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14 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2019 a tremendous amount of power—high-current circuits—which is an entirely different animal. A designer who is proficient in multiple spe- cialty areas of PCB design is a significant asset to any company. It is the designer who paints with a broad brush who finds more opportu- nities opening up, often becoming the compa- ny's "go-to" designer. Identify and Use All of Your Resources Identify and take advantage of any and all available resources. There are endless PCB de- sign resources—from mentors to websites and organizations—that cover the PCB design and design engineering segments. Here are a few of my favorites. IPC IPC is one of the best resources for the PCB design community. Since 1957, IPC, a not-for- profit organization, has provided the standards to guide the electronic industry through nev- er-ending change. The unique part about IPC is that it's useful for everyone in this indus- try: designers, board manufacturers, assembly companies, suppliers, OEMs, and anyone else involved with PCBs. Along with the many available standards, IPC also offers a variety of training courses, in- cluding their certification programs specifical- ly for PCB designers: the CID and the CID++, both of which I highly recommend. I regret design architecture. I watched as an individual length-tuned several address lines manually by pulling out a calculator and "running the num- bers." That was a pretty old-school way of ac- complishing that task. He was unaware of Alti- um's length-tuning feature, which is driven by design rules. It was unfortunate because here was someone who had simply stopped learn- ing, and advancements in the industry and tools left him behind. And it doesn't take long to get left behind. Instead, when a new ECAD software tool is released, go through the release notes and learn all you can about the new features. De- termine how they can be used to help in the PCB design process. Be a Stickler for Details Paying attention to detail is a crucial skill for designers who want to avoid errors and main- tain efficiency and integrity in their designs. And paying attention to details requires disci- pline. Too many times, I saw projects that went entirely off the rails when we knew there were issues, and we proceeded forward with the in- tention of "fixing them later." It takes discipline to know all of the slightest details of a design and how they are all inter- connected. It takes discipline to compartmen- talize an entire project and understand the re- quirements for each stage. But most of all, it takes discipline to pro- ceed forward only when those details have been checked and double-checked. Discipline means that you have dedication and commit- ment to the integrity of the design. Paint With a Broad Brush When I attend PCB design conferences, I find that there is an incredible amount of interest in HDI and high-speed classes. Of course, those are the "cool" modules to learn, but the elec- tronics industry involves so much more than just HDI and high-speed design. For example, the development of autono- mous vehicles, a huge growth industry, is lead- ing various areas of innovations across mul- tiple technologies. Of course, these vehicles have high-speed circuitry, but they also require

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