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Become A Printed Circuit Designer

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Working As A Printed Circuit 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

  • $83,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Printed Circuit 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 Printed Circuit 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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Printed Circuit Designer Career Paths

Printed Circuit Designer
PCB Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Senior Project Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
PCB Designer Design Engineer
Senior Design Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
PCB Designer Design Engineer Mechanical Design Engineer
Senior Mechanical Designer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior PCB Designer Senior Design Engineer Senior Engineer
Staff Engineer
5 Yearsyrs
Senior PCB Designer Senior Design Engineer Senior Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior PCB Designer Senior Design Engineer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Lead Mechanical Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Mechanical Designer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Engineer Staff Engineer
Senior Staff Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Engineer
Senior Electrical Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Project Engineer
Project Lead Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer
Contract Designer
6 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Mechanical Design Engineer Product Design Engineer
Senior Product Design Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Draftsman Mechanical Designer
Design Checker
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Draftsman Mechanical Designer Design Manager
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Draftsman Designer Layout Designer
Senior PCB Designer
13 Yearsyrs
Circuit Design Engineer Engineer Service Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Circuit Design Engineer Engineer Consulting Engineer
Senior Engineering Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Circuit Design Engineer Engineer Principal Engineer
Principal Design Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
Electrical Designer Electrical Engineer Senior Hardware Engineer
Principal Hardware Engineer
13 Yearsyrs
Electrical Designer Electrical Design Engineer Electronics Engineer
Senior Electronics Technician
7 Yearsyrs
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Top Skills for A Printed Circuit Designer

  1. PCB
  2. Pads Layout
  3. Pcad
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Produced PCB layouts, symbols and associated documentation in the following CAD tools- UniCAD and Cadence Allegro.
  • Work was accomplished with Mentor/PADS Layout VX.1.1 and Mentor/PADS Logic VX.1.1.
  • Designed very complex and high performance boards utilizing PCAD 2006 software.
  • Design and documentation of RF and analog printed circuit assemblies for use in microwave communication equipment.
  • Prepared accurate/thorough design documentation: Gerber files, SAP data, manufacturing data, schematic variants, and fabrication/assembly drawings.

Printed Circuit Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

79.3%

Female

13.4%

Unknown

7.3%
Ethnicity

White

64.7%

Hispanic or Latino

14.6%

Black or African American

10.0%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Japanese

50.0%

Spanish

50.0%

Printed Circuit Designer Education

Schools

Eastfield College

7.3%

San Antonio College

7.3%

A-Technical College

7.3%

Northeastern University

7.3%

De Anza College

5.5%

San Jose State University

5.5%

Austin Community College

5.5%

University of Phoenix

5.5%

Illinois Institute of Technology

5.5%

Massasoit Community College

5.5%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

5.5%

Saint Louis Community College

3.6%

Brevard Community College

3.6%

University of Akron

3.6%

ITT Technical Institute-Richardson

3.6%

Brigham Young University

3.6%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.6%

Kaplan University

3.6%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.6%

College of the Siskiyous

3.6%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

24.0%

Electrical Engineering

22.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

10.9%

Business

7.8%

Engineering

5.7%

Management

3.1%

Industrial Technology

3.1%

Mechanical Engineering

2.6%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Computer Science

2.6%

Fine Arts

2.1%

Graphic Design

2.1%

Information Technology

2.1%

Computer Information Systems

1.6%

Accounting

1.6%

Psychology

1.0%

Engineering Technology

1.0%

Liberal Arts

1.0%

Finance

1.0%

Architecture

1.0%
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Degrees

Other

35.4%

Associate

28.8%

Bachelors

19.7%

Certificate

8.3%

Masters

4.4%

Diploma

2.2%

Doctorate

1.3%
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