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24 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2018 correctly, 20 billion connected devices. To sup- port the creation of all these devices will take a lot of work from PCB designers. Ben Jordan estimates that with an average of five design spins for each design, we are looking poten- tially at the completion of a million designs in the next few years. Our industry needs more PCB designers to get this work done. Our numbers are drop- ping as designers are retiring, and we need an infusion of new designers and fresh ideas. Our industry is changing as well with more and more engineers taking on the entire task of design, from schematic capture to board lay- out, in what traditionally has been handled by multiple people. We need to find new ways to motivate younger people to take an interest in PCB design. Colleges, trade schools, and cor- porations are all trying different ideas to ignite this interest, but we still need more. Over the years, I've designed a lot of differ- ent boards that have served various functions. Some went into products that I was unaware of, and I was not permitted to know the final product of quite a few of them. In one case, a team of mysterious men all dressed alike came to our service bureau and sat in the confer- ence room for a week drinking coffee while we designed their boards. Once the designs were finished and they had approved them, they disappeared stealthily into the fog of the night. They came from a very well-known high-tech company, which I won't mention by name, and they behaved as if they owned the world. Perhaps they did and I never got the memo, but in any event the mystery that surrounded them and their matching suits was very remi- niscent of "Men in Black," and that was before the movie even came out. I didn't want to ask them what the boards were for because frankly, I didn't want to hear them say "We could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you." However, I have known what most of the cir- cuit boards that I've designed through the years were for. I've always worked hard to give every PCB design job my very best effort, as I know that all of you have too, but I have discovered something and I wonder if any of you have dis- covered this as well. Those boards' functions that were interesting to me were the boards that I had the most interest in designing. I guess that this is probably normal human nature at work. For instance, I've designed huge power delivery boards for industrial power panels (snooze), that I couldn't wait to get through with. I've also designed lots of simple test-type extender cards (yawn) that paid the bills. The cool stuff though, oh yeah baby! Those were the designs that I lived for. I designed some of the first touch-screen panel boards, and video boards for computers. Those were great because I could tell people what I was doing and their eyes wouldn't glaze over as fast as normal. I also have designed system boards for display products, which was awesome because I got to take some of those products home and use them for watching movies with my kids. That earned me some big points in the "My dad has a cooler job than your dad" department. And then, as the coup de grâce, I designed some of the early mother boards for personal computers. After telling that to my friends and family, I got hailed as the guy who was responsible for the new per- sonal computers of the day. I must confess though, I may not have corrected that miscon- ception quite as fast as I really should have to bask in the glory for a while. It's easy to have a higher level of interest in what we are designing when those designs have a direct impact on our lives. Many years ago, I designed a small board for a wearable product. At that time, the phrase "wearable" hadn't been coined yet, but that's what it was for. This was towards the beginning of that genre of products, and now we are seeing this field explode with all sorts of different devices. We need to find new ways to motivate younger people to take an interest in PCB design.

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