In order to learn PCB designing to the level expected by the industry, I went to a PCB shop at Lajpat Rai Market, Delhi and asked if I can purchase one or two PCBs. Actually, I wanted to learn if I can design PCB as good as those ready-made PCBs (inverter, USP, Battery charger, etc.). Shopkeeper asked me what you will do with these PCBs, I told him I am learning PCB designing and want to see if I can make (copy) PCB as good as ready-made PCBs. Listening to that he told me if I can design one PCB for him he will pay me 40/-, it was a small design. I did it in two revisions. I got very excited about this.
That episode gave me an idea and confidence that I can do this work for many companies. For the next several months, I tried to improve my PCB design skills and then during my 6th semester of engineering, I visited several companies in Faridabad, Delhi to find PCB designing work. I got a few companies interested. The work was mainly copying the existing PCB (sometimes it was also a new design).
In 2004, I was working for 8 – 10 companies and doing PCB design work for them and if I remember correctly I used to get 15 – 20 rupees per square inches, yes, that’s how the cost was calculated. It was really tough work and full of exploitation from companies as money offered was very low but I still continued to do to understand the real life, the experience of working for others, and ultimately to improve my PCB design skills.
I learned a lot during this period like how to approach new people, how to understand requirements, how to give time estimates, how to negotiate, how to handle critical feedback, how to improve productivity by creating templates for repeated work, etc. It was a huge learning for me at the point of time.
PCB Design Job in Delhi
After about 8 – 9 months of freelancing, I stopped and started working for a company in Delhi near Nehru Place as a PCB Designer for 3 months, I used to get 5000/- per month. They used to provide CCTV security & surveillance systems to other companies and there was a separate department for power supply design and manufacturing. I did more than ten power supply PCB designs (based on Power Integration chips) during that period and learned about technical stuff about PCB designing which I was lacking before. That was the time I started learning in-depth like design rules, best practices, noise reduction techniques, etc.
You can see below some of my PCB design work. Protel 2.7 software (now Altium) was used for designing.
NEXT (how I got introduced to Google & microcontrollers :))