A circuit design refers to the layout of the physical components on a circuit board. The art of circuit design covers the creation of complex electronic systems down to small individual components.
A single engineer can design a circuit. Or, for more complex plans, a whole team might be required. Luckily, today there are computer simulations that make circuit design much more efficient.
What Is Circuit Design?
A circuit designer spends a lot of time making circuit diagrams. Computer software is used to simulate what components do in real life. And a design is programmed as a list of instructions, also called a netlist.
Circuit design can be difficult and complex. However, if you are detail-oriented and love technology, then you can learn this subject in no time.
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Stages of Circuit Design
A circuit design is the first step to any project in electronics. And this begins with creating a schematic diagram of the circuit’s components. This design will include details of how pins are connected on a circuit board amongst many other things.
When the design is finished, it can perform simulations using a printed circuit board (PCB). This test can ensure compliance with the project’s requirements.
Keep reading to learn about more steps in this design process.
- Outlining. First, it’s important to prepare the idea. Proper visualizations and diagrams of the specialty components are especially needed.
- Schematic drawing. Next, complete a schematic drawing. Components will be connected in the representation in a fully functional way.
- PCB layout. The next step is to start your PCB layout. This is where attention to detail is very important. The circuit work needs to be meticulous and each component needs to be assembled correctly.
- Prototyping. This stage involves the physical construction of the circuit board. All components are assembled and any errors are documented.
- Placement of components. Finally, this step will depend on the prototype created. Place the components on your board and fire it up.
Software Used for Circuit Design
Learning software and how to build computer simulations is crucial for your prototype to make it to market.
Check out some of the design software you will encounter in circuit design below.
This is a popular one. It’s used for creating schematics and PCB design and includes an editor for designing circuit diagrams. The software has many features to choose from like component placement, routing, and a comprehensive library of content.
This is a simple and easy platform and has everything required to design a schematic including an editor. It includes many features like 3D views, a content library, and PCB layers.
This is an open-source electronics design package. It includes an editor for creating schematic designs and making professional PCB layouts. It also has up to 32 copper layers and an option for 3D angles and views. If you are familiar with the software architects use, AutoCAD, then you’ll pick up KiCAD quickly.
This is another powerful computer-aided design (CAD) software used by circuit designers. When studying circuitry this can be a powerful and useful tool.
How to Become a Circuit Designer
There is a circuit board in nearly every electronics item in your home. As technology continues to advance, jobs to design this essential part of modern life will also grow in demand. The number of new gadgets as well as new skills and opportunities in circuit design are expected to increase.
It’s never been easier to start learning this useful career skill with simulators accessible from your own computer. Why not begin today?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Circuit Designer?
This depends. Circuit design is a complex field. You may first want to attend a four-year university. Or, if you’d like to pick up this skill as a hobby, check out options for classes below. These resources include self-paced courses or more structured education with different time commitments.
How to Learn Circuit Design: Step-by-Step
Have you decided to become a circuit designer? Below are some basic steps to help you along the way.
- Learn the basics. First, learn what electronic circuits and circuit boards do. Examine broken electronic items (make sure they are not plugged in) and study the components of a circuit board.
- Get comfortable with designing. Start by installing circuit board simulation software. Take advantage of any built-in tutorials in these programs.
- Enroll in a course. Next, enroll in a course or two. We have provided a range of options below whether you are a beginner or coming at the subject with more experience.
- Get certified. This will increase your chances of landing a job as well as help you continue your education while working.
The Best Circuit Design Courses and Training
Learning how to design circuits will open opportunities in a specialized and well-paying job sector. Below we have some educational options for you to get started.
Circuit Design Certifications
Certifications are great for new students and veteran engineers. Within the electronics industry, after all, it’s necessary to never stop learning.
- Provider: IPC
- Instruction method: Classroom and instructor-led
- Length: 2 full days
- Prerequisites: Independent study of the course material
- Cost: Contact the provider
This course is based on industry standards and will test your knowledge of the core principles of PCB design. The instruction will enhance your technical knowledge of circuits including how they are manufactured, assembled, and tested.
This certification is recognized throughout the industry and includes 100 multiple choice questions requiring at least a score of 73 percent to pass. The course material is shipped to the student.
Best Online Circuit Design Courses
Take advantage of these online courses which offer a degree of flexibility. Below are some affordable options that cover essential topics in circuit design.
- Provider: Udemy
- Instruction method: Online paid course
- Length: 103.5 hours of on-demand video
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: $9.99
Once you complete this course you will be able to analyze and construct basic digital and analog circuits. These lessons will teach you both theory and practical aspects including time and frequency domains, solderless breadboards, wire wrapping, and soldering.
- Provider: FEDEVEL Academy
- Instruction Method: Online Pre-recorded Videos (with subtitles)
- Length: 10 one-hour lessons
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: Starting at $99
Learn how to create professional-level boards using these resources. This course will teach you how to import schematics, organize folders, and create 3D visuals while getting tips from instructors.
Free Online Courses
- Provider: Skillshare
- Instruction Method: Online pre-recorded videos
- Length: Up to 3 hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: Varies
The Skillshare website is one of the most visited educational resource sites in the world. It offers five courses for students to learn circuit design. Learn more below.
- PCB Design With Eagle Step-by-Step Tutorial
- PCB Design for Everyone With EasyEDA
- Electronic Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Design: EagleCAD
- Basic PCB Design in Altium Designer
Circuit Design Books
Below are some books to learn even more about circuit design. These can allow you to dive even deeper into this complex yet rewarding field.
Though it was written in 2016, this text still holds up. It includes 25 lessons which begin with the basics and then continue to topics of traditional circuit engineering. This book also teaches the reader about the digital processes applied in microcontrollers and the hardware description language Verilog.
This text teaches you everything about the theory and implementation of circuit design, layout, and simulations. And it includes an updated guide that describes numerous analog and digital circuit blocks. The book also has resources on its accompanying website which gives you access to many CAD tools.
Online Circuit Design Resources
Feel like you’d like a refresher after all of this material? These online resources below will help.
This site lets you download a circuit simulation to practice your designing skills. It also includes a Q&A section.
Download nine free and open-source programs to learn circuit designing. Get your hands on software like CircuitMaker, KiCad EDA, ADS Circuit Design Software, Simulide, and more.
Tap into the National Instruments Circuit Design Technical Library, which is full of free resources to learn circuit design. Find real-world examples, learn new concepts, and study fundamentals using tutorial videos, schematics, and user guides.
Should You Study Circuit Design?
Circuit design is a complex subject to learn. However, we believe if you take advantage of the resources provided, you’ll be on your way to becoming a certified professional in this rewarding field.
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