Printed circuit board designer

Printed circuit board designer article illustration

Description

Printed circuit board designers diagram and design the construction of circuit boards. They envision the logical placing of conductive tracks, coppers, and pin pads in the board. They use computer programmes and specialised software for the designs.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to printed circuit board designer:

printed circuit board (PCB) designer
PCB design specialist
PCB designer
printed circuit board design specialist
PCB design expert
printed circuit board design expert
circuit board designer

Working conditions

Working conditions for printed circuit board designers vary depending on the industry and company they work for. They may work in a traditional office setting or in a laboratory or manufacturing facility. They typically work full-time, although overtime may be required during peak production periods. PCB designers may work independently or as part of a team, collaborating with engineers, technicians, and other professionals.

Minimum qualifications

Education and experience requirements for printed circuit board designers typically include an associate’s degree in electronics or a related field, although some employers may require a bachelor’s degree. Candidates should also have experience working with CAD software and designing printed circuit boards, as well as knowledge of industry standards and regulations. Certifications in PCB design and related areas may also be beneficial for job candidates.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Printed circuit board designer is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Printed circuit board designer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to printed circuit board designer.

product development engineering drafter
electronics drafter
mechanical engineering drafter
rolling stock engineering drafter
electrical drafter

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of printed circuit board designer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of printed circuit board designer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

integrated circuit design engineer
automotive designer
industrial tool design engineer
container equipment design engineer
ergonomist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of printed circuit board designer.

  • Circuit diagrams: Read and comprehend circuit diagrams showing the connections between the devices, such as power and signal connections.
  • Design drawings: Understand design drawings detailing the design of products, tools, and engineering systems.
  • Mathematics: Mathematics is the study of topics such as quantity, structure, space, and change. It involves the identification of patterns and formulating new conjectures based on them. Mathematicians strive to prove the truth or falsity of these conjectures. There are many fields of mathematics, some of which are widely used for practical applications.
  • Printed circuit boards: Printed circuit boards (PCB) are essential components to almost all electronic devices. They consist of thin wafers or substrates on which electronic components, such as microchips, are placed. The electronic components are electrically connected through conductive tracks and pads.
  • Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
  • CAD software: The computer-aided design (CAD) software for creating, modifying, analysing or optimising a design.
  • Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of printed circuit board designer.

  • Execute analytical mathematical calculations: Apply mathematical methods and make use of calculation technologies in order to perform analyses and devise solutions to specific problems.
  • Use technical drawing software: Create technical designs and technical drawings using specialised software.
  • Create technical plans: Create detailed technical plans of machinery, equipment, tools and other products.
  • Design circuit boards: Draught circuit boards used in electronic product such as cell phones and computers, make sure to include integrated circuits and microchips in the design.
  • Draft design specifications: List the design specifications such as materials and parts to be used and a cost estimate.
  • Use CAD software: Use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation of a design.
  • Test printed circuit boards: Test the printed circuit board with special testing adapters to ensure optimal efficiency, functionality, and that everything works according to design. Adapt the testing devices to the type of circuit board.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of printed circuit board designer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Manufacturing processes: The steps required through which a material is transformed into a product, its development and full-scale manufacturing.
  • CADD software: The computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) is the use of computer technology for design and design documentation. CAD software replaces manual drafting with an automated process.
  • Electrical engineering: Understand electrical engineering, a field of engineering that deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.
  • Manual draughting techniques: Techniques used for creating detailed drawings of designs by using specialised pencils, rulers, templates and scales.
  • Electrical wiring plans: Pictorial representation of an electrical circuit. It shows the components of the circuit as simplified shapes, and the power and signal connections between the devices. It gives information about the relative position and arrangement of devices and terminals on the devices, to help in building or servicing the device. A wiring diagram is often used to troubleshoot problems and to make sure that all the connections have been made and that everything is present.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of printed circuit board designer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Provide technical documentation: Prepare documentation for existing and upcoming products or services, describing their functionality and composition in such a way that it is understandable for a wide audience without technical background and compliant with defined requirements and standards. Keep documentation up to date.
  • Monitor manufacturing quality standards: Monitor quality standards in manufacturing and finishing process.
  • Use manual draughting techniques: Use non-computerised draughting techniques to make detailed drawings of designs by hand with specialised tools such as pencils, rulers and templates.
  • Create a product’s virtual model: Create a mathematical or three-dimensional computer graphic model of the product by using a CAE system or a calculator.
  • Use CADD software: Use computer-aided design and drafting software to make detailed drawings and blueprints of designs.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
  • Plan manufacturing processes: Determine and schedule production and assembly steps. Plan manpower and equipment needs taking ergonomic considerations into account.
  • Design prototypes: Design prototypes of products or components of products by applying design and engineering principles.
  • Draw blueprints: Draw layout specifications for machinery, equipment and building structures. Specify which materials should be used and the size of the components. Show different angles and views of the product.
  • Ensure equipment maintenance: Ensure that the equipment required for operations is regularly checked for faults, that routine maintenance tasks are performed, and that repairs are scheduled and performed in the case of damage or flaws.
  • Develop assembly instructions: Develop a code of letters and numbers to label diagrams for assembly instructions.

ISCO group and title

3118 – Draughtspersons


References
  1. Printed circuit board designer – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash
Last updated on May 4, 2023