywhere you can. Everything you’re looking for is documented somewhere; you just need to find it. It has never been easier; with endless resources now online, it is not a question of access.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the December 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

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