365 and Counting – Learning through Writing

VLSI Question and answers

Another new year has arrived and it is time to commit towards New Year Resolutions and to introspect and evaluate learning from last year’s resolutions.

Last year around same time, I was in the middle of writing my book and pushing towards completion. Some where in between I came across this interesting New Year Resolution quote.

Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one

— Brad Paisley

The more you think about this quote, you can find deeper meaning and derive lot of inspiration to strive for your best — Begin fresh and work towards your goals and self-improvement through disciplined hard work — every day of the year — 365 days

I rather took the quote to its literal meaning as a goal last new year. That was a time when I had just discovered Quora. Quora is a social knowledge network with a growing collection of Questions and Answers . It stands apart from all other Q&A platforms in terms of high quality content and well thought answers and discussions from experts in almost every topic that you can think of . The best part of Quora is that it is a platform that supports quality knowledge sharing through in-depth answers as well as social networking (by following topics and people, messaging, voting and commenting).

Experience of Writing – 365 days

Today a year has passed and I have finished writing 365 answers on Quora. These are spread across 20+ topics – VLSI, Semiconductors, ASIC/Chip design, Computer Architecture, verification and other related topics, Job search, Career guidance, online teaching etc.  That is an average of writing one in-depth answer every day – contributing to a pool of VLSI Question and answers

What started off as a small effort to writing turned out to be very rewarding in terms of benefits. The social networking stats at end of the year was — 1.1 K followers, 342 K views on answers, 2.42 K up-votes. Also this helped to gain the Most viewed Writer tag for more than 20 topics. However more than the numbers, what was more satisfying was the inflow of personal messages from several students/engineers and being able to help them through some means or other.

What I learned from writing 365 answers?

Learning to write is learning to think. You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing – S.I. Hayakawa

This quote sums up the biggest learning. The answers to most of the questions asked in my topics of expertise on Quora was there in my mind. However, when I started, I just could not write it down well. It took me some good amount of time to read, think and learn before answering in depth. This indirectly helped in improving my reading habit and overall knowledge.
There was a good chance of me giving up after writing the first 20 or 30 answers as this was neither my primary job nor gave me any instant rewards. Most of those initial answers were written badly and did not receive any attention. However consistent and persistent efforts to improve helped and after more than 100+ answers, I could feel that people are finding value from my answers. From then it was a much easier and fun journey of learning through writing.

When an answer gets accepted by a reader in terms of comments, up-votes and follow up questions or messages, it provided me the biggest satisfaction and motivation to write more.

Summarizing Top answers written in 2016: 

Out of the 365 answers, here are the top 30 answers and 3 blog posts organized across 7 categories – in terms of most views, up-votes, comments, and share.
Read on if you have missed any of those as you step into another year of learning

VLSI Career Related

    1. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Is VLSI/SoC design or architecture better than verification?
    2. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What are the latest research topics in VLSI (ECE) for M.Tech?
    3. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to How is the life of an ECE engineer working in a core company?
    4. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What are must-know things for a chip designer?
    5. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Which are the most money-making jobs in the VLSI industry?
    6. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What is the difference between a VLSI frontend engineer and Backend engineer and who has more bright future?
    7. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Why the knowledge of computer architecture is required for VLSI engineer?

Jobs, Interviews and Preparation

  1. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to How do I prepare for interviews in VLSI profile companies like Qualcomm, Freecale etc?
  2. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Which are the semiconductor, VLSI, or ASIC verification start ups in India? Specially in Banglore, Chennai or Pune..
  3. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What should I do to get a job in the VLSI industry while I am pursuing a master’s in VLSI in the USA?
  4. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What are your best ASIC Verification interview questions?

Courses, Resources for Learning

  1. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Which is the best free VLSI course online?
  2. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What are some good books to learn functional verification of VLSI circuits?
  3. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Which is the best software for practicing VLSI designing for an electronics and communication engineering student?
  4. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What are some good resources for beginners to learn SystemVerilog?
  5. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Where can I find online courses on learning VLSI from scratch to perfection?

VLSI /Semiconductor Technology , Computer Architecture

  1. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Why are most chip-makers fabless, even the very big ones like Broadcom and Qualcomm? In fact, are there chip-makers that are not fabless except Intel?
  2. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to How do I learn modern CPU architectures?
  3. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What are the differences between microprocessor,DSP,ASIC,FPGA,SOC,vlsi,microcontroller?
  4. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What is the difference between architecture and microarchitecture in CPU?
  5. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What will happen when semiconductor fabrication process improvement is no longer able to shrink feature size per Moore’s Law?
  6. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Semiconductors: What is the difference between SoC (System-on-chip) and SiP (System-on-Package)?
  7. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What is the difference between synthesis and simulation in verilog?

Verification and Validation

  1. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to How can I get a very good command on VHDL/Verilog as I have recently started coding based on references from internet?
  2. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What is the difference between Verification Intellectual Property (VIP) and Intellectual Property (IP) in VLSI?
  3. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Can someone share various aspects of post-silicon validation for a SOC?
  4. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What is the difference between testing, validation and ASIC verification?
  5. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What are the advantages and disadvantages of UVM methodology?

Miscellaneous

  1. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Who are the best people on the Internet to follow (Twitter, Quora, blogs, etc.) if I’m interested in IC design / VLSI?
  2. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to What are the differences between working in large vs small companies?
  3. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Why doesn’t ARM make their own processor and sell them to mobiles rather than selling to Qualcomm or Mediatek?
  4. Ramdas Mozhikunnath’s answer to Why did Intel go for built in GPUs?

Blog Posts:

  1. What makes a great Verification Engineer in VLSI industry? by Ramdas Mozhikunnath on Verification Excellence – Learn , Excel and Advance in Functional Verification
  2. Understanding AMBA Bus Architecture and Protocols by Ramdas Mozhikunnath on Verification Excellence – Learn , Excel and Advance in Functional Verification
  3. Verification Engineer – Opportunities and Career Path by Ramdas Mozhikunnath on Verification Excellence – Learn , Excel and Advance in Functional Verification

Thank you and feel free to reach out for more questions and more learning in the new year 2017

Also read my other blog posts – Blogs: Verification Excellence

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