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:
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)||City||State||Rank by Salary (COLI Adjusted)||Rank by Job Openings / Pop||Rank by Google Trends||Rank by School Count / Pop|
|140||West Valley City||UT||115||52||23||90|
|145||Salt Lake City||UT||116||68||23||79|
|183||North Las Vegas||NV||127||115||23||199|
|189||Port St. Lucie||FL||172||170||12||183|
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
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.
- El Paso, Texas
- San Antonio, Texas
- Austin, Texas
- Killeen, Texas
- 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.
- New York, New York
- Buffalo, New York
- Syracuse, New York
- Rochester, New York
- 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:
- Sunnyvale, CA
- Hayward, CA
- Fremont, CA
- Fullerton, CA
- 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
Google 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:
- Fullerton, CA
- Pomona, CA
- Garden Grove, CA
- Torrance, CA
- Corona, CA
The bottom five cities based on engineering schools/population are:
- Omaha, NE
- Brownsville, TX
- Augusta, GA
- North Las Vegas, NV
- Eugene, OR
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.
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.