How Can I Find the Right Printed Circuit Board Designer for My Needs? 3 Tips to Help You Vet PCB Engineers

Do you need a printed circuit board for your business or an electronic invention?

Although there are plenty of PCB designers across the United States and beyond, finding a qualified developer who will fulfill your needs and meet your deadline can be a challenge. As with most technical services, you shouldn’t hire a PCB developer based on price alone. Low-cost designers might outsource your work or create a PCB that doesn’t have the necessary functionality or a durable design.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to filter out the amateurs and find a PCB developer with the skills and experience to do the job right:

  1. Ask If the Developer Has an Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC) Certification

As its website explains, the Institute of Printed Circuits is an international association that is committed to promoting the financial success and competitive excellence of companies that design, use, specify and make printed boards and assemblies. The IPC works with companies in the following industries:

  • Military;
  • Advanced microelectronics;
  • Aerospace;
  • Medical equipment;
  • Automotive;
  • Computer;
  • Industrial equipment;
  • And telecommunications.

How Can I Find the Right Printed Circuit Board Designer for My Needs? 3 Tips to Help You Vet PCB Engineers

IPC offers a suite of educational tools and resources, which include training and certification programs. Printed circuit board designers can learn the ins and outs of development techniques and best practices in a classroom setting.

Look for a designer who has the CID certification (Certified Interconnected Designer-basic) or the CID+ certification (for advanced designers). These programs teach industry standards rather than the standards of just one company, so certified developers will be prepared to adapt to your specific needs. IPC-certified designers understand how to take a schematic and transform it into a printed circuit board that can be easily assembled, manufactured and tested.

  1. Look at Past Work, and Ask for References

There are more than 350,000 potential components on printed circuit boards, so one PCB could be significantly different from the next. You should look for a PCB designer who has completed projects that are similar to yours.

Ask to see the developer’s past work and for professional references. Don’t be afraid to contact those references to find out if they are happy with the designer’s performance and the final product.

  1. Ask about the Electronic Design Automation Software That the Developer Uses

EDA software continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The platform that your designer uses could affect the functionality and durability of your printed circuit board, and just as important, the amount of time it takes for the developer to complete your project.

Try to find a PCB designer who uses Circuit Studio or similar software. This is an industry-leading design platform that makes the development process more efficient. Here’s why:

Powerful Schematic Capture: Circuit Studio’s user-friendly schematic capture offers an organized workflow that gives developers a full-circle understanding how of a PCB will perform before routing and manufacturing. The platform has an innovative SPICE simulation engine to help developers identify and resolve mistakes quickly.

Circuit Studio

Feature-Rich PCB Editing: Developers who use outdated EDA software may not have the editing features they need to identify and resolve mistakes. Circuit Studio offers:

  • The ability to create interactive, design rule-driven routing;
  • An autorouter engine built into the software;
  • Centralized component management;
  • And a 3-dimensional visualization engine.

Comprehensive Content Library: You can’t make an efficient PCB if you don’t have the tools to build it. Circuit Studio has a content library with more than 350,000 parts. Developers can also create new parts from scratch or by using existing parts from the content library.

Hiring a PCB designer can seem impossible if you don’t know the ins and outs of creating a printed circuit board. But you don’t need to be a certified expert to find a developer who can fulfill your needs. These three tips will help you compare the options and hire a PCB designer who will do the job right.

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