Blog  /  What are the Best Cities to be a Circuit Board Designer?

What are the Best Cities to be a Circuit Board Designer?

The employment marketplace ZipRecruiter.com defines a printed circuit board (PCB) designer as an individual who “uses computer software programs to design the layout for … printed circuit boards, collaborates with engineers to create 3D models of circuit boards, develops PCB design guidelines, and drafts plans for manufacturers.” 

Without PCB designers, you wouldn’t be able to read this article online, watch television, or chat with a friend using a mobile phone. 

Our growing reliance on technology has increased the demand for PCB design skills. A 2020 survey found that the biggest challenge for 59% of PCB design engineers was keeping up with the workload. 

Another survey concluded, “Within the next 15 years, 78 percent of PCB designers will no longer work in the field due to retirement.” 

These statistics testify to the reality that PCB designers will be in high demand in the future. Those looking to join the profession will be drawn to cities that provide the best overall experience for people with such skills. 

But which are the best cities to be a printed circuit board designer? We spent some time crunching the numbers to answer this question. Here is what we discovered: 

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Our Rankings at a Glance 

Want to know where your city is located in the list of 200 cities? See our summary table of the best city to work in as a PCB designer. 

Overall Ranking (1 = Best)CityStateRank by Salary (COLI Adjusted)Rank by Job Openings / PopRank by Google TrendsRank by School Count / Pop
1PasadenaTX9251030
2WarrenMI309726
3MesquiteTX16201041
4Grand PrairieTX12291044
5HaywardCA782110
6IrvingTX15341051
7SunnyvaleCA791117
8FremontCA803121
9GarlandTX17351072
10ArlingtonTX13791043
11PlanoTX19391074
12OaklandCA7527136
13KilleenTX4581099
14ThorntonCO6515458
15NapervilleIL7321712
16LakewoodCO6222467
17FriscoTX223210103
18McKinneyTX23381096
19DetroitMI3245793
20BellevueWA6061315
21DentonTX21891077
22WacoTX61191091
23San JoseCA82121104
24AuroraIL7451733
25San FranciscoCA7259197
26AtlantaGA38738111
27AustinTX36410192
28GlendaleCA1351116
29JolietIL7771734
30TorranceCA140714
31TempeAZ9130940
32AuroraCO63574127
33Santa RosaCA69871109
34AlexandriaVA68171564
35PeoriaAZ8940942
36SurpriseAZ8641950
37DallasTX1410110155
38PomonaCA1432412
39RosevilleCA98107124
40Grand RapidsMI33144794
41GlendaleAZ8842957
42Huntington BeachCA152818
43AnaheimCA14913113
44Fort WorthTX1013310146
45CoronaCA1541015
46HuntsvilleAL317811150
47San AntonioTX214210162
48ScottsdaleAZ9637954
49Santa AnaCA15116114
50Long BeachCA14523123
51HoustonTX811610181
52Elk GroveCA8798186
53ChandlerAZ9243966
54Santa ClaritaCA13356127
55Fort WayneIN401456116
56SeattleWA594613117
57IrvineCA15619116
58TacomaWA581241337
59OntarioCA1484717
60DenverCO64844160
61EscondidoCA16018122
62MaconGA391658102
63VancouverWA552813175
64SalinasCA101130155
65LubbockTX720010156
66BirminghamAL2915811115
67Fort CollinsCO661204131
68Rancho CucamongaCA1477519
69RockfordIL70139776
70McAllenTX2520010121
71ProvidenceRI51602368
72SacramentoCA841291113
73Chula VistaCA16314148
74Colorado SpringsCO611124167
75Corpus ChristiTX1820010147
76FullertonCA146411
77PatersonNJ117331428
78IndianapolisIN461186184
79El PasoTX117710195
80St. PaulMN110481252
81AmarilloTX2420010143
82MesaAZ95669106
83OceansideCA15931159
84LaredoTX1120010185
85MobileAL2720011136
86Garden GroveCA194513
87ColumbusGA361468180
88BrownsvilleTX2613810197
89MontgomeryAL2820011142
90Jersey CityNJ119501439
91OklahomaOK516123119
92FontanaCA150109118
93PalmdaleCA134491130
94MinneapolisMN111631273
95NewarkNJ120541445
96SavannahGA471638163
97OlatheKS416123161
98AkronOH113861532
99RiversideCA155117119
100KnoxvilleTN5410221112
101Kansas CityKS446223164
102TulsaOK2014723129
103OxnardCA130931118
104San BernardinoCA153125125
105DurhamNC13953969
106ClevelandOH109921547
107ChicagoIL711277176
108DaytonOH126811520
109AlbuquerqueNM349723159
110St. LouisMO5710522108
111VisaliaCA121148192
112YonkersNY19544311
113PittsburghPA112691949
114BostonMA18526270
115Overland ParkKS427723178
116AugustaGA452008198
117SpokaneWA8112813125
118HamptonVA1031371546
119Moreno ValleyCA157123153
120StocktonCA971731149
121ChattanoogaTN521692188
122WorcesterMA18436280
123PhoenixAZ901109171
124RichmondVA851491587
125Los AngelesCA1361081133
126Kansas CityMO5610622154
127Boise CityID769623110
128ModestoCA1071711152
129JacksonMS3520023123
130Newport NewsVA1021561563
131San DiegoCA162671141
132Winston-SalemNC137113981
133RaleighNC144839100
134LancasterCA1321681107
135WichitaKS3713523179
136SpringfieldMO5320022105
137SpringfieldMA18288265
138GreensboroNC138114984
139TucsonAZ941219187
140West Valley CityUT115522390
141NorfolkVA1051511578
142FresnoCA1181721151
143ClarksvilleTN4815321169
144HollywoodFL178651231
145Salt Lake CityUT116682379
146ChesapeakeVA1081521582
147Pembroke PinesFL175701235
148PhiladelphiaPA999119140
149BaltimoreMD18185571
150NashvilleTN4920021153
151MurfreesboroTN5016621165
152Gilbert townAZ932009158
153SyracuseNY19882360
154BakersfieldCA1242001157
155MemphisTN4317621182
156Fort LauderdaleFL177801238
157RochesterNY19972383
158CincinnatiOH12910015126
159Cary townNC142200961
160Little RockAR6715923144
161RenoNV8313623135
162Virginia BeachVA10616415124
163BridgeportCT173901729
164HialeahFL179991256
165BuffaloNY197104389
166CharlotteNC1411409139
167OrlandoFL168941298
168ToledoOH11416015134
169TampaFL1671111285
170FayettevilleNC1581419101
171TallahasseeFL13120012114
172CharlestonSC1231502095
173St. PetersburgFL1669512132
174MiamiFL1801261275
175LincolnNE10015723138
176ColumbusOH12215515172
177PortlandOR1887413128
178MilwaukeeWI1707618137
179SalemOR1871541362
180Cape CoralFL16913112145
181GainesvilleFL16120012120
182HendersonNV12812223166
183North Las VegasNV12711523199
184OmahaNE10417523196
185Las VegasNV12514323194
186New YorkNY1961623188
187MadisonWI17110318186
188JacksonvilleFL16517412191
189Port St. LucieFL17217012183
190Des MoinesIA16413223148
191WashingtonDC1925523168
192EugeneOR18313413200
193Baton RougeLA19020016122
194ShreveportLA18920016173
195New OrleansLA19120016174
196LexingtonKY17616720193
197LouisilleKY17420020190
198Anchorage municipalityAK18620023189
199Sioux FallsSD19320023177
200HonoluluHI20020023170

 

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Which Cities Make the Top and Bottom of Each Index?

People choose to settle in different places for different reasons. For example, some people tend to be attracted to cities with great nightlife, more work opportunities, and systems that support entrepreneurship, while others are happy in small and quiet ones. 

For others, the most important factor is money. For example, Fortune.com’s Sophie Mellor reports, “Gen Z—people born after 1997—said they needed the highest salary of all generations to feel financially secure, with the average respondent between the ages of 18 and 25 seeking a $171,633 annual salary to stay afloat.” 

At OurPcb.com, we spent some time researching the factors that make a city an excellent place for PCB designers. 

We discovered four leading factors:  salary, job openings per population, engineering schools per population, and Google search trends.  

Our study includes 200 cities in the United States. Here are the cities that make the top and bottom five in each category:   

Best by Cost-of-Living Index Adjusted Salary

Best by Cost-of-Living Index Adjusted Salary Circuit Board Designer salaries vary substantially between cities

 

Suppose individuals in Gen Z represent the group that’s pursuing the highest salaries. In that case, those that want a career as a PCB designer should be heading to these top five cities in the US. These cities pay the highest average cost-of-living index (COLI) adjusted salary to PCB designers. 

  1. El Paso, Texas
  2. San Antonio, Texas
  3. Austin, Texas
  4. Killeen, Texas
  5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  

Why are no cities in California in the top 5 for salary? If you look at basic salaries (salaries that have not been adjusted for the Cost of Living Index), California sweeps the top 41 spots. However, the Cost of Living in California is substantially higher than the average COLI in the United States. So, when considering the Cost of living, California salaries don’t rank in the top 5. 

Don’t shed too many tears for California-based PCB designers, though. Regarding our Overall ranking, 3 California cities rank in the top 10, and Hayward, CA, ranks in the top 5.

The real question is not why cities in California fail to make the top 5 list but why 4 cities in New York rank in the bottom 5. 

  1. New York, New York
  2. Buffalo, New York
  3. Syracuse, New York
  4. Rochester, New York
  5. Honolulu, Hawaii

New York can explain part and Hawaii having high living costs – but part of the explanation is that there’s nowhere near as much demand for PCB designers in New York as in California. 

Best by Job Openings/Population 

What encourages employers to pay high salaries and provide good benefits and a desirable workplace? One factor is how easy it is for their current employees to jump ship and find a different job. And how can we measure the ease of changing careers? By looking at the number of job openings. 

The idea of job openings/population denotes the number of job openings compared to the number of people looking for work within a specific population. 

Here are the cities with the highest job openings/population: 

  1. Sunnyvale, CA
  2. Hayward, CA
  3. Fremont, CA
  4. Fullerton, CA
  5. Garden Grove, CA  

For job openings/population, we will skip the bottom five because we have almost 20 cities vying for the bottom spot. 

Best by Google Trends

Best by Google TrendsGoogle trends data was analyzed for the term: PCB design

 

Five billion people (around 63 percent of the world’s population) use the internet. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the internet has become the number one place for people looking for talent and also for those looking for jobs. 

We checked Google search trends to understand where online activity related to PCB designer jobs occurs. 

According to Google, you can get an idea of where the jobs are by searching” for any job, and a dedicated section will appear with opportunities from employers and job boards across the web. Use filters to sort by title, location, date, and more.”    

In this case, we couldn’t list the top five because over a dozen cities are in the full post. The same applies to the bottom spot. 

Best by Engineering Schools/Population

For a city to support the skills development of PCB designers, it needs to have a sufficient number of engineering schools relative to its population. This provides the infrastructure required by the designers for the initial qualifications and ongoing in-service training. 

Here are your top five cities with the highest number of engineering colleges/population to meet the skills development needs of PCB designers, which we believe will keep them happily performing in their jobs: 

  1. Fullerton, CA
  2. Pomona, CA
  3. Garden Grove, CA
  4. Torrance, CA
  5. Corona, CA  

The bottom five cities based on engineering schools/population are:  

  1. Omaha, NE
  2. Brownsville, TX
  3. Augusta, GA
  4. North Las Vegas, NV
  5. Eugene, OR 

Key Takeaways 

So what can we learn from our data? 

Go To Texas for the Money

Our top five list consists of four Texas cities. In these cities, you’ll earn a Cost of Living adjusted salary in the low $90,000 per year. It’s not enough to make members of Gen Z feel secure, but it’s enough for most Americans. 

Suppose you decide to be a circuit designer in the number one city based on COLI-adjusted salary (El Paso, TX). In that case, you’ll earn nearly three times the salary of someone in a similar position in the town that pays the lowest compensation (Honolulu, HI). Then again, the surf’s a lot better in Honolulu.

The good news for those in the best cities based on COLI-adjusted salaries is that the job openings/population scores are also comparatively high. This implies that getting a job in these high-paying cities is not a huge challenge.  

The data shows that cities with the lowest COLI-adjusted salaries have low job openings/population scores. For example, Honolulu ranks dead last for both COLI-adjust wages and available jobs by population.      

The Jobs Are In California 

We presume that the higher the job openings/population score, the more likely you will secure a job in a specific city. Our data shows that the best cities based on the number of jobs available per population are primarily in California. One town in Washington state takes the 5th position. 

In his article on CNBC.com, Jeff Fox reports that in a job market where there are more job openings than people available to fill them, employers resort to” several incentives, including pet insurance and signing bonuses, to fill those positions”

A close analysis of the data we collected supportsFox’ss assumptions. Cities with a high job opening/population score tend to pay higher salaries – especially non-COLI adjusted salaries than those with a low score. For instance, the top five cities in the list have high adjusted job population scores (16.71) and pay high salaries – averaging $85,427 per year. 

If you then analyze the worst five cities, the average salary is $52,064. The average job opening/population score for such cities is 0.24. Employers in these cities know there are not many choices for PCB designers, so they are likely to accept lower salaries. 

The Skills Are In California Too

California cities are the best to be a PCB designer if we use the adjusted school/population scores. The top five cities based on this measure are all in California.  

If you checked the worst five cities in the adjusted school/population category, you would find a mixed bag. However, Nevada appears twice in that list.

You can see that California is among the best in the category because no single city in the state appears in the worst five. 

Mechanics 

To create our list, we ranked 200 cities based on four different factors, assigning a weight to each element as follows: 

  • Salary: Many people, including circuit board designers, see the amount they get paid as essential in determining job satisfaction. Consequently, we assigned 50% of our index to the cost-of-living adjusted salary. 
  • Google trends: To get your hands on the money that’s so important for many, you need to get the job first. We assume that internet activity is crucial for understanding where circuit design jobs are likely to be found. We, therefore, assigned a weighting of 20% to this aspect. 
  • Job Openings/Population: One of the most critical factors in having peace of mind when you are in a position is flexibility. It provides confidence that the chances of getting another job are good in a specific city. To this aspect, we allocated 20% of our index. 
  • Engineering schools/population: It is generally accepted that technology is changing faster than ever. This means that employees should constantly update their skills to remain relevant. Therefore, we included the number of schools per population in our rankings and gave the factor a weighting of 10 percent. 

What Makes the Best Five Cities Special for PCB Designers?

Now that we know the best cities to be a PCB designer, let’s look at some of the main reasons why moving to these cities could be bright.  

Pasadena: The Home of International Businesses

Suppose you are wondering why Pasadena, California, takes the top spot as the overall best city to be a circuit designer. In that case, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce & Civic Association has the answer. It says,” Probably no other city of its size is home to more internationally known businesses than Pasadena.” 

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce & Civic Association adds,” One of the key reasons is the highly educated workforce resulting from the presence of many renowned educational and research institutions in Pasadena.”

Warren: Low Cost of Living and High-Quality Education   

Warren, Michigan, is the city in the second overall position. But what makes it an excellent place for circuit designers? 

Citytistics.com, a provider of data about cities, lists reasons Warren is a great place to live, including that the Cost of living and total crime is lower than the national average. On the other hand, education, and schools all score above the national average. 

Mesquite: “Texas” Best Kept Secret” 

A great city to work in provides an opportunity to create work/life balance. This is precisely what VisitMesquitetx.com promises about Mesquite. 

The site calls the city of texas” best-kept secret. It adds,” Whether you’re an art lover, sports enthusiast, or foodie craving a down-home meal, this lively city has something perfect in store just 15 minutes east of downtown Dallas.” 

Grand Prairie: Having the Best of Three Cities 

One thing that makes Grand Prairie, Texas, a great place to work for circuit board designers is its location. The city is only 16 minutes from Dallas and 24 minutes from Fort Worth. Working in Grand Prairie gives you the best of the three cities. 

Hayward: Access the Bay Area but Pay Lower Rent  

Just like Grand Prairie, Texas, the main reason why PCB designers may want to work in Hayward, California, is its location, offering easy access to the Bay Area. This means you can enjoy the amenities of a larger metropolitan area while still paying the lower rents in a smaller town.     

  

 

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