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Become A PCB Designer

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Working As A PCB Designer

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $68,640

    Average Salary

What Does A PCB Designer Do

Drafters use software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings. Most workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.

Duties

Drafters typically do the following:

  • Design plans using computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Work from rough sketches and specifications created by engineers and architects
  • Design products with engineering and manufacturing techniques
  • Add details to architectural plans from their knowledge of building techniques
  • Specify dimensions, materials, and procedures for new products
  • Work under the supervision of engineers or architects

Many drafters are referred to as CAD operators. Using CAD systems, drafters create and store technical drawings digitally. These drawings contain information on how to build a structure or machine, the dimensions of the project, and what materials are needed to complete the project.

Drafters work with CAD so they can create schematics that can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into building information modeling (BIM) systems. These systems allow drafters, architects, construction managers, and engineers to create and collaborate on digital models of physical buildings and machines. Through three-dimensional rendering, BIM software allows designers and engineers to see how different elements in their projects work together.

Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. These workers may specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial. They may also specialize by the materials used, such as steel, wood, or reinforced concrete.

Civil drafters prepare topographical maps used in construction and civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and flood-control projects.

Electrical drafters prepare wiring diagrams that other construction workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, electrical distribution systems, and residential and commercial buildings.

Electronics drafters produce wiring diagrams, assembly diagrams for circuit boards, and layout drawings used in manufacturing and in installing and repairing electronic devices and components.

Mechanical drafters prepare layouts that show the details for a wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices, such as medical equipment. These layouts indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements needed for assembly. Mechanical drafters sometimes create production molds.

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How To Become A PCB Designer

Drafters typically need specialized training, which can be accomplished through a technical program that leads to a certificate or an associate’s degree in drafting.

Education

Drafters generally need to complete postsecondary education in drafting. This is typically done through a 2-year associate’s degree from a technical institute or community college.

Technical institutes offer instruction in design fundamentals, sketching, and CAD (computer-aided design) software and award certificates or diplomas upon completion. Programs vary in length but are generally 2 years of full-time education. The types of courses offered will also vary by institution. Some institutions may specialize in only one type of drafting, such as mechanical or architectural drafting.

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes that lead to an associate of applied science in drafting or related degree. After completing an associate’s degree program, graduates may get jobs as drafters or continue their education in a related field at a 4-year college. Most 4-year colleges do not offer training in drafting, but they do offer classes in engineering, architecture, and mathematics.

To prepare for postsecondary education, high school students who take courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and where available, drafting, may find such classes useful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers certification for drafters. Although not mandatory, certification demonstrates competence and knowledge of nationally recognized practices. Certifications are offered for several specialties, including architectural, civil, and mechanical drafting.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Drafters must be able to turn plans and ideas into technical drawings that will guide the creation of real buildings, tools, and systems.

Detail oriented. Drafters must pay close attention to details so that the plans they convert are technically accurate according to the outlined specifications.

Interpersonal skills. Drafters work closely with architects, engineers, and other designers to make sure that final plans are accurate. This requires the ability to take advice and constructive criticism, as well as to offer it.

Math skills. Drafters work on technical drawings. They may be required to solve mathematical calculations involving factors such as angles, weights, and costs.

Technical skills. Drafters in all specialties must be able to use computer software, such as CAD, and work with database tools, such as BIM (building information modeling).

Time-management skills. Drafters often work under strict deadlines. As a result, they must work efficiently in order to produce the required output according to set schedules.

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PCB Designer jobs

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PCB Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

84.0%

Female

13.8%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

73.2%

Asian

14.6%

Hispanic or Latino

10.2%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.4%
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Languages Spoken

Portuguese

14.3%

Vietnamese

14.3%

Spanish

14.3%

Galician

14.3%

Carrier

14.3%

Cantonese

14.3%

Mandarin

14.3%
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PCB Designer Education

Schools

De Anza College

8.0%

Arizona State University

8.0%

Houston Baptist University

8.0%

Illinois Institute of Technology

8.0%

Mission College

6.0%

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

6.0%

Michigan Technological University

4.0%

University of Akron

4.0%

San Jose State University

4.0%

Brevard Community College

4.0%

Youngstown State University

4.0%

New York University

4.0%

Dean College

4.0%

Waukesha County Technical College

4.0%

Central Michigan University

4.0%

Texas State Technical College - Waco

4.0%

University of Vermont

4.0%

J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College

4.0%

San Jose City College

4.0%

Bristol Community College

4.0%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

38.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

14.3%

Drafting And Design

13.8%

Business

5.3%

Computer Science

4.8%

Engineering

3.7%

Management

2.1%

Music

2.1%

Computer Engineering

2.1%

Industrial Technology

1.6%

Physics

1.6%

Communication

1.6%

Engineering Technology

1.1%

Mathematics

1.1%

Finance

1.1%

General Studies

1.1%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.1%

Computer Technical Support

1.1%

Accounting

1.1%

Aerospace Engineering

1.1%
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Degrees

Other

30.0%

Bachelors

30.0%

Associate

20.3%

Masters

7.9%

Certificate

7.5%

Diploma

3.5%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Real PCB Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
PCB Designer Sonos, Inc. Santa Barbara, CA Sep 27, 2013 $95,000
PCB Design Engineering Fastprint Technology (U.S.) LLC Santa Clara, CA Sep 14, 2014 $91,285
PCB Designer Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Inc. Colorado Springs, CO Oct 01, 2012 $67,642 -
$70,000
PCB Designer Srishti I2I Biz Solutions Inc. Redwood City, CA Jan 09, 2016 $60,000
Project Designer, PCB Design Rockwell Automation, Inc. Mequon, WI Sep 01, 2014 $60,000

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Top Skills for A PCB Designer

SchematicCaptureCADSkillCadenceAllegroAnalogDesignsRFOrcadCaptureAutoRouterAssemblyDrawingsMultilayerBGAPCBoardsHighDensityCamPCBLayoutPadsLogicSmt/Thru-HoleIPCStandardsCircuitBoardLayoutBOMAltiumDesigner

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Top PCB Designer Skills

  1. Schematic Capture
  2. CAD Skill
  3. Cadence Allegro
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided printed circuit board design, schematic capture, mechanical design, and drafting.
  • Designed analog, digital and mixed signal printed circuit boards with Mentor Graphics V7, V8 and Cadence Allegro PCB software.
  • Utilized schematic enter to layout, for placement and routing of RF, HDI, digital, and analog designs.
  • Performed Library development and maintenance in multiple site locations.
  • Used Orcad Capture and Layout for new production ready PCB designs.

Top PCB Designer Employers

PCB Designer Videos

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iExplore Computer Aided Design career video

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