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28 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2021 Feature Article by Tomas Chester CHESTER ELECTRONIC DESIGN It was halfway into 2009, I had recently grad- uated from the University of Guelph with a bachelor of engineering in systems and com- puting, and the options for employment were slim. Unfortunately, I had entered the work- force during the very tail end of the 2008 finan- cial crisis and was having difficulty finding employment in any field. It would be the better part of a year before I was able to start in the first position in my field as a junior electronics engineer. My goal had been to simply get in the door. I knew that experience and simply get- ting in would allow me to start my career with direction and purpose. University had taught me the basics of elec- trical circuits, and more importantly it had provided me with skills to work within a team and clearly identify issues requiring attention. With all the prior electronics engineers and designers having le the company, it fell to me to decipher the state of various projects and forge ahead with completing the design and verifying the hardware result. With limited knowledge of how to cre- ate a PCB, I had to seek out opportunities to develop important skills such as layer stackups, trace widths and spacing, and design assem- bly, while at the same time trying to navigate a design tool I had only just learned existed. My co-workers were in similar situations, learning soware, understanding complex data conver- sions, and trying to decipher their own tangled webs. However, working as a team allowed us to assist one another in finding innovative solutions. It was here I learned one of the most important lessons of my career: you need to support and be supported by a great team. As the small successes mounted, a major project loomed on the horizon. e existing system architecture was not designed for the anticipated data throughput that was going to be required. With a young and relatively inexperienced team, we considered consult- ing contractors and external design bureaus. It was at this point that I expressed interest in running the project internally. is would be a big task with significant risks; however the benefit would be full control of the project, an increased understanding of our architecture, My Road to Becoming a Great Designer Tomas Chester

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