What Does a Printed Circuit Board Designer Do?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2020
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A printed circuit board designer has the important task of making circuit boards and ensuring that they work so businesses and clients can use them for their own needs. One of the basic responsibilities of a printed circuit board designer is placing parts on the board and properly configuring it. This type of designer often works on custom projects, so it is important that he knows how to optimize the board. Computer-aided design (CAD) and specific circuit board design programs normally are used by this designer. After the circuit board is made, the designer also is responsible for testing it to ensure it works.

Part of being a printed circuit board designer is placing parts on a circuit board. This means the designer should have a vast knowledge of different parts, including knowing what they do and how to safely configure them on the board. The designer also should be aware of weight to ensure that the board does not become so heavy that it will not fit in a system.


Along with knowing parts, a printed circuit board designer usually is expected to be creative and capable of optimizing parts and boards for clients. For example, if a client needs a circuit board for an arcade machine that has specific power needs, then the designer has to be able to optimize the board to fit the client’s parameters. If the designer is working for a company instead of freelancing, then he usually is expected to find ways of optimizing existing boards so the company or clients can better use their technology.

A printed circuit board designer normally does not manually place parts on a board; the parts commonly are positioned by using a CAD or circuit board design program. This enables the designer to easily export the design to circuit board manufacturers, and these programs typically make it easier to work with the parts that go below the surface of a circuit board. Manual positioning is so rare that the designer typically is expected to have experience with these programs.

Once a circuit board is completed, it usually has to be tested. While a printed circuit board designer will not commonly make a faulty board, testing ensures the board works optimally and that there are no manufacturing errors. Some companies use other people to test the board, but the designer commonly is part of the testing process.


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