Electronic boards design engineer

Pierre has become an electronics board design engineer thanks to his apprenticeship at ELSYS Design. Since he was very young he had been passionate about electronics systems. He’s sharing with us his path and his current job in the space domain.

ELSYS Design is hiring electronics boards design engineers. The job opportunities can be found on our jobs board, where it is also possible to submit a spontaneous application.

Electronics boards design engineer education

Can you introduce your education?

I took electronics systems courses at the Cachan IUT as part of my BTS (superior technician certificate), then I went to the ESIEE Paris (Engineers Graduate School in electronics and electrotechnics) majoring in “electronics for transports”. This course was intended to teach electronics in the railway sector, avionics, automotive fields but also telecom data transport for short and long distance (for instance the Bluetooth protocols and GPS). This is a quite generalist education of the electronics engineer profession. One of its special features is that it has to be followed by apprenticeship. For my part, I had an apprenticeship contract with… ELSYS Design. Once I graduated from ESIEE Paris, I wanted to pursue this adventure with the company that I had already known for 3 years: for its operation and (mostly) for its members!

Why did you make the choice of an apprenticeship?

It was more adapted for me because, as a student from a technical school, I didn’t want to lose the practical dimension of my studies. In regular education, there is less practice than theory. This also allowed me to have financial self-sufficiency. Then, I wanted to enter the working world quickly: I had already made an internship as part of my STI Bachelor Degree, one as part of my BTS, so I had a bit of experience. I was attracted by the working world.

Electronics boards design engineer profession

What is the job of an electronics boards design engineer?

I design digital electronics boards, multiprocessor system, multi FPGA, that is to say creating a schematics then a board from specifications, currently in the space domain.

Can you describe a standard project?

Yes. First, the client sends us an initial specifications and we design a response to a call for tenders presenting the contemplated board architecture and its main related components.

If they like the architecture, we go on to the schematics design step: this is the moment when I take action by turning the functional architecture into a schematics. In order to make this schematics approved, I provide a whole set of files (BoM, specification etc.).

Once the client has approved, we start the routing part, sometimes with the support of a subcontractor as in my current project. Then I handle the follow-up, to check that the routing provided is compatible with my schematics and that we are answering the requirements specification, for instance in terms of electronics boards’ throughput. Simultaneously, I carry out many simulations on the board itself to approve, support or find the adequate routing.

As part of space projects, the electronics boards are always manufactured twice: the first one is used for the various tests in laboratory. Once everything is approved, we start the second board fabrication. There, we simply check that the fabrication has been realized properly and we put the software inside. Then the electronics boards will be set up in a satellite which will be sent into space thanks to a rocket! When we think about that, this is crazy: my work results will be placed in orbit and used by a large number of people!

What do you like about your profession as an electronics board design engineer?

Broadly everything! The design, the progress of a project, the creative aspect… I like technical challenges: for example, you have an architecture and you have to convert it into a schematics. I also enjoy to supervise the routing provider because there is a real human side, real internal exchanges with various professions (mechanics, thermal, etc.), as well as with the subcontractors.

The space domain is really educational, every day we learn something new, there are special constrains which are very interesting. More than that, this is gratifying to participate actively in a project which required the intervention of a hundred of people, based in different countries, between the design and the rocket take-off.

Is one of your electronics board already in space?

Not yet, but soon…

Are you felling some kind of excitement?

Sure. This is so precise; we have no margin for error. This is the watchword in the space industry, once the electronics board is in space, it can’t go down anymore and it has to be 100% working. It’s an interesting challenge, it’s really nice.

How did you discover the electronics board design engineer profession?

I discovered it a long time ago! I truly chose this professional path, that was not by chance. At the end of the high school, I made an electronics systems BEP. I really enjoyed that.

Where does your electronics passion come from?

Quite early in my life; with an electric train, radio-controlled cars which I liked to tinker with, I used to add some LED etc.

And why the electronics board?

For the fabrication side. The C programming or with VHDL is interesting as well, but the material aspect, concrete, is less present. When an electronics board leaves the factory, this is the schematics result that I thought about. You can’t see a code in a FPGA, unless you have a graphic interface, obviously. Well, I like the hardware side.

Are you facing particular challenges in your profession?

The deadlines compliance is not easy indeed. You have to learn to organize yourself in your work: I am still a junior in the working world, this is not something innate.

How to become an electronics board design engineer

Do you have some advices to give to a student in engineering who would like to become an electronics board design engineer?

If he or she really wants to do electronics boards, hardware, the apprentice way is very gratifying. It allows to be trained for the job but also to human resources which are very important in my sector. You get your job approved by a more experienced engineer; you track the routing etc.

In this way, the apprenticeship is very interesting, and, of course, it allows to develop some experience with a view to enter the labor market. This is a major asset sought out by companies.

You made your apprenticeship at ELSYS Design and now you are an electronics board design engineer. What can you tell us about you experience at the company?

I like the relational aspect and the human side that are present at ELSYS design. We are not a huge company where you can be drowned by the mass.

More than that, ELSYS Design has the advantage of having a specialist status. There are a lot of highly qualified engineers in practically every electronics systems profession. When a partner company needs a specific expertise, they can find it at ELSYS Design.

Some ELSYS Design electronics board design projects examples

  • Flight calculator design
  • POC (Proof of Concept) demonstrator on new technologies
  • Communication systems design in the medical field
  • Boards obsolescence, in particular for avionics projects

Electronics board design engineer employment

ELSYS Design is hiring electronics boards design engineers for its different implantations in France (Paris, Rennes, Nantes, Grenoble, Lyon, Toulouse, Aix-en-Provence et Toulouse). You can check out the employment opportunities on our jobs board, but also submit a spontaneous application.

Many thanks to Pierre for his testimonial!

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