There was a time when PCB designers were the odd man out. They’re still a little odd, actually, but that’s another story. In the 1970s and ‘80s, unless you worked in a hotbed of high-tech like Silicon Valley, you may not have known too many other PCB designers.
That’s what happens when you work in a career that isn’t its own industry. And it was usually one or two designers working with an office full of EEs, none of whom understood exactly what you did anyway.
Back then, it was easy for a designer to feel isolated.
But the IPC Designers Council has done quite a bit to erase that feeling of being out of touch. Founded in 1992, the Designers Council is a group created “by designers, for designers” with over 1,000 members and 33 chapters around the globe. The DC offers networking opportunities, technical education, and certification such as the certified interconnect designer program (CID and CID+).
There is one important distinction about the DC. Unlike IPC membership, which is awarded only to companies, DC members are all individuals. There is no cost to join the Designers Council.
One of the biggest benefits of being involved with the DC is networking; you never know who you’re going to run into at a meeting. Some of the monthly “lunch-and-learn” chapter meetings draw a crowd of PCB designers and technologists—the Orange County and San Diego chapters routinely boast 50 or more attendees—who listen to guest presenters discuss some of the problems that designers face every day. If you live near a Designers Council chapter, make it a point to attend the next meeting. There’s a small fee to cover the cost of lunch, but you might learn something that helps you design your next board.
No, the DC isn’t perfect. After all, it’s made up of PCB designers! I’m kidding. In fact, bashing the Designers Council is almost a sport for some designers. But if you want to affect any sort of change, don’t just talk smack about the group; get involved! And if you’re not located near a DC chapter, why not start your own chapter? Our new columnist Stephen Chavez is a Designers Council Executive Board member, and he’d be happy to help you launch a chapter in your area.
To read this entire column, which appeared in the December 2018 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.