Need advice to build a career with PCB layout design!

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Posts: 1
Joined: 31 May 2020, 23:53

Need advice to build a career with PCB layout design!

#1 Post by LakeshaTurner » 31 May 2020, 23:56

Hey guys! I'm very interested in building a career with PCB design/layout and I'm really not sure where to start. Are there any certifications I can take online? Any accredited courses? I'm currently living in Quebec, and unfortunately I don't see a lot of courses being offered regarding PCB design... I'd appreciate any advice to get myself started!


Posts: 31
Joined: 09 Sep 2016, 14:10

Re: Need advice to build a career with PCB layout design!

#2 Post by fi2eewill » 04 Jun 2020, 08:41

Hi Lakesha! Welcome to the forum

I am not a full time PCB designer, but I can share my experience as an electronic engineer (EE)
First, you need to ask yourself WHY? What gravitates you and interest you about PCB design?
Maybe you are artistic, or a person who enjoys the design process and connecting with the end results. It could be a life style choice, and ability to do remote work perhaps. In any case, you need to map out your motivation as it relates to you personally.

Second, not sure if you already set out on the path of becoming EE. However, PCB design is more art than engineering. This is why you do not need to be an engineer to be a professional PCB designer. Though, it does help tremendously and makes you a better PCB designer if you understand electronics. If you strictly want to become a professional PCB designer and nothing else, certification will definitely help set you on that path. Look for accredited program provider, though I recommend you hold off until you got your feet wet with PCB design.

Third, do you plan to work for big company or do you want to build a freelancing career? The choice of CAD tool here is important, Altium and OrCad/Allegro are dominant players in the industry. ... statistics. Personally, I despise Altium, but it is probably most secure path to landing a PCB Design job at a big co. The learning curve is very steep and to me is not something I want to invest in as I do more than just PCB design. As a freelancer PCB designer, clients pay you for end results and *most* do not care what CAD package tool you use.

In my experience, the best way is to learn by doing - start with small projects and build simple boards. if you can't think of project ideas, there are many open hardware projects, and it's a good way to get involved and build your portfolio. Learn and understand the process. As you gain knowledge and confidence, build more complex boards and challenge yourself. Here, focus on the design process not the tool. So pick a tool and learn layout first, later, you can migrate to a different tool that helps you get closer to your end goal.
This is where DipTrace triumph I believe. It's the easiest to learn and is a very capable CAD package. No tool is perfect so choose what works for you.

good luck~


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