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How did you become a PCB designer?

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Member level 2
Sep 22, 2005
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I would like to pose a question to any proffesional PCB designers. How did you learn your trade? Was it through formal training or by being self taught?

Re: PCB Design

Back when I first started (1975), there was no formal training for this type of work.

I started out as a electrical draftsperson.
It was all trial and error back then.
I learned by observing how others did it. When the person who did the single sided hand layout designs quit, I took over. I did hand layouts of single and double sided boards until 1983. The Company I worked for back then had purchased a Gerber Digitizer table, that would convert the hand layouts into digital data. They also purchased a Computervision Cadds IV system, that also contained a digitzing table.
This helped to teach the non-board layout operators learn the layout process, by copying a hand layout into a computer database, and manipulating the data on screen.

This also was very helpful in promoting multi-layer boards, as doing manual layouts became quite difficult in registering 4 or more layers of 4X scaled layouts.

Nowadays, there's schools in the US that offer 2 year degreed programs for board layout. Also, IPC offers certification course work for designers, but this is something I'll never do, as the majority of people that promote this certification weren't even around when I started doing board layouts.

Re: PCB Design

Hi maxascent,

I layout most of my own designs. I got introduced to PCB design when we still had to do it by hand and with tape. To answer your question I got all of my education the hard way. Doing it and reading regulations. After serveral years of trial and error I have become fairly profecient at it. The biggest problem I have is keeping up with the packages. I also deal in power electronics as well as nominal analog and digital. Some of the circuits that I design operate at 1500V and pull 1500 watts of power. It gets very interesting trying to design a board that must carry hundreds of amps in pulses at high voltage potentials. The good news is that it is also fun. You can be a little creative and artistic with some of these things. Hang in there and apply yourself and you may find it fullfilling.

Good Luck


Re: PCB Design

hey i have in the field for almost 8 yers i started this work in 1999 with autocad and at that time also there were not a lot of trining centers in my place it is almost a self tought and mostly i did it in trail and error basis.While using autocad i learnt the basic dimensioning problems and i started to buid my carrerer related to PCB design

Re: PCB Design


I have 10+ years of experience,i started my career in mid 90's,when i started,i worked on unix os for designing,then later moved to is not as easier as you think,no gain without pain,remember that always....



Re: PCB Design

I have studied pcb design myself for my own hobby designs back in the year 1995. I have gained enough experience from trial and errors that faced when I make pcbs with screen printing. On 1997, I commercialised my experience in pcb design industry. I have used protel 2.7, protel 99se, Altium designer 6, Orcad etc, now designing on pads. Those days no such training for pcb designing. If you have talent, learn it by yourself. Choose a software, (PADS will be a right choice) search for the turtorials in google. Have a nice time

Good luck


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