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36 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2021 I'd almost prefer the inexperienced types over the people who have half-baked design experiences or bad design habits. ere are a lot of new schools out there that are starting to come up and I think it's great; a school can give you that first six months into PCB design so you're useful. So, I'm not losing as much money on you when you come in, and hope- fully you can pick it up quicker. Andy Shaughnessy: Susy Webb teaches a PCB design basics class at PCB West, and some- times the class is full of engineers. e EEs are becoming designers, but designers say that EEs don't know how to look at it artistically, like a designer. On the other hand, designers are now doing more of what was in the realm of the engineer not long ago; they're all switch- ing hats. Davis: Sure. What always ends up happening is that you get two kinds of engineers. You get the engineer who sits there with bad garlic breath, reading over your shoulder, telling you what's going on, and you want to say, "Please don't eat garlic next time." And then you've got the engineer who throws it over the wall and says, "Go ahead and I'll give you something in about five or six weeks." Between those two worlds, we end up needing the engineer to become more involved, and they need to have a tool set that they're familiar with, and can actually play with and make things. But there is a definite gap among the design- ers. At my previous position, I had some old- timers who had been designing for 25 years, but I was also picking people right out of San Jose State. ese young engineers just wanted to design. And then you have the crazy peo- ple. We had a PCB designer once who said, "You've got to have a special kind of stupid to be a designer, and I think I've got it." e young guys I was teaching understand signal integrity and power integrity, but I said, "Go on the floor. I'll pay you to spend a week on the shop floor to understand the manu- facturing process." Manufacturing is just as important as signal integrity and power integ- rity to a designer. Matties: If an OEM is looking to hire a designer, what should they consider first? Davis: Aptitude. As I said, it takes a special kind of stupid to be a designer. You've got to want to sit in the cave, get lost into the puzzle, and you have to love the puzzle. You have a three- dimensional puzzle that is bound by the laws of physics, manufacturing capabilities, time, and that's it. Everything else is within your world. If you're good at doing things like Sudoku puz- zles, and you love the challenge of it, then that's great. at is one thing that very logical people who come into this career just can't handle. To be successful at design, you must have a thirst for learning, because the learning is always going to be there. You can't stop learn- ing. e business is moving too fast. Espe- cially if you're at an OEM, you can get locked in, thinking, "I'm designing this one thing for the 747th time in my career." You have to keep learning all of the time. Designers need to have a thirst to learn, and they need that curiosity to sit around and work through puzzles. I don't care what your degree is in. Degrees help; I won't have to explain physics and inductance, capacitance, and resistance. I can talk at a higher level to some- one with a degree. But I just want people who are intelligent and willing to learn. Once you understand the physics behind it, everything else is based on that. Your return path, your power, how things are placed, sine waves, and timing are all based on simple physics. You don't have to have a Ph.D. just to understand the few pieces of it that you need to know. Matties: anks for your time, Patrick. Davis: ank you. I appreciate it. DESIGN007

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