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8 The PCB Design Magazine • September 2014 by Andy Shaughnessy I-COnneCT007 THE SHAUGHNESSy REPORT The Survey Said: A Third of Designers Near Retirement Age column One of the best parts of this job is keeping in touch with PCB designers. You all are an interest- ing bunch of people, to say the least, and I enjoy hearing your stories, concerns, complaints, ob- servations about the industry, and whatever else you want to share. I meet with some of you in person at trade shows during the year. But in between shows, a quick survey is a great way to get a snapshot of what you all are going through at the moment. In July, we sent subscribers a three-question survey. We've noticed that surveys with too many questions often go unanswered. You're too busy to fill out a 50-question survey at work, so you forward it to your home e-mail address to look at later. Then you get distracted, right - fully so, by spouses, kids and grandkids. You just don't have much free time. But you seem to have time to answer three questions. We had a solid response rate, espe- cially considering it was the middle of summer. The replies are all over the place, particularly when we asked about technology. Question 1: What is your approximate age? I more or less expected this sort of age distri- bution, but it's still jarring to see it graphically. As you can see from Figure 1, over half of the respondents are 51 and over, and 1/3 of readers are 56 and over. The single biggest chunk of de- signers is 61 and over. Not a good thing for the future. How can we draw more young people into this industry? Question 2: What are some of the challenging technologies you work with on a daily basis? (e.g., HDI, DDR3, differential signaling, high layer-count, etc.) Here is a short sampling of the more com - mon answers, slightly edited for clarity: • High-frequency PCB design. • RF, DDR3. • The shrinking size of components! • Diff pairs. Figure 1: The "age pyramid" for PCB designers. Who will design boards in the future?

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