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34 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2021 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team How long does it take for an inexperienced PCB designer to get up to speed and become a regular member of the design team? We recently spoke with Patrick Davis, product management director for Cadence Design Sys- tems, about his company's hiring and training processes. Patrick explains his theory that PCB design- ers typically cost their companies money dur- ing the first year of their career, though they hit the break-even point in their second year and begin being profitable in the third. Real- istically, how long did it take you to become a solid PCB designer? Barry Matties: Patrick, what is Cadence doing to find talent? Are you reaching out to uni- versities and vocational schools to "sell" the design career, if you will? Patrick Davis: Yes, we are. We have a very good relationship with a university. I am working with a few people to develop what is basically a PCB Design 101 class. We'd like it to be like Mary Sugden's school, the Copper Connec- tion, from years ago in San Jose. I'm working with a couple of people who are putting together a design curriculum for those who want to learn to be designers. We're help- ing them with the tool set and understanding the process; they are going through six months of school to become a beginning designer. It takes about six months before you can go ahead and make your own mistakes. You get those people who want to do this, and then you teach them. It just takes time to learn how to design, and I figure I need three years to break even on a new employee with zero experience. When I bring new designers in, I usually say, "Give me three years. ere will be one year of train- ing to actually become useful, and I'm going to lose money on you because you're going to make so many mistakes. In the second year, we actually break even with you. is is your tran- sition year where you start to figure out what your style is, what you're good at, and this is when you really start to learn. In your third year, you're now making money for us." Hiring a Young PCB Designer: What's the Break-even Point? Patrick Davis

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