College Level PCB Design Courses

New college-level courses for electrical engineers are now available, focusing on PCB design. EMA Design Automation, Cadence, and Rochester Institute of Technology collaborated to develop online and in-person courses taught by experts. The aim is to provide engineers with skills, talent, and abilities to tackle the constantly evolving technology world.

Two instructors helping an adult student using a laptop

The creator developed these courses based on the old book "Hitchhiker's Guide to PCB Design." The creator developed a curriculum to bridge the skills gap, focusing on critical topics such as design for manufacturability, understanding how to use multiple PCB design tools, and the fundamentals of both design and manufacturing.

EMA was responsible for the development of these new courses and their curriculum. This process was led by a team of expert PCB designers who developed and reviewed the final drafts. Cadence donated the OrCAD software used for the course so instructors can offer hands-on instruction. Students can even become OrCAD certified by EMA by proving their expert skills and understanding of the tool.

Dr. David Junkin, Cadence's Academic Network Program Director, said, “Ongoing learning is essential in acquiring the critical skills and specialized knowledge necessary to succeed in tomorrow's workforce.” He continued, “Cadence is proud to support both EMA and RIT in their efforts to make learning PCB design easily accessible to new engineers. With knowledge and understanding of this critical skill, they can continue to solve complex technological challenges and drive innovation for the next generation of electronic devices.”

A yearly survey conducted by PCD&F shows that approximately 78 percent of PCB designers will be retired and no longer in the workforce within the next fifteen years. The market currently faces a critical shortage of well-trained, expert PCB designers. This shortage is a product of the lack of proper training, mentorship, and continuing education opportunities. These new courses are critical to keeping engineers and PCB designers up to par and with market demand.