Being a Design Engineer

Dear Reader, What do you think being a design engineer or even if you are not, what ideas come to your mind when you think as a design engineer?

I am sure that you would have come up with several ideas and thoughts. So I will put my thoughts and ideas and hope to clarify or match with your thoughts.

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There are certain guidelines which must be followed by a design engineer

  • First thing keep in mind that we should not assume things and if there is any assumptions then that must be closed during the design phase otherwise it may turnaround your expectation.
  • Read and understand the specifications carefully and any doubt must be clarified first , only then take further steps.
  • Do the paper work before proceeding on designing the actual design and if there is confusion on any small module of the design which are not proven then it must be experimentally proved in the Lab.
  • Reviews must be done periodically to avoid any mistake or discrepancy.

Second important parameters are when you select the of components for which certain guidelines are to be followed :

  • Define your constraints before selecting any component
  • Select component based on life-cycle, RoHS compliance and temperature gradient
  • Look for availability of product from different vendor and compare the price
  • Keep support from vendor as optional but prioritize this based on your requirement.

Until now, these all steps can be assumed as theoretical knowledge but one needs to have proper ideas that must be proven at least once when we proceed for PCB work.

  • Define stack up based on complexity and requirement
  • Size of board must be decided first if there is any size constraint.
  • Place all the components on the defined area and then on the boards. Find replacement of components that have size constraints
  • Routing guidelines must be followed properly
  • Review must be done periodically

This topic is not done until we validate the design in the LAB. The guidelines which must be followed are –

  • Wear ESD( Electrostatic discharge) footwear before you enter the LAB
  • Be familiar with the Lab tools and their constraints
  • Calibrate the tools before you start the testing
  • Validate short in board before you do power ON
  • Validate all the interfaces present on board
  • Prepare design guidelines explaining all the difficulties faced during testing for future reference and action

Apart from all the regular activities, a design engineer must interact in relevant forums to be updated on the latest trends and insights on the ever changing tools and technology.

Last but not least, I would close by saying:

“Technology change means challenge, learning and adaption. Being a part of Design Engineering is a learning opportunity , an exciting journey that begins when you Graduate”


Author: Nitish Kumar, Design Engineer at CoreEL