Engineers with knowledge of embedded systems and VLSI are preferred highly
With today’s engineering slowly turning towards ‘smart’, skills of embedded system engineers are highly sought after in PCB design. “Companies today seek embedded engineers to depute them to work with the PCB Design team,” states Dr Radhakrishnan HK; who is a Bengaluru-based career counsellor who has spent the last two decades in guiding engineering students towards right career paths.
“All major electronics companies today seek talented PCB Designers with knowledge of embedded systems,” adds, a senior PCB Designer working for Capgemini in Bengaluru, on the condition of annonymity.
Nonetheless, there are also other skills that are in demand currently and sought after by companies; apart from embedded systems and VLSI.
Generalised skillsets – what does it take to get PCB Design jobs in 2017?
“It is worth understanding that the PCB Design domain has not saturated. Electronics and electrical engineers can actively look at the sector to build careers based on technical knowledge,” states Anil Kumar K – a Hyderabad-based senior recruiter.
Other PCB design engineers, who we spoke to, also chose to downplay myths about the sector being saturated.
Now, with rumours out of the way, skillsets to work as PCB Designers include a bachelor’s degree in electronics or electrical engineering, understanding of PCBs, Analog, SPI, Thermal Analysis, Altium Designer, Proteus, Eagle, Altium, ORCAD, VHDL, C, C++, along with embedded systems and VLSI. Skillsets required could vary based on the hiring firms.
As far as experienced PCB design professionals are concerned, EDA tool knowledge is mandatory to have a sustainable career in the PCB Design industry. Other sought-after aspects (in terms of experienced pros) are:
- Sound knowledge of transmission line theory
- PCB Troubleshooting
- Working knowledge of PCB materials, in tandem with manufacturing
- Ability to clearly differentiate PCBs
- Computer-Aided Design tools
- PCB Troubleshooting
Apart from the above skillsets, it is also vital to possess soft skills and eye for detail.
“At this juncture, freshers can look at immense opportunities in PCB Designing,” adds Robin Matthews.
Robin also brings to light an important aspect that is vital for fresh engineers desirous of beginning working career in the PCB Design domain. This is related to the in-house training that Indian firms and even MNCs adhere to before deputing engineers on projects.
Fresh engineers go through custom training rigours that usually last up till three months. Projects offered initially would fall into the category of ‘entry-level’.
Most of the above skillsets are taught at the academic engineering level itself; however, with a number of training centres (even government-sponsored ones) having mushroomed, fresh engineers including the students can choose to do certification programs in courses such as PCB Troubleshooting, Computer-Aided Designing, PCB Materials, and more.
Also, with a sprout in the number of online forums offering webinars and training programs in the above skillsets, fresher engineers can explore the eTutorials as well.
“It should do no harm for fresh engineers to opt for PCB Design courses externally in the form of certifications. However, the key is to choose the government-approved and those institutions having quality track record,” states Dr Radhakrishnan.
Are PCB Design careers lucrative in 2017?
The aspect of pay packages in PCB Designing, like the sector itself, has fallen prey to a multitude of rumours that have gone on record to state that efforts put in by design engineers are not worth the pay. Experts have chosen to debunk these myths as well.
“Pay package for PCB Design engineers is directly proportional to the amount of creativity put in. As electronics and electricals cannot do without PCBs, creative innovations here definitely translate into additional financial gains,” clarifies Robin Matthews.
As far as exact pay packages are concerned, fresher engineers can expect ₹1.7- ₹2 lakhs to start-off with, as per industry standards. It is also worth remembering that companies (and firms, even factories) also offer incentives for ‘creative PCB Designing’ to innovatively drive electronics products.
Also, pay package would naturally increase with increasing experience. Industry veterans expect the average pay package for a design engineer with nearly 4 years of experience to hover around the ₹4- ₹5 lakhs per annum mark.
Selection within companies generally takes place based on performance in written (technical) tests and personal interviews. Finally, industry experts also sound optimistic when they suggest engineers to anticipate growth of the industry by as much as 30%.
“Electronics research is booming in India at a tremendous pace, this trend is directly connected with growth in the PCB Design domain,” signs-off Dr Radhakrishnan.
PCB Design as a career in a nutshell
|PCB Design domain has not saturated; don’t fall prey to myths|
|Electronics research in India is poised for excellent growth|
|Pay packages for fresh engineers to lie in the ₹1.7- ₹2 lakhs per annum range|
|PCB Design firms recognise and reward creativity|
|Embedded Systems, VLSI, VHDL, C, C++, Altium amongst sought-after skills by hiring firms in 2017|
Contributors to the story
|Dr Radhakrishnan HK||Bengaluru-based expert career counsellor with twenty years of experience|
|Robin Matthews||Senior PCB Design engineer at a Bengaluru-based MNC|
|Anil Kumar K||Senior Technical Recruiter based in Hyderabad|
|A Senior PCB Design Engineer working at Capgemini in Bengaluru|
|Currently active PCB Designers working in Indian firms; numbering 4|
Written by Rahul R, Senior Technical Journalist at EFY