What Is Analog Design?
Analog design is part of integrated circuit design and focuses on signal fidelity, amplification and filtering. Those who perform the function of analog design are qualified electrical engineers. The following information gives you an overview of what analog design is, as well as what analog designers do.
Analog Design, Defined
Digital designers pack dense circuitry into microprocessors and maximize circuit efficiency in memory and application-specific chips. The job of an analog designer, in a nutshell, is to make this complex integrated circuitry perform consistently. Phillip Allen, a retired professor from Georgia Institute of Technology, describes the analog design process as that of taking a series of properties, including the desired performance specifications and the physical constraints of temperature, supply and process capabilities, and skillfully devising a working system that possesses those properties.
Important Facts About Analog Designers
|Median Pay||$101,250 (for all Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2019)|
|Job Outlook||3% from 2019-2029 (for all Electrical and Electronics Engineers)|
|Concentrations||Telecommunications, engineering services, federal government, electronic component manufacturing|
|Work Environment||Primarily in an office setting|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Analog Designers Do
The analog designer's job is to get the integrated circuit working by:
- Being involved in creating the initial design (using computer programs to model assumptions, create system designs and run design-level tests on them)
- Testing and recording variability in the components
- Placing amplifiers and filters to keep the signals clean
- Using techniques such as matching resistors to cancel out variations or segmenting and matching the segments in a large resistor
- Analyze the circuit's performance under many situations with testing software
Why Analog Design is Necessary
Analog design has not yet yielded every design needed, because integrated circuits keep changing and growing. Nobelprize.org notes that a modern integrated circuit may hold several hundred millions of components on a fingernail-sized area. This complexity means that hundreds of manufacturing rules apply regarding design specifications, compatible layers and the appropriate tests to measure performance. Further, the manufacturing process is so sensitive that supposedly identical chips may do things differently. These variations in an integrated circuit's processors can cause fatal errors.
How Do I Learn Analog Design?
Although no formal degree programs exist specifically in analog design, you can obtain necessary skills and knowledge through other closely related degree programs in engineering or computer science. One of the most popular paths to learning analog design is through a formal undergraduate program where you can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering or computer science. If you are looking for further education, you might look into a graduate certificate in analog design or a master's degree in computer science or engineering.