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The Productive Benefits of PCB Design Training

Key Takeaways

  • Technical training methods that are ineffective

  • The three main styles of technical training

  • Effective PCB design training

PCB design training offers valuable experience in learning how to use CAD tools.

Hands-on training is a valuable experience in learning how to use PCB design CAD tools

If you’re like me, you probably don’t remember too much from your time in school. Oh sure, we’ll remember college and high school, and even certain teachers or events from grade school. But, do you remember sitting in a first-grade class and being taught? I certainly don’t, and yet we can all read, write, add, and subtract without any problems. Helping students to seamlessly learn is one of the amazing things about school teachers, but sadly this aspect of education is often missing when it comes to technical training in the business world, especially when it comes to PCB design training.

Thankfully, some professions are trying to infuse this same level of quality in their technical training that works so well in our school systems. One example of this is how circuit board design software vendors are training their customers. 

With the same creativity used in our school systems, vendors use a number of several different techniques to help their clients resolve problems and come up to speed using their software. Let’s take a look at some of the methods used in PCB design training and how you can benefit from them.

Ineffective Methods of Professional Design Training 

For a long time now, professional design training has a negative stigma associated with it. From the dry videos that have to be endured to sitting through hours of government-mandated instructional sessions, “training” is something that employees usually try to avoid. In many of these scenarios, these training sessions have to be enforced to guarantee a certain percentage of attendance, which only adds to the pain of professional training.

When you compare the style of our school’s education system with many of these professional training sessions. It becomes clearer as to where the problems are. 

School teachers are skilled at building a student’s confidence by guiding them from one objective to the next, and slowly raising the student’s awareness and understanding of the subject. Contrast that, however, to professional training which often ends up being a “data dump” that can overwhelm and frustrate the employee.

Fortunately, some professions have updated their training methods to better meet the needs of their customers, with a prime example being the makers of CAD software tools. Next, we’ll look at some of those methods and how students can benefit from using their software design products.

Multiple schematic sheets open in OrCAD Capture

Learning how to use your CAD tools is essential to creating complex schematics

Breaking PCB Design Training Into Three Main Styles

It is well known that not everyone learns at the same speed, and we all will respond uniquely to different styles of instruction. To meet students where they are and give them the best chance at learning, it is important to have a wide range of instructional methods available to use. 

Here are the three general methods of training that can be used:

  • Written: There are many forms that this type of training can be delivered in; it can start with simple blogs and articles, like what you are currently reading, or increase in technical content with white papers and research pieces. Written training can also include pure data dumps for those that are looking for specific information, Q&A documents, or step by step technical instructions.

  • Video: As with written instruction, there are many different styles that video training can be presented. 

Short introductory clips provide a more marketing-oriented broad overview, the videos can then delve deeper into more specific how-to type presentations. From there, you can have detailed step-by-step instructions or present in-depth lectures. 

  • Hands-on training: This is the standard in-person classroom-style instruction. 

Being able to work with an instructor that can oversee what the students are doing to help them through specific issues and problems is an essential part of the training process. This is not necessarily restricted to a physical classroom, however, as many of these programs now include virtual classrooms to avoid travel and classroom expenses. Another aspect of hands-on training is the many different workshops, seminars, and live sessions available through trade shows and conventions.

As you can see, there are many different ways to provide technical training that customers and clients need in the work-place today. Next, we’ll look at how these methods are helping printed circuit board designers learn how to better use the CAD tools that they work with, and to stay up on current design topics and trends.

OrCAD PCB Designer 3D layout

PCB design training can help you to be more productive laying-out boards like this

Examples of PCB Design Training that Can Help You

To start with, you can find a lot of PCB training in written form. As we noted earlier, blogs like this one help serve the purpose of exploring new ideas in design training. Additionally, most PCB design CAD vendors publish a lot of material on their web site that is produced to help educate users on how to use their tools. Cadence, for instance, has many different blogs, E-books, white papers, Q&A documents, and much much more to help their users.

You can also find a lot of help through video instructions. On Cadence’s website, there are support videos, training videos, and even introductory videos like this one that describes how to register for the OrCAD free trial. You can also find additional videos on YouTube and other platforms that will give detailed instructions on how to perform specific functions within the tools.

Lastly, Cadence has a complete learning and support system that offers a variety of instructor-led and online virtual options. With support centers scattered around the world, there are plenty of different formats so you can attend the training that you need. Cadence offers many training programs for the different platforms and systems they provide, including the printed circuit board schematic capture and PCB layout tools.

Advanced Tools in PCB Design Systems

All of these training methods are set up to help engineers like you become more proficient in the use of their PCB design systems. With the complexity of circuit board designs today, you need advanced tools like OrCAD PCB Designer to take your design from concept to final manufacturing files. And, with the different training options provided by Cadence, you will have the knowledge you need to get the job done.

As the leader in electronic design automation (EDA), Cadence is committed to helping our customers by giving future engineers access to our world-class tools. If you’re looking to learn more about how Cadence has the PCB design training solution for you, talk to us and our team of experts