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Design007-July2018

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42 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2018 LaPointe: No, I was totally oblivious to it. PCB design is so underexposed. People don't really know it exists. The people who use all these electronics just take it for granted that they hit a button and something turns on, but the whole subset of the design world goes unno- ticed because people think of the product, but they don't think of how it actually gets there. I didn't even know PCB design was a thing. I knew PCB assembly existed—obviously the phones and such have to be put together—but no, I never made the con- nection that somebody actually had to connect all those little parts together. Shaughnessy: Dan, as the wise, elder states- man here [laughs], are you seeing more young people getting involved in the industry? Dan Fernsebner: Absolutely. We live in this rev- olutionary period, in terms of the age of IoT. The explosion of electronic hardware is just incredible. I think a lot of that has to do with the accessibility to design tools, the reduction in cost of manufacturing and components, and the internet in general, in regard to providing information and enabling young designers to experiment. I think it's interesting what Bryan said. Even when I came up through college, PCB design or layout wasn't something that was neces- sarily taught—it was something you learned through trial and error and co-op work. Learn- ing PCB layout is becoming harder for this next generation because a lot of the older designers are now retiring, and they are the ones trying to pass the torch. Because of that, I almost feel that expertise is being lost in the mix. Because of this trend, we are being asked for classes—not about our software—but just around PCB design itself. Shaughnessy: Does Cadence have relationships with colleges? Fernsebner: Yes, Cadence has a program called the Cadence Academic Network, which is focused on promoting the proliferation of lead- ing-edge technologies and methodologies at universities known for their design and engi- neering excellence. Not only do we promote collaboration between academia and indus- try, but we also provide schools with Cadence software and sponsor a number of academic clubs run by universities and the students themselves. To acquire new talent, university recruiting is also an important part of the pro- gram so it's definitely something that we're pretty in tune with. Shaughnessy: Do you think you'll have to change the tools to accommodate the next gen- eration of designers? These young people don't remember ever not having a phone. Designers our age are willing to wait for a patch to fix a software problem, but the young people want it to work now. Fernsebner: Yes, agreed. This new generation, Generation Z or the I Generation, is the first generation that grew up with a smartphone. I'll let Bryan speak to some of the interface stuff because he and I have been working pretty closely and based off of his experience being a young designer, he definitely has a lot of input in that space. LaPointe: It's a really interesting paradigm. When CAD tools first came out, they were on different systems and technologies. Now that there are so many available at such different price points and accessibilities for training, it's very simple for somebody to pick up the tool, and if it just doesn't feel right or work right, it's very easy to go find another one that does— especially for the younger crowd. There's more of a focus on first-time use, ease of use, and instant gratification—even things as simple as control-C. If control-C doesn't copy when you open up the tool, it immediately puts something in their heads that something's not quite right. Bryan LaPointe

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