Introduction and Important Terminology

Welcome to the Altium Academy Printed Circuit Board design course! Throughout this course, you’ll be introduced to important ideas involved in PCB design, manufacturing, and assembly. You’ll also get some exposure to industry-standard PCB design software, and you’ll have a chance to use this software to build your own PCB. Hopefully, by the end of the course, you’ll have enough knowledge to design some simpler PCBs and to start taking more advanced industry-level circuit board design and manufacturing courses.

PCB design is as much art as it is science. Some of the important concepts in PCB design rely heavily on knowledge from your prior electronics classes. However, PCB design also requires creativity in how you select components, place them on a circuit board, and connect them with copper. There is also the design of the bare board itself, something that forms the foundation of PCB design and manufacturing. One of the main goals of this course is to give you the knowledge needed to start designing PCBs. We’ll look at examples of real boards to explain why certain design decisions are made and to show how professional designers approach their circuit board designs.

Throughout this course, you’ll have a chance to use Altium Designer, a popular PCB design software package that is used by professionals in the electronics industry. Although some of the lessons and demonstrations will be provided using Altium Designer, you should be able to perform the tasks shown in this course using any other PCB design software application. Guides and walkthroughs will be shown using Altium Designer, so students are encouraged to follow along on their own using an Altium student license, or using a different CAD program.


Designing a very dense circuit board is like solving a complex puzzle.

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