October of 2019 will mark the third year since Altium kicked off what’s become one of the most exciting PCB Design Conventions around. 2017 is when I first heard that Altium was going to conduct what at that time was a two-day convention, and that it was in conjunction with the release of Altium 18—which anyone who works with Altium knows was a significant upgrade and improvement in the software. I thought all this was going to be a never-ending commercial for the new software. Boy was I wrong. The official motto for the convention is “Learn, Connect, Get Inspired”, but it goes far beyond that. As someone who has been active and involved since it began, I can tell you it only gets better each year.
Reason-1 It’s not about the tool
One would think that at an Altium Convention, they would be talking about, I don’t know…. Altium maybe? However, I found out that it’s not merely about the tool; it’s almost entirely focused on the designer, and there are minimal presentations about Altium itself. The rest is geared toward developing the PCB designer. Whatever the tool you use for design, you can still benefit from attending such an event as AltiumLive, as you will come out of it with a better understanding of your purpose and potential as a PCB designer. Also, it’s not about the speakers or advancing their careers or any of that. It is about one thing and only one thing only: YOU. Everything done is to help you take that next step in YOUR CAREER.
AltiumLive provides some of the very best PCB trainers available. These are highly knowledgeable individuals who are legends in the industry. And with a full presentation schedule, there is no downtime, and never a dull moment.
Training is key to developing as PCB designers. Part of the benefit of attending a convention like this is getting out of your environment—perhaps even away from the stress of your job—and allowing you to concentrate on yourself.
I can promise you from day-1 that you feel as if you are drinking from the firehose, which is a good thing, because you’ll be leaving with a wealth of information. And the event has grown every year since it started. People always feel as if they are getting their money’s worth out of it. I always connect things in my life to food, and usually to a buffet, and that’s a pretty good analogy for what is laid out in front of you at these conventions. An educational buffet, where one can pick and choose whatever they want.
Important also, is that you do not need to be an expert in PCB Design—in fact, just the opposite. I met people at AltiumLive events who’ve told me they have only been using Altium for a few months. I like going back to those individuals and asking them, “So, was it worth it?” The response is always “absolutely”.
In addition, University day (3rd day)
For the past two years, Altium has added a day for those who want to go into more detail of the “how-to” of Altium and PCB design. These include 3-tracks which cover Track 1: Simulation & Analysis, Track 2: Component Management, and Track 3: Advanced Features. Also, two full-day tracks are offered in Keys to Control Noise, Interference and EMI in PC boards done by Rick Hartley, and Design for DFX by Gary Ferrari.
Reason-3 Teaming Up
From the very beginning, something that struck me about AltiumLive was the comradery that quickly develops between everyone attending. No matter what level you’re at, novice to expert, you are quickly welcomed to the collective (to use a Borg reference). The computers start popping out, and PCB designers are pulled up, and conversations are going on. That amazes me every time I see it.
I’ve developed some of my closest professional friendships with people who have attended AltiumLive. Because isn’t that what it is all about? That we, as PCB designers, develop a real sense of camaraderie—build teams as well as relationships. That no one is an island unto themselves, and that everyone is in the same situation as you are, and may be learning new things just like you.
That’s right, we’ve got robots. What else do you need? One of the funnest events of the whole convention involves assembling a team and competing against other teams with a fully operating robot. This is a very competitive event and it goes late into the evening. We always have so much fun!
AltiumLive will be held in San Diego at the beautiful Loews Coronado Bay Resort on October 9-11. Also, in Frankfurt at the Sheraton Airport Hotel on October 21-23, 2019. I cannot impress you enough the need to attend one of these two events.
Loews Coronado Bay Resort on October 9-11
Sheraton Airport Hotel Frankfurt on October 21-23, 2019
A final word. There is a saying that to “To have something you have never had, you need to do something you have never done.” Often times we seem to have more excuses and reasons NOT to do something than to do it. However, most of the time, we find that if we dismantle our excuses and face our apprehension, there is nothing to regret!
And an exclusive invite goes out to all those who live in the parts of the US where it might just be starting to freeze. Feel free to come on down and enjoy the perfect weather in San Diego where, on average, our temperature will hover around a “chilly” 72-degrees.
These events are quickly selling out, and if you have never attended, I would ask why not? You will not be disappointed; guaranteed. I can promise that you will have one question for yourself by the end of the event:
Why didn’t you do it sooner?
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