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JULY 2018 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 17 Happy Holden: That's what I worry about it. There are a lot of foreign companies centered in the U.S. that are focused on outsourcing engineering, and they come in and talk to the bosses and say, "We'll do the PCB layout faster and cheaper so you don't need to educate or hire designers." And because of their large availability of engineers and people, they can take on the job. A lot of the time they don't have the technical skills, but the bosses don't know that until it's too late. Webb: That's exactly how I feel, Happy. At my company we have occasionally outsourced some work, and each time we have had to make some major changes before it was actu- ally produced. That's disappointing. Holden: If we lose design, we lose the high ground, because design is the physi- cal realization of the schematic and the bill of materials. They do everything on computer and paper about the schematic, but they don't know if it really works until it goes down onto a board and gets assem- bled. And we could lose the whole ball game. Webb: I agree. I would love to find a soapbox and say, "Look, you guys, you need to pay attention to this or it's going to go away." Holden: I have a question about some of these new students, these electrical engineers. Are any of them involved in occasional designing, where they'd been working on the project and now they've been told to lay out the PC board, but after they finish up this PC board they get to go onto the next project? So they may see this as just another task, but not as a profes- sion? Webb: Exactly my point when I said I don't think they want to be there. They're willing to do it to understand it and how it works in the board a little bit, but they're not really saying, "Oh, I really like this career, I want to do this career instead of the one I studied for in col- lege." Holden: That's a big problem if those people aren't kind of committed to learning everything about printed circuit design and the nuances, but just see it as an occasional side job to get through as fast as possible. Webb: If you're an engineer and you look at it that way, you're not going to be thorough about the way you consider how the domino effect is going to affect all the other people that work with that board you just designed, nor are you going to remember all the things that have to be considered. It's easy to miss things. So yes, I agree that's a huge problem. It's a profes- sion where you have to know a whole lot about a whole lot of things. Holden: When you fin- ish up teaching your class, do you provide a list of resources? How do they continue to learn? Webb: I have not addressed that issue as com- pletely as I might. I usually provide a list of speakers and books I use for reference, but that's not really enough. I do encourage them to attend as many PCB design events as they can. When I teach that basics class at PCB West, sometimes I will have people from that class who will follow me to all my other classes that week, and I think they see further refer- ences there. But more importantly, sometimes people come in for just that one day and go

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