Duties and responsibilities
A circuit designer is a type of electrical engineer who is responsible for designing the electronic circuits that make up electrical systems. They may also design different types of circuits and boards and creating signal processing filters. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Turning conceptual designs into real-life, working circuits
- Designing different types of circuits and boards, such as amplifiers and multi-chip modules (MCM)
- Creating signal processing filters, which extract information from electrical currents and voltages
- Ensuring they achieve quality goals and stay within budgets
- Performing laboratory tests using equipment such as a Network Analyzer, Spectrum Analyzer or Power Meter
- Simulating circuits using software, such as SpectreRF and Sonnet
- Providing direction to layout technicians regarding circuit implementation through the use of Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software
Like all other engineers, circuit designers will need a bachelor’s degree in engineering (preferably electrical engineering) from an ABET-accredited program. To obtain licensure, circuit designers will need to pass several exams, participate in internships and obtain work experience. Many circuit designers will go on to achieve a masters degree in electrical engineering, as this will allow them to enter high paying management positions.
Skills and relevant work experience
Circuit designers will learn many skills through their education and on-the-job training. As well as this, they will need skills such as:
- Problem-solving skills, as circuit designers will need to troubleshoot and fix a whole range of mechanical problems
- Communication skills, as circuit designers must work with other professionals, such as technicians and other engineers
- Creativity, as circuit designers will need to come up with innovative and exciting circuits
- Analytical skills, as circuit designers must be able to use advanced techniques to research and solve problems with circuits
Circuit designers are likely to work full time hours (40 hours per week). However, they may have to work overtime when they are working towards deadlines.
According to Zippia, the median annual salary for a circuit designer in the United States is $99,845. At the lower end, the bottom 10% of circuit designers can expect to earn less than $77,000 per year. Whereas, at the upper end, the top 10% can expect to earn over $127,000 per year.
By obtaining a masters degree, circuit designers will have lots more opportunities. With more experience, circuit designers may progress into management conditions, where they will become responsible for supervising a team of other engineers and technicians. They may also progress into project management, consultancy, research and lecturing roles.