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Looking for PCB layout designer

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Slavisa Zigic, Mar 24, 2005.

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  1. We are looking for experienced PCB layout designer with more than 10 years
    of experience with multilayer digital boards( very often more than 10 layers
    with BGA parts). This is not permanent position. Several boards will be
    designed (routed) each year.
    PCB layout designer should be able to produce all files needed for
    fabrication (Gerbers, drill, etc.), sometimes design new footprints...
    We are located in Washington D.C. metropolitan area.


    Slavisa Zigic
    tel: 703-385-4493

  2. Greetings.

    I would venture to say anyone who takes 10+ years to learn how to do
    something as simple as layout for digital boards isn't very smart or
    adaptable. Additionally BGA parts and 10+ layer boards weren't all that
    common 10+ years ago. Even today BGA parts and 10+ layer designs are
    avoided as much as possible due to cost constraints.

    You and pretty much all other employers need to stop making ads that require
    fantastic amounts of experience for relatively easy tasks. As a would be
    employee it is very frustrating to be ignored as a possible candidate simply
    due to lack of documented experience, even though you are certain you are
    more than qualified and capable of fulfilling the job. It obviously doesn't
    help the employer either by passing up perfectly good potential employees.
    In fact, this experience requirement specifically excludes superstar genius
    people from your potential selection pool. Someone who is exceptionally
    bright would typically require much less time to reach an equal or superior
    level of proficiency at some task than most other people. As a consequence
    these exceptionally bright people will not likely meet the XX years
    experience requirement, but are otherwise particularly desirable as
    employees. No company can ever expect to achieve the extreme success
    attained by companies such as the early days of Apple Computer, Intel,
    Microsoft, etc. without exceptionally bright and adaptable employees.
  3. keith

    keith Guest

    Oh, bullshit! I was doing 8-layer cards (and 12 layer boards) 30 years
    ago. Cost is a matter for the business types. BGA wasn't a biggie 10
    years ago either. Ten-layer boards are trivial (and not all that
    pricey) today. Perhaps you're in over your head.
    Perhaps you've never had a difficult task? think it's all easy? you, who think a 10-layer board is impossible? Trust me it's not.

    What an idiotic statement. Experience means nothing?
    What a dumb statement. Experinece talks.

  4. Whoa there tiger. No need to get fiesty. I was making generalizations and
    with all generalizations there are exceptions. I never said ten layer
    boards were difficult or impossible. Generally speaking the more layers you
    have the easier it is to route everything. In many ways a single layer
    board is much more difficult to route properly than a ten layer board.

    In many ways I consider computer motherboards to represent the most
    complicated electronic consumer product (PCB wise) which is made in large
    volume. Motherboard manufactureres have been using four layer (as I
    understand it usually six layer now) boards for ages. That isn't to say 10+
    layer boards aren't in common use.

    All tasks are difficult at first, but with a little work they become much ea
    sier. I consider a smart person to be someone who doesn't take very long
    (compared to most other people) to become proficient at some given task. On
    the other hand by my definition a stoopid person is someone who takes a long
    time to achieve a reasonable level of competance at some task, and in the
    long run may never reach the level of compentance in that field as most
    other people. Of course, people are complicated creatures, a person can be
    smart in some areas and complete morons in others.

    I never claimed any such thing. Designing and then routing a fully
    functional ten layer board is well within my capability.

    And yes I am an exceptionally bright individual (in some ways, although
    admittedly not all). After completeing public school through eighth grade I
    started college at age 13. I then graduated with an associates of business
    degree at age 15 with a 3.86 GPA. During that time I did peer tutoring and
    tutored many of my peers in subject such as mathematics. Many of my tutees
    had many more years of "experience" learning mathematical concepts than me
    (having had to go through high school, etc.), yet I had in much less time
    managed to master all of the mathematics that my particular college taught.

    I never claimed any such thing. I contend experience is very valuable,
    however, I believe X years of experience isn't as good a metric of
    competance as directly measuring or observing ability.

    Not that long ago I read an employment ad that was looking for a
    groundskeeper. The primary responsibility was to pick up trash and mow the
    grass. They wanted 1+ year of experience. I don't know about some people,
    but I don't need one whole year to learn how to mow grass and pick up
  5. keith

    keith Guest

    It's rather hard to compare single-layer boards with ten-layer complexity.
    Sure, if you have the same functino to perform a single layer will be a
    tad tougher. One doesn't add layers if they're not needed. I was
    objecting to your stating that 10+ layer boards and BGAs weren't all that
    common ten years ago. They were.
    Consumer products aren't the end-all in technology. They pushed more by
    cost than technology.
    I see. It's only impossible for others. For you...
    Wow! Is your arm sore?
    One minutes observation isn't much to go on either. I'll take relevant
    experience anytime.
    You miss the point. If they have one year experience, they'll be more
    likely to hang around past the first check. The candidate *may* be more
    reliable than one still wet behind the ears.
  6. Clarence_A

    Clarence_A Guest

    All generalizations are FALSE, including this one!

    'GE-600' Computer used 9 layer impedance controlled boards in the
    '60s. They were no harder to lay out than any other board and I
    have been laying out boards since it was done with pen and ink.

  7. Well that is the problem with words like "common" whose definition wasn't
    quantified in this context. So we can both be right on this. My version of
    the definition of "common" is evidently different from yours.

    That said, in 1995 I was using a 486 DX33 and it didn't have any BGA parts
    on it. In 1999 I worked for an electronics manufacturing company with X-ray
    equipment needed for working with BGAs. While that was in no way amazing in
    1999, not all of the local competitors in the business had the tools needed
    for working with BGA parts.

    That is often true, but consumer products dominate in terms of volume. In
    terms of the total number of PCBs produced in 1995, I'm sure the number
    using 10+ layers takes a very small part of the pie.

    I never said it was impossible for others either. But regardless this is
    way off topic of my main point in my first post. My orignal point was I had
    a problem with employers effectively descriminating against smart people.
    Descrimination against smart people (as well as responsible people) is
    rather epidemic in our society. Most people are totally unaware of this
    simply because it doesn't effect them.

    Take for instance the minimum driver licensing age. It varies by state in
    the US, but is typically somewhere around 16. When I was 13 I was
    definitely responsible enough to drive a car, which would have been very
    valuable for me for transport to and from college. No bussing system or
    mass transit was available in this area. Unfortunately due to societal
    descrimination against responsible people I had to ride a bicyle (uphill
    both directions in the snow, etc.) to school instead. How fair was that?

    Of course, one might argue that even a very responsible 13 year old
    shouldn't be allow to drive since if they caused a car wreck (even if a pure
    accident and not due to irresponsible behavior) they could not pay for the

    I would counter that argument by saying that the very responsible 13 year
    old wouldn't be able to pay for the damages since our society further
    descriminates against the responsible and capable 13 year old with child
    labor laws that prevent them from working for money.

    The point is many aspects of our society are simply too ridged. The rules
    are too unbending. There isn't enough room for exceptions. My specific
    qualm at the moment is with employers that descriminate against smart people
    with their X years experience requirements. Why do I even mention the
    problem? Well I want to change it, that is why. The way I see it the first
    step towards fixing this problem is to make people aware that it even exists
    by pointing it out in a public forum. One of the later steps is to figure
    out what method of hiring people would be better and more fair.

    The whole process has problems including the resume writing/submittal/review
    steps. The resume process gives a great advantage to people who are
    dishonest and those who are perfectly comfortable bragging about how great
    they are. An honest/modest person who feels uncomfortable bragging about
    themself will have a disadvantage. He who lies on their resume the most is
    the most likely to be contacted for an interview. This isn't right. This
    is bad.

    I propose employers should adopt a strategy of creating long
    questionaires/quizzes available to any prospective employee. The employer
    is free to make up the quiz/questionaire however they see fit, but
    presumably would include actual questions relevant to the job requirements.
    For example, for a digital design type job one question might be:

    You want to implement the function: Output = A + B'C'D'A + (CD + B'). How
    would you do this?
    (leave space for the would be employee to enter schematics)

    If the would be employee can't answer this or produces an ugly quagmire of
    over 100 gates, then they could quickly be excluded from a face to face
    interview. On the other hand if they produce a very elegant solution using
    the least possible gates, then it might be justifiable to do a face to face
    interview provided the rest of their answers to the other questions are

    Or maybe a question for switch mode power supply designer:

    (show full and detailed schematics of a typical SMPS)
    The above powersupply has been found to have an unstable control loop.
    (provide relevant details such as capacitor ESR, etc.) Modify the
    schematics so the power supply is stable.

    Or for some other type of electronics job, maybe one question might be like:

    (show schematics of some circuit with a few errors in it)
    When the circuit shown above was prototyped and tested on the bench the
    device didn't work right. What is wrong with the design? Provide a
    description of how you might fix it.

    You get the idea.

    The employer can make the test as long as they want (and should). This will
    also be helpful for would be employees that don't know for sure if they are
    applying for the right kind of job and if they could handle it or not. This
    kind of test would be far more fair than a strict X years experience

    No, but it seemed relevant that I established some degree of credibility
    since you were using words that suggested I was an idiot.

    No need for it to be a minute, a pre-interview test could be made
    arbitrarily lengthy since the employer doesn't have to pay employee
    candidates jack doodly.

    Without a doubt experience is a very valuable thing.

    I agree in this example such a requirement may have something to do with
    employees hanging around with this kind of job. On the other hand
    prospective employees for design/engineering jobs such as the OP's are
    comparatively stable, but they do need to have some degree of mental
    flexibility. Discriminating against the most mentally flexible people
    doesn't make much sense for a job that requires mental flexibility.
  8. Guest

    I agree with Fritz on this one. I was doing multilayer PCBs for a large
    company at a young age after about 2 weeks learning the system, having
    never used anything like it before. Before that job I only designed 1
    and 2 layer boards with crepe tape.

    10 years experience to design pcbs is laughable, and is sure to put off
    any employee that has even a glimmer of hope for the future. You will
    only get the ones that have no chance of ever doing anything better,
    and know it. If you want dead end employees whose work is so bad no-one
    will consider promoting them, thats your choice, but if I were a
    potential employee, your company wouldnt be mine.

    If you want your new meployee to stick around for 1 month+, ask for 1
    months experience in any sit down job, it doesnt matter whether its pcb
    design or not.

  9. keith

    keith Guest

    Common <> consumer products. Even there, the Japaneese were using BGAs
    extensively *ten* years ago. Hell man, it's 2005! BGAs weren't uncommon
    in '90. Sure, people were scared of 'em, but change is good for the soul.
    Consumer PC crap. Cost is king in this market, not reliability,
    performance, size, or any other metric. Cost is only second to *COST*.
    Sure multi-layer boards are more expensice (the board manufacturers yelped
    at a $5 adder to go to six layer), but that does *not* mean that they
    weren't common. Mainframes have been using boards with more layers than
    I've got fingers and toes (full compliment, BTW) for 25 years, or more.
    It is not "often" true. It *IS* true. The quantity of boards produced
    isn't much of a metric either. The *fact* is that 10 layer is simple to
    design and manufacture. the house I last worked with didn't have any
    problem with controlled impedances (50 inner 75 outer) on a 10-layer .062"
    board. All I had to do is specify the impedances and stack and they came
    back with all the other importan parameters (like trace widths, fishing
    lands out of BGA messes, etc.). This stuff is *WELL* known.
    If you think they want a shingle, sure. That's what the lawyers want to
    see. ...can't discriminate. The *fact* is that revelant experience
    talks. Pretty paper with a seal on it gets the foot in the door.
    Intelligence isn't quantifiable, but education and experience is.
    That sore arm is comming back!

    There is *NO* way I want to be on the same road as a 13YO. I'm not too
    happy with unconditional licenses at 16, these days. Because you feel
    you were discriminated against, because you sere SOOooo smart, you have my
    Neither can a 16YO. But I'm not in charge.
    What do you think about a drunk being able to drive better at a .25%BAC
    better than a 90YO granny stone-cold sober? Should the drunk be able to
    drive, drunk?
    ....better go to Holland. I hear they have some grand windmills there.

    Just *why* do you believe that experince isn't important? You whine
    about it a lot, but I don't see *you* hiring the gifted and otherwise
    unproven. If you have a better way, you should be able to kick ass in the
    A resume == job? Fraud == goodness? My we are on a roll, eh?
    No can do. See: "discrimination", "lawyer", "law suit", "bankruptcy".
    Are you asking me? I wouldn't give it any thought. If that's all "you"
    have for me to do, you can't afford me. Any half-idiot would plug it into
    a program and have the bloody thing designed *and* timed.
    What if the candidate thinks in HDL? What if the candidate can solve
    such trivial problems by inspection? Are you saying that you're so
    tight-assed that only schematics may apply? Shit, schematics come
    *way* after the problem has been solved.
    Are you saying that every employee should have identical skills? Man, you
    have a warped sense of reality. The fact is that projects form around hte
    people, not the other way around. If everyone were cookies from the same
    cutter, nothing would get done.
    Ah, so now you have to have a seperate (and regulated) test for every
    member of the team. Have fun with the lawyers.
    Yes, I get *your* idea. You're inviting every Tom, Dick, and Esquire into
    your house to feed off your bottom line. If that's what *you* want to do,
    fine. The fact is that you're way out of line.
    There is *nothing* better than x-years of *relevant* experience.
    Experience carries a lot of information with it. Newbs haven't had the
    opportunity to fail. We learn from failures more than text books.
    Not! It added nothing but braggadocio to your errant claims.
    Then what *IS* your point? Yikes!
    The fact is that you assume a *lot*. I trust you don't own your own
    engineering business (nor do I).
  10. keith

    keith Guest

    Ok, your point is? ...that you weren't qualified for the job?
    My guess is that you've never designed a high-end PCB. Sure, any phool
    can design at audio frequencies.
    Bullshit. The point was that gardening is a tough job. They wanted
    people who had done it for a year (after a year they tend to last longer).
    Engineering work (I hesitate to say that PCB layout is "engineering") has
    far different set of requirements of its practitioners. I tend to look at
    "layout" as *BOOORRRING* as landscaping is physically hard work.

    The bottom line is that the employer is the one with the hammer. If you
    don't like it, become the employer. Until then, I'm not going to cry for
  11. Rob Gaddi

    Rob Gaddi Guest

    Okay, I'll bite, how does one go about stacking an odd layer board?
  12. Guest

    Sorry, I thought the point was obvious, that it did not take long to
    get up to speed on the job.

    This was computer equipment for a large project. It was necessary to
    talk with the project engineers to address some issues, thats the price
    of lack of experience.

    Doesnt sound ilke the point to me, but we're entitled to our opinion.s

    of course, and boring sitdown jobs are the same boredom anywhere. The
    employee needs to be ok with boring sitdown work, it dosent have to be
    boring pcb design work. Its not as bad as that really, but it doesnt
    suit everyone.

    I have, and do prefer it.

    er, good :) (Im looking kinda puzzlde about that one)

  13. Clarence_A

    Clarence_A Guest


    Pretty usual now days. Not used by all fab houses.

    See ABSE "Stack_5"
  14. Rob Gaddi

    Rob Gaddi Guest

    No can do, our network admins have decided that the entire alt.binaries
    tree is either porn or stolen software and blocked the whole shebang.
    Can you either webhost or email it to me?
  15. Rob Gaddi

    Rob Gaddi Guest

    Alright, having looked over the stackup, I remain confused. Back when
    I was an undergrad they told us that you couldn't do things like that
    because all the copper had to be on a core. And because the asymmetry
    in the stackup would cause the board to warp, especially if you had any
    interior planes.

    So what didn't they tell me?
  16. Clarence_A

    Clarence_A Guest

    That a process improves over time, and with enough money you can
    do anything! The Nine layer boards were very expensive at that
    time, but my last layout was 10 layers and cost wasn't
    particularly high.

    "They" probably also told you no blind vias or 2 mil vias, yet my
    last board had over 1000 2mil vias and 800 buried blind vias. No
    through hole parts used either. Micro vias (2mil) were unheard
    of a few years ago. It was 10mil as a minimum until laser drills
    came into more common use. But "Micro vias" are only between
    layers not through the board.

    The illustration of the stack is graphic, but the implementation
    will vary with the venders process. The old five layers were
    laminated with three single sided layers and one two sided layer.
    The 6 mil layer in the prepreg for the odd layer doesn't show
  17. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

    That's an interesting proposition, and I agree that a process can
    improve over time, but I disagree with your position that with enough
    money anything is possible since, with reference to a fixed time frame
    and regardless of the finite resources available in our world, no
    amount of money is available which can set a thinker freer than he can
    set himself.
    It strikes me that, with a volume limit imposed, as surface features
    increase and their interconnections increase, rigid interconnections
    between the various layers will need to relinquish their rigidity and
    yield to free-floating connections isolated from each other by
    insulating sheaths. Myelin, for us.

    Soon, we will build beings which will be as confounded about us as we
    are about who built us, and as He is about who built Him.
  18. Fritz,
    I sounds like you were a young genius, and now find it hard to get out
    of the prejudices that you ran into early. It also looks like you
    haven't begun to figure out the job hunting experience, either, but let
    me give you a few pointers.

    First, manager hire people that can get their job done, period. If he
    doesn't think you can do it, FOR WHATEVER REASON, then he won't hire you.

    Second, HR is tasked with preventing, as much as possible, that a
    manager find that person they are looking for. Therefore, managers
    often hire schmucks who can't do the job well, but maybe can at least
    get it done eventually. It is the best the can do with what they can find.

    Third, take a look at the Ask the Headhunter site. He has a lot about
    the first two facts, and how to make them work for you, and not against
    you. If you are talking to an HR person before you have talked to the
    hiring manager, then you are probably not going to get the job.

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