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Practical Engineering: The Importance of Reading


Some individuals may think that learning stops when the formal courses are completed. In engineering (i.e., electrical, compliance, EMC, and signal integrity engineering), this is far from the truth.

Engineering is complex and constantly evolving. Electrical engineers are at the forefront of some of today’s most important innovations. Examples are component die-shrinks that result in faster rise-times and greater bandwidths of signals, Internet of Things (IoT) and incorporation of wireless into almost everything, 5G, faster signal processing, wireless wearable technology, high-efficiency photovoltaic cells, green energy electrical power converters, smart electrical grids, virtual reality, eye tracking technology, and self-driving cars – just to name a few of the recent innovations!

Keeping Up

In order to keep up with this ever-changing landscape, it’s imperative that we’re also constantly reading. Not only do we need to know about these new innovations, but also how to design innovative products with good signal integrity, EMC, safety, mechanical, and environmental performance. Right about now, you may be asking yourself, “Yeah, but how do I keep up with all these changes, work regular engineering hours, plus get really good at EMC or signal integrity or safety, etc.?”

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A Dash of Maxwell’s: A Maxwell’s Equations Primer – Part One

Solving Maxwell’s Equations for real-life situations, like predicting the RF emissions from a cell tower, requires more mathematical horsepower than any individual mind can muster. These equations don’t give the scientist or engineer just insight, they are literally the answer to everything RF.


If you’re in engineering, then you are probably already working 40 to 50 hours per work (perhaps more). Reading while you’re at work may or may not be an option for whatever reason. If this is the case, what you can do is pick a time during the day where you can devote at least 30 to 60 minutes to uninterrupted reading. For some, early morning before work is ideal. For others it might be in the middle of the day, perhaps during their lunch hour. For others it may be at night after work before bed. You’ll have to decide for yourself which reading time is best for you. Just pick a time and make reading a habit. This one habit, that really doesn’t take too much time, will really make a difference for you and your career.

Next, focus on an area you interested in. Perhaps it’s EMC, signal integrity, or product safety. Based on your specific area of interest, develop a list of books or other material (application notes, etc.) geared towards that subject. From this list of reading material, pick out the top items that you think will result in the greatest knowledge gained. From there, just make it a daily habit to read the material you’ve chosen. Once you read the material you’ve designed as a top priority, move onto the middle priority stuff. Keep doing this until you have read everything on your list and before you know it, you’re now the expert in that area.


If you’re interested in EMC and signal integrity, you could develop a list of books like the one found at the end of this article. This one uses an alphabetical order using the author’s last name. If I was new to EMC and signal integrity, I’d pick the books which explained things in a more practical, less math intensive way before attempting to read the highly theoretical stuff.

From research you conducted on the internet you determine that items 23 (Bogatin) or 25 (Johnson, Graham) concerning signal integrity and item 18 (Ott) covering EMC are probably the most practical books available on these two subjects. Pick one and start reading it. When you’re done with that book, pick another and then keep going.

That’s about all there is to it. Time to get reading…

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Recommended EMC / Signal Integrity Books

Electromagnetic Compatibility Books
# Author(s) Title Ed. Date Publisher ISBN
1 Bogdan Adamczyk Foundations of Electromagnetic Compatibility: with Practical Applications First 2017 John Wiley & Sons ISBN-13: 978-1119120780

ISBN-10: 1119120780

2 Patrick André,  Kenneth Wyatt EMI Troubleshooting Cookbook for Product Designers First 2014 Scitech Publishing ISBN-13: 978-1613530191

ISBN-10: 1613530196

3 Bruce Archambeault,

James Drewniak

PCB Design for Real-World EMI Control First 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers ISBN-13: 978-1402071300

ISBN-10: 1402071302

4 Keith Armstrong EMC Design Techniques for Electronic Engineers First 2010 Nutwood UK Ltd ISBN-10: 0955511844

ISBN-13: 978-0955511844

5 Keith Armstrong EMC for Printed Circuit Boards – Basic and Advanced Design & Layout Techniques Second 2011 Nutwood UK Ltd ISBN-13: 978-0955511851

ISBN-10: 0955511852

6 Warren Boxleitner Electrostatic Discharge and Electronic Equipment – A Practical Guide for Designing to Prevent ESD Problems First 1988 IEEE Press ISBN-13: 978-0879422448

ISBN-10: 0879422440

7 Daryl Gerke,

Bill Kimmel

The Designer’s Guide to Electromagnetic Compatibility First 2005 EDN ISBN-13: 978-0750676540

ISBN-10: 075067654X

8 Todd H. Hubing, Nancy E. Hubing Study Guide for the iNARTE Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC/EMI) Certification Exam – 2019 First 2019 LearnEMC LLC ISBN-13: 978-1072171126

ISBN-10: 1072171120

9 Elya B. Joffe, Kai-Sang Lock Grounds for Grounding: A Circuit to System Handbook First 2010 John Wiley & Sons/IEEE Press ISBN-13: 978-0471660088

ISBN-10: 0471660086

10 Kenneth L. Kaiser Electromagnetic Compatibility Handbook First 2004 CRC Press ISBN-13: 978-0849320873

ISBN-10: 0849320879

11 Michel Mardiguian Electrostatic Discharge – Understand, Simulate and Fix ESD Problems First 1986 Interference Control Technologies ISBN-13: 978-0932263278

ISBN-10: 0932263275

12 Michel Mardiguian Controlling Radiated Emissions by Design Third 2014 Springer ISBN-13: 978-3319047706

ISBN-10: 3319047701

13 Mark I. Montrose EMC & the Printed Circuit Board: Design, Theory, & Layout Made Simple First 1999 IEEE Press ISBN-13: 978-0780347038

ISBN-10: 078034703X

14 Mark I. Montrose EMC Made Simple – Printed Circuit Board and System Design First 2014 Montrose Compliance Services, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-0989103206

ISBN-10: 098910320X

15 Mark I. Montrose Printed Circuit Board Design Techniques for EMC Compliance – A Handbook for Designers Second 2000 IEEE Press ISBN-13: 978-0780353763

ISBN-10: 0780353765

16 Mark I. Montrose, Edward M. Nakauchi Testing for EMC Compliance, Approaches and Techniques First 2004 IEEE Press/Wiley-Interscience ISBN-13: 978-0471433088

ISBN-10: 047143308X

17 Ralph Morrison Grounding and Shielding: Circuits and Interference Sixth 2016 John Wiley & Sons/IEEE Press ISBN-13: 978-1119183747

ISBN-10: 111918374X

18 Henry W. Ott Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering First 2009 John Wiley & Sons ISBN-13: 978-0470189306

ISBN-10: 0470189304

19 Clayton R. Paul Introduction to Electromagnetic Compatibility Second 2006 John Wiley & Sons ISBN-13: 978-0471755005

ISBN-10: 0471755001

20 David A. Weston Electromagnetic Compatibility, Methods, Analysis, Circuits, and Measurement Third 2017 CRC Press ISBN-13: 978-1482299502

ISBN-10: 148229950X

21 Tim Williams EMC For Product Designers Fifth 2017 Newnes ISBN-13: 978-0081010167

ISBN-10: 0081010168

22 Kenneth Wyatt, Randy J. Jost Electromagnetic Compatibility Pocket Guide Spi 2013 Scitech Publishing ISBN-13: 978-1613531914

ISBN-10: 1613531915

Signal Integrity Books
23 Eric Bogatin Signal and Power Integrity – Simplified Second 2010 Pearson Education ISBN-13: 978-0132349796

ISBN-10: 0132349795

24 Stephen H. Hall, Garrett W. Hall, James A. McCall High-Speed Digital System Design – A Handbook of Interconnect Theory and Design Practices First 2000 John Wiley & Sons ISBN-13: 978-0471360902

ISBN-10: 0471360902

25 Howard Johnson, Martin Graham High-Speed Digital Design – A Handbook of Black Magic First 1993 Prentice Hall PTR ISBN-13: 978-0133957242

ISBN-10: 0133957241

26 Larry D. Smith, Eric Bogatin Principles of Power Integrity for PDN Design – Simplified: Robust and Cost-Effective Design for High Speed Digital Products First 2017 Prentice Hall ISBN-13: 978-0132735551

ISBN-10: 0132735555

High Frequency Measurement Books
27 Douglas C. Smith High Frequency Measurements and Noise in Electronic Circuits Third 1993 Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN-13: 978-0442006365

ISBN-10: 0442006365


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