best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?

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Hi - so recently talking with someone I mentioned that I use Cadsoft's
Eagle for schematic capture and board design. They were quite
surprised, and said that Eagle is not used hardly at all in the
professional world, and employers would much prefer to see a different
program listed on my resume (as I will soon be applying for jobs, being
a 3rd year EE). He specifically suggested orcad and pcad. I just
thought it'd be best to get a second opinion, though I expect he knows
what he's talking about. What do you all think? Thanks,

-M. Noone


Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professionalworld?



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Depends on where and what you are doing.

Orcad is pretty standard in medium-large businesses.  Protel has a lot
of use in small businesses.  Use Cadence Concept if you have a
masochistic tendency and want to work for big companies...

Charlie

Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?


On Fri, 09 Sep 2005 15:58:10 -0700, Charlie Edmondson

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Sno-o-o-o-ort!

Cadence products and PAIN do seem to go hand-in-hand ;-)

                                        ...Jim Thompson
--
|  James E.Thompson, P.E.                           |    mens     |
|  Analog Innovations, Inc.                         |     et      |
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Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?


If you can use one of the programs you can learn to use all of them,
though with the less user-friendly ones you forget stuff if you stop
using it for a couple of weeks.

I'm sure Charlie Edmondson is right - Orcad and Protel probably
cameprobably name more customers than anybody else, while Cadence might
have more seats.

Check out sci.electronics.cad for a better informed opinion.

There are quite a few other programs out there - I've used Metheus
(probably long extinct), several flavours of Orcad, and Ultiboard, and
one mob that I worked for used the PADS program. Bartels AutoEngineer
has its fans ...

I like gEDA myself. It's Linux/GNU software, and if you don't like what
it does, you can dive into the source code and improve it. Not that I
can - in my programing days I was a master of Fortran 4, and I've yet
to make the switch to C and Python.

http://www.geda.seul.org /

-----------
Bill Sloman, Nijmegen

http://www.geda.seul.org /


Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professionalworld?


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I second that!
Although I still find myself using ORCAD to draw schematics and gEDA's
"PCB" program (open source) to do layout

But then again its hobby not commercial design so ...


Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professionalworld?


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Someone who only cares about what schematic capture program you're used
to either wants a draftsman or they don't know what they're talking
about.  I would take a resume listing for _any_ second schematic capture
program to mean that you are ready to learn whatever one comes your way.

--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professionalworld?


Hello Tim,

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Amen!

Eagle is fine as far as I am concerned. Ok, maybe I am biased because I
switched from OrCad to Eagle.

Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com

Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?


Was there anything in particular that drove you to make this switch?
Just curious as I'm currently pondering making a switch in the other
direction...


Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professionalworld?


Hello Michael,

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The answer can be summed up in one single ASCII character: $

My first OrCad license cost $499 IIRC. Just for schematic because I
don't do layouts myself. Latest I heard it's now above $1500. At Cadsoft
you get the whole enchilada (schematic, layout and autorouter) for that
money. I also like the support groups for Eagle where you receive
answers almost immediately. Staff participates in the groups which
unfortunately is very unusual in today's business world.

There are a few downsides: Hardly anyone on the west coast uses Eagle or
even knows it exists. Cadsoft utterly lacks advertising out here. So the
schematic often has to be re-drawn by hand before layout. Then Eagle has
no hierarchical schematic structure. That is a serious shortcoming but
heck, you can't have it all.

Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com

Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?



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It's the end product you designed that matters, not the tools used...
Sheesh, do you also mention on your resume the brand soldering iron used to
solder the parts to the pcb?




Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?



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It depends on the company. If you work for a small company, where you
do your own layout, a large part of the job will be doing sustaining
of older designs and they will need some one who can work with the
tools used to make them in the first place. It applies to FPGA stuff
too. It's good to list the tools you've used on your resume as well as
the languages and brands of processors and FPGAs you worked with.
Skills can be as important as knowledge and they both require a
learning curve. Maybe the brand of soldering iron doesn't matter, but
it is important to find out if the guy you're hiring knows which end
to hold on to, if that's what you're going to expect him to be doing.

Paul C



Paul C

Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professionalworld?


Actually I disagree, clearly employers prefer to hire engineers familiar
with the tools already used in-house.  I have yet to see Eagle listed in
a job description.  This is a valid question / consideration.  However,
familiarity with any EDA system is better than none, and as far as I
know the $multi-thousand tools don't offer anything beyond 30-day eval
versions.

Obviously something smartly designed in Eagle - which you learned on
your own - will be more impressive than someone who knows
(orcad,pcad,...) from a school class and didn't do much real work with
it.  IMHO anyway.  In the long run (and a full-time salaried hire counts
as this) smart go-getter people are the best employees to have.

J


maxfoo wrote:

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Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?


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Unless you're hiring someone specifically as a PCB layout guy (or schematic
capture guy, although in my experience it's very uncommon for anyone other
than the design engineer to perform schematic capture anymore), which
particular EDA tool some guy I'm considering hiring has used in the past is
pretty close to the bottom of my list of things I care about (somewhere in the
same ballpark of how well they dress :-) ).  EDA software is just a tool, and
if it's clear you've already mastered one brand of hammer, it stands to reason
you can readily do so with any other hammer as well.  On resumes I've
provided, I've always listed two sets of 'tools' experience I have -- one set
is software I feel I have well-above-average to expert competency in, whereas
the other set is stuff that, yeah, I've used it, but I'm no better than
average (if that) due to a lack of experience with it.  This was in direct
response to my getting resumes from people where they listed every package
they every double-clicked on regardless of their experience level with it, and
my dismay at discovering this 5 minutes into an interview process.  (I liked
the guy who said he had FPGA experience with "Xylinx" -- yeah, sure he did...)

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It's not particularly realistic to expect individuals to learn a full blown
commercial EDA tool on their own given that the license costs are typically
four digits if not five or even six.  For instance, I've yet to meet anyone
who's learned how to use analog IC layout tools outside of a commercial or
(formal) educational setting.

In response to the original poster... OrCAD and PCAD are decent programs, but
arguably both of them are so popular these days mainly due to being around a
long time and being "good enough" -- not because, IMO, they're examples of
really, really good pieces of software (particularly OrCAD, which Cadence is
not even really actively developing anymore).  Any employer who thinks that
someone having done one or two school projects with OrCAD or PCAD is somehow a
lot more qualified than someone using Eagle, is, IMO, an employer you should
be very cautious with in thinking you want to work for them -- it suggests
that they might be a little out of touch of what they really want in an
engineer (or else that the company has very undemanding projects to work on).

---Joel



Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professionalworld?


Hello Joel,

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Unless he or she is then using their CAD SW as a contractor. That can
sometimes lead to trouble. Just had that, several library errors
resulting in pinout errors on SOT23. IMHO there is no serious
achievement in standardization in the EDA industry.

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And then that other hammer flies off the handle :-)

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Fully agree.

Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com

Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?



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All I can do is share my experience. At my first job, a very large
company, we used Mentor Graphics Design Architect tools. I was
designing single board computers (12 layers) with Intel PC-type
processors. There is no way you will be using these tools unless you get a
job working for a big company.  ;-) And while the tools are very powerful
in many respects, they are also kind of clunky. I mainly used the
schematic entry tool, and the layout inspection tool. I didn't work on
layout myself.

At my next job, where I still work, we use orcad capture. There is nothing
wrong with this tool, and many reference designs or eval boards are done
with it.

At home, I have been experimenting with gschem, which is free software (it
is part of gEDA, which you can learn more about at geda.seul.org). I don't
think you can easily run it on Windows (although it may work under
cygwin), but if you have a linux box you should be able to get it up and
running easily. It is quirky, but overall, I like it. Whether people out
there in the industry use it, I have no idea.

If you spend the time to get familiar with gschem and pcb (by harry eaton,
et. al) you will have tools you can take with you anywhere you go, and
which will allow you to be reasonably productive on boards up to 8 layers.

--Mac


Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professionalworld?


Michael J. Noone schrieb:

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This might be correct for the US, but at least in Germany there are not
many electronic companies that do *not* use EAGLE for professional work.

Besides, the comments in the other replies apply. It's the work that
matters, not the tool (though EAGLE is a good tool :-) ).

[I'm not affiliated with CadSoft, but I am using EAGLE for many years,
and I have seen a few other packages too - which often were much more
expensive...]

--
Dipl.-Ing. Tilmann Reh
http://www.autometer.de - Elektronik nach Ma.

Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?


I would agree that it's the end product, and if you've mastered one
decent capture tool, you can master others.

I have used a number of capture tools, including Eagle, OrCad and
Protel, and they each had their pros and cons. Moving to another one
was largely a matter of finding the new naming convention for
operations and what the hot keys were. All of the packages have their
quirks, strengths and weaknesses of course.

On the comment about Cadence - Cadence bought OrCad some time ago,
which explains how it suddenly got loaded up with features and pain ;)
Cadence is no longer selling OrCad, by the way - they are trying to
migrate users to their newer packages.

Cheers

PeteS


Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?


PeteS wrote...
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 OrCad used to be the "standard" but it rarely got high marks
 in evaluations and usually in my experience failed to get the
 nod for the one program to settle on.  I'm a longtime p-cad
 user (originally called Tango).  It's been owned for sometime
 now by Altium, who originally introduced the Protel product
 mentioned above.  We were worried when Altium bought p-cad,
 but they have made steady improvements to p-cad, despite it
 being a program that was already mature and highly refined,
 provided you ignore the painful library management issue,
 that is.  But then, all the CAD programs seem to have very
 painful library quality and management issues.  <sigh>

 One thing about p-cad, over the years I've been surprised to
 find most of my circle of electronics friends, at least here
 in Massachusetts, are using p-cad.  Only one uses OrCad, and
 he's using an old DOS version.  Of the two pcb designers that
 I taught at my old engineering company, Sea Data, one uses
 p-cad and the other, who is now in Colorado, uses Protel.  So
 I'm looking forward to the p-cad = Protel link-up that Altium
 promises for the next release.

 OK, back to the PCB layout I'm editing for shipment to the PC
 house - it should have gone out yesterday or the day before!
 But first, just to add in one more feature I dreamed up...


--
 Thanks,
    - Win

Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professional world?


Winfield Hill wrote...
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 One more thing.  If I were starting over now, I'd take a
 careful look at Protel, because of its claimed integration
 with FPGA and cPLD design.  If this works as advertised, it
 means the FPGA pins can be automatically swapped as the PCB
 layout progresses, avoiding a painful chance for serious IC
 pinout errors.  That would be an important capability, but
 provided I could still use my preferred FPGA design tools.

 One final thing, Michael.  I suggest that you ignore the
 schematic-capture / PCB integration with Spice that many
 programs (including p-cad) have and claim to be desirable.
 This is NOT an important capability, for a few dozen good
 reasons I've detailed previously here on s.e.d., so one
 shouldn't let it influence his choice, in my opinion.


--
 Thanks,
    - Win

Re: best schematic capture/board editor program to learn for professionalworld?


Hello Winfield,

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Oh yes. Just got burned by that and now I have to "semi-invert" some
SOT23 on a board that came back from fab. CAD programs seem haphazard in
pin numbering and so it seems for some manufacturers. IMHO the CAD scene
is notoriously poor in agreeing on pin numbering standards. Or any
standards for that matter.

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Hmm... I thought only Sales & Marketing introduces feature creep ;-)

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Fully agree.

Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com

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