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50 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2023 PCB designers leaving the industry in droves, taking with them their years of experience and knowledge. Furthermore, the experience and know- how we are losing is at a completely different level: it is real-world knowledge. is "tribal knowledge" could be defined as "any unwrit- ten knowledge within a company that is not widely known elsewhere." at real-world practical knowledge is priceless to a company, but it's walking out the front door, and it's likely to get worse before it gets better. Now the situation has escalated to a critical n e w l e v e l . W i t h m a ny c o m p a - nies badly need- i n g n e w P C B designers, they are simply looking for anyone who has a commitment to learning. ese companies are willing to invest time, energy, and money into those individuals and train them for the position. I teach PCB design at Palomar College and just recently a company reached out and asked to partner with us to secure a supply chain of new PCB designers to fill their positions. ey were willing to continue their mentoring and education. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If we are to break into a new paradigm in our industry, we need to change what we're doing. More companies are realizing we need to find a new way to find and retain PCB design talent. Time for Mentoring? To accomplish this, we need to prioritize mentoring for the next generation of design- ers. We are quickly losing the needed talent to support an ever-growing electronics industry with new technologies and innovations. Maybe it's time for a change; let's conduct business to have our ma alaga moment as an industry. We must care for our own and prioritize nurturing the next generation of younger designers. e main goal of mentoring is to help men- tees tap into the knowledge of those with more experience than themselves and learn faster than they would on their own. Also, it's an opportunity to grow their network and con- nect with leaders rather than only their peers. Create a Plan of Attack To succeed in any mentoring program, there must be a plan of attack. In the words of Zig Ziglar, "If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time." With no clear objectives or goals, you will never reach them. It's only a matter of time before your shiny, new mentor ing program, which everyone put their hope into for your company's future, becomes an utter failure only because there were no defined, detailed objectives. Connecting knowledgeable team members with those who want to learn is the first step; I would even say the easy step. Have a Lesson Plan One of the great joys in my life is the oppor- tunity to serve as a college professor. I know each week and in each class session what I will teach. It would be irresponsible not to prepare the material and be fully prepared to present it to the best of my ability. But many mentoring programs I have seen fail simply because there was no plan with a detailed structure. Create Metrics Along that line, have measurable and specific metrics to determine when the goal is reached. Evaluate how the information is received. By not having these primary objectives and mea- surable metrics, it's the engineering equivalant of sailing a boat with no rudder. This "tribal knowledge" could be defined as "any unwritten knowledge within a company that is not widely known elsewhere."

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